We Can Work It Out

And we should work it out.  I don't care how mild or how severe your CP is we Palsies deserve to look as good as anybody else.

The way you dress reflects how you feel about yourself. It doesn't determine your worth as a person, but it does determine your estimation of your own value. It lets other people know how much or how little you think about the package you're presenting to the world. I think it's really, really important for those of us with Cerebral Palsy to understand that we have the potential to be as valuable as anyone else. It's equally important to understand that we are being judged for our physical appearance far more critically than our able-bodied counterparts. It's not because people are jerks - although some people clearly are. It's because as human beings we are physiologically hardwired to notice differences in our environment and that includes people who look or move in a way that is radically different from the norm. In other words, people are going to notice you because you are handicapped. All the political correctness in the world isn't going to change that. It's just going to make others that much more hesitant to approach you for fear of saying something offensive.

Do you want someone else's first impression of you be of nothing but your disability? Are you so nicely wrapped that people are staring at you - in a GOOD way - because they'd like to interact with you? Or do you look like you either think little of yourself or wish you owned Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility?

Why deny anyone the opportunity to get to know you? Change their preconceptions with that first glance, that first impression. You can do it. I have done it, and I know that for a fact because people I've met that have become friends have told me so.

It took me far too long to come out of the shadows. Don't waste another day of your life waiting for the world to change. Change your world - today.

I want to get to know you! I want to start a movement with you. I want to recruit you as a fellow Spashionista. I want us to help each other look like we're worth our weight in gold; because we are!

Meet Me In The Mid-Tones

Is being a hot tamale or a cool cucumber just not right for you? Do you feel like a rainbow reject when it comes to all this color stuff? Don't despair; meet me in the middle.

As the name implies if you're a Mid-Tones mama then your palette is neither too bright nor too pastel. Your skin either has blue undertones or a peaches and cream complexion and your eyes are light in color. You are the most neutral canvas of all. Without color you look washed out, but too much makes you look like your clothes are wearing you.

Mid-Toners can do a bit of crossing over into the other two groups. Just proceed with caution. Stay away from khaki and beige at all costs. Soft burgundy is a great neutral and navy works, too. Purple is your color, just be sure to keep it toned down.

Think fresh, clean colors like those below.

I compiled all of these images using Polyvore.

Do you fall into  this group? I do - it took me a long time to figure that out - and guess what? Once I knew what colors worked on me I didn't trash all the clothes that weren't the right shade. Instead I devised a work-around.

If you've stuck with me so far I thank you for wading through the technical aspect of these posts. In the next few posts I'll talk in a much more personal way about how I stumble and bumble my way through this. I would love to have your questions and personal observations on the subject of color. Post them in the comments section, on my Facebook page, in a tweet or in an email .

Step One: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

You're the fairest of them all.

It's true, you know. There isn't a person alive that doesn't possess some quality, whether apparent or obscured, that makes them beautiful. Of course the only meaningful, lasting beauty is inner beauty. Who you are on the inside, your character and heart, are what people around you eventually bond with. But what good is inner beauty if nobody gets to see it because you look like a train wreck on the outside?

What do other people see when they look at you? There's only one way to find out. You have to look at yourself. You have to really see yourself as others see you. You have to look in the mirror. You have to face your Outer Spaz. Whether you're disabled or not you have an Outer Spaz. If you're Palsied your Outer Spaz includes the physical manifestations that make up your disability, any additional hardware you require because of it, and anything you don't like about your body. Do you jerk when you move like a mime on crack, twist in your wheelchair, grimace when you talk? Do you have an ass so wide it has it's own zip code, cottage cheese thighs,  and a double chin below your double chin? Are you so flat-chested and scrawny that the local food bank keeps leaving care packages - and padded bras - on your doorstep? All of these things are your Outer Spaz. The trick is to transform your Outer Spaz into a vision that people will look at because it is poised, put together, confident and charismatic.

It can be done. It can start today. Step One is to make a list of everything you see that you think you can improve upon or need to divert attention from.  Be honest and critical in a realistic sense without seeing yourself so flawed that you quit before you start. Meet your own gaze in the mirror with head held high, examine the things about your Outer Spaz that need work, and commit to the changes that will change the way people see you.

Hang on to your list. You'll need it as we move forward. I'll share mine with you next time.