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!

Get Out Your Crayons

Metaphorically speaking, of course. Here's where the fun (read work) starts.

There is no better way to start this journey into finding your own personal style than to start with color. Wearing the best colors for you is the quickest, cheapest way of making yourself look good. Color doesn't care if you're broke or broken. But you have to be careful when you choose your next article of clothing. Court the right color and it can make you look like a beauty queen just as surely as the wrong one can make you look like you have the flu.

Most people don't really give the subject of color much thought. They either surrender to looking monastic as they enshroud themselves in neutrals or they pile on the colors until they look like a pinata - or anything in between. And it's no small wonder when you consider how intimidating and  confusing it can be. I'm sure most of you have heard of people having their colors "done" and being told they are a "winter" or a "spring". What does this mean? It never made any sense to me. A "summer" should wear nothing but pastels even though they drain your complexion of all color as you age? A "fall" can only wear rust and gold?

There is an easier way. No, I take that back. There is a clearer way - at least, it's clearer to me. As an artist I work with color all the time, but it was only after I read a book called "What You Wear Can Change Your Life" by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine that it all clicked in my head. There are three main color groups. Blue-based colors are cool, yellow-based colors are warm, mid-toned colors are more muted than blue-based yet cooler than yellow-based.

Here are the three shades of red courtesy of the PalsyCam. Yes, I know it's fuzzy but I want you to pay attention to the different shades of color and nothing else; those are clearly distinguishable.

Right now I'll bet you're thinking this is all as clear as mud. How am I supposed to know which group will look best on me - and which other colors belong in that group?

Stick around. All shall be revealed.