Spashionista Report Turns One

No joking. One year ago I posted my very first blog post, Meet Your Spashionista. It seems like a lifetime ago. So many things have changed while others have stayed the same.

When I started this blog I wasn't sure if I would have an audience interested in what I had to say. After all, I have a unique perspective. It would be disingenuous to confine my subject matter to fashion without including my unique experiences as a disabled woman over 50. But it would be a boring misrepresentation of myself to dwell on my age and disability on a constant basis to the exclusion of my sense of style.

Was the blog going to be too geared towards the disabled to be interesting to able-bodied women, or too mainstream to be of any value to the handicapped? Did I dress too old for the young fashionistas or too bright and youthful for the 40+ crowd? Was I too round for the trendy blogs and too thin for the plus sized bloggers? Could I impart my sense of style within a low enough budget to be of help to women of limited means without being snubbed by the higher end style blogs?

It turns out the answer is all of the above. over the past year many of my suspicions, both positive and negative, have been confirmed. My audience runs the gamut of abilities and ages. Women who have cerebral palsy, bell's palsy,  rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, limb differences, and disabled daughters. Followers ranging in age from 17 to 70 with fashion aesthetics that are whimsical, restrained, colorful, reserved, chic, bohemian and everything in between. Tall, thin women; short, round women; thrift store aficionados to  high-end label wearers.

I've been written about and written to by many. Praised for being an inspiration, cursed for being an elitist cripple. Complimented on my wardrobe, derided for daring to put up my palsied pictures. Embraced as an icon and written off as too old and fat. Called fashion-forward and dismissed as mutton-dressed-as-lamb. Told my clothing is too cheap and berated for shopping anywhere but Goodwill.

I haven't won any awards or had any sponsors clamoring to put their swag up on my blog. I've been wooed by link submission "branding" sites that have to date rejected 99% of my posts. But I've always been honest about the things I wear and the people I meet, and I'm used to being the square peg that doesn't quite fit into the round hole.

I have met some incredible, amazing, beautiful, gutsy, sweet, sincere women - and a few terrific guys, too. If you're reading this then you are probably one of them. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for following me and showing me tons of support in chronicling my adventures as your one and only Spashionista. I'd also like to ask you if there's anything in particular you'd like to see me address in the next year of this blog. What can I do to make this blog more interesting and a farther-reaching voice for anyone who has ever been made to feel less-than-beautiful because of their imperfections? I really value your input and appreciate all of the help and advice I've received so far.

Here's to another year of fabulousness!

Spashionistacrop

If You Don't Like The Way I Look

Then you are going to absolutely hate this post.

The holiday season can bring out the best in people. Sadly, it can also bring out the snark. I recently received some lovely feedback from someone whose name I will not mention. Their intent, I think, was to provide me with a fresh perspective concerning this blog.

"U look like s**t," was the opening salvo. "U r fat and old u lok like a retard. Stop it."

I am so grateful for these pearls of wisdom. I think my eloquent friend deserves an explanation, don't you?

First of all, I'm crippled, not retarded. There's nothing wrong with being intellectually disabled, however, I am only physically disabled.

Secondly, I'm well aware of what I look like. If you think I'm doing this out of some arrogant sense of self-deluded ideation  (lots of big words; Google them) you are mistaken. I know that I twitch and shake. I know that I'm round, aging, spastic, and that I don't photograph or film well except on a fluke. Believe me when I tell you that I am keenly aware of every physical flaw I possess. But, I've come to terms with how I look. I will never be thin, or young, or graceful. I will always be round (although I'm working to be a little less so), I get older every day, and I am a spaz. I write this blog not out of some misplaced conceit. I do it so that every other woman who may be round, or old, or palsied, can hold her head up and feel beautiful.

Finally, I can take comfort in the fact that I am not you. I do appreciate your candor, but I've been called worse names by better people - and in person, not hiding behind a computer screen. Vitriolic comments sting at first, but they tend to only make me stronger. So no, I won't, "Stop it".

Thank you and Merry Christmas.

To the rest of you; thank you for everything. It's good to be me!

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Step Two: Wake Up Sleeping Beauty

Your life starts today.

My thanks to those of you that added your Outer Spaz list to "The Good, the Bad, and the Palsy" . We all share a common thread. Nobody likes the hand they were dealt. Too fat, too thin, too tall, too short. Not good enough. Why bother trying?

Because who you are is beautiful. Because the most important thing you can wear is your own acceptance of your inner beauty. Think of it in terms of the zen that is a Tootsie Pop. Perfection is a hard candy coating. It's the tootsie roll at the center that everybody wants to get to. Without that you are nothing but a mannequin. With it you are a queen.

No more excuses

If you've been alive for more than 20 minutes you've made mistakes, you have regrets, you want do-overs. Every day is an opportunity to atone for your past by leaving it in the dust. Wake up, Sleeping Beauty, to the fact that this is it and you're amazing. Don't wait until tomorrow; no more excuses. Practice wearing that fabulous outfit until it feels like a second skin. The real work is about to start.