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How Fashion Saved Me, As "Silly" As that May Sound

Reading the title of this, I realise it sounds a tad dramatic but it is true none the less. My childhood was intertwined with fashion, dress up’s, drawing, designing and sewing. Playing with fabric was, for me, playing with the future and my dreams. Clothing is in my blood. My Nana was always at her sewing machine and had a cupboard filled with fabrics which I would trawl through like a kid in a candy store. I would watch her sew and be amazed at how a piece of fabric could be turned into an item to be worn on the body, it seemed like magic to me.

As a young teen, I had a figure of a female figure pinned up inside my wardrobe and I had drawn out my entire wardrobe to which I applied blue tack and would quite literally dress myself on the page to decide what outfit I would wear to school that day. It was my attempt at Cher's closet from Clueless, minus the millionaire dad and computer system. I was completely immersed in fashion since I can remember. I never lost this, but believing I could make a career from this slowly slipped through my fingers as life got in the way. My fashion dreams took a backseat, or maybe a side seat, it was still there but I lost the power of believing in my dreams.

After my world fell apart, about 5 years ago, which I have detailed many times but won’t delve into too much here, I returned back to my home town with my 6 month old, no money, no clothes, no furniture, nothing. I still had my dreams but I had no time for anything but sheer survival. Sometime after battling the darkest months of my life, I got a part time retail position which seemed like nothing at the time because I had previously run 7 stores and managed over 40 staff, I was well up that ladder but had taken a dramatic fall. I cringed a little at the thought of taking direction from a store manager, I shuddered at the notion of being bottom of the pecking order. But this part time retail job seemed like a good way to push forward and a means to distract myself from the pain I was going thorough. Little did I know it would spark up my passion again and give me purpose, meaning and the desire to push harder for what I hoped my life would one day look like.

I remember those days so vividly - walking into the colour, the music, the smiles, being back in my element. At home things were different - I was learning how to parent while dealing with insurmountable challenges from escaping an abusive relationship. My nights were broken sleep, waking every two hours, feeling sick at the sound of my message tone going off, wondering what threats would be thrown my way that day. I was deeply in awe and completely in love with my little growing baby. It was magical being with this precious little boy, just him and I, those were some of the most special times of my life but it was hard. My god, it was hard - so hard I don't think I even realised it at the time because denial was the only card I had to play.

Fashion slowly started to creep back into my life, I immersed myself in op-shopping because I was so broke that finding a $2 coin in my pocket felt like a lottery win. Adding something to my wardrobe, even if it cost a few dollars and was well lived in, meant a step towards myself after being pulled so profoundly away from who I was for so many years. These little baby steps towards who I was always supposed to be were quietly propelling me forward.

Eventually I registered my business name, purchased a domain and started blogging. I was wildly sleep deprived, woken every two hours, every night, without fail for months on end. Most nights hitting the pillow meant falling asleep before I had even laid down but I made myself stay up writing, teaching myself how to blog, creating services and prices lists. My passion was ignited and I was alive again. Eventually this passion and hard work turned into a real business - I was being paid to do what I loved, styling clients, creating sponsored content. Letting my creativity run away with itself became my driving force to push back on the adversity I had endured. I realised that someone may be able to take away your financial freedom, your sense of safety, your confidence, your home and your peace of mind but they can never take away who you are inside - that little part of you which is untouchable.

Eventually I left my retail position to pursue my business and blog with every ounce of energy I could muster. Some days were difficult, having no set income is a rocky road, the highs and lows were an emotional roller coaster. I still have days I feel amazing about what I am doing followed by days I question myself and think "who in the world am I kidding, my content is terrible, my clients are not satisfied with my styling services, I suck". The waves of self doubt are a sobering offset to the incredible high of being able to work for myself and do what I love. For the most part, in between the highs and lows, I feel good about where I am and what I am doing.

This year is set to be a big one, with my events business in the works which has happened completely organically and some exciting collaborations coming up, I can't wait to delve further into this creative journey. I am optimistic. I am grateful. Fashion has pulled me from the depths of despair which were created from losing myself, from being stomped on, from suffering violence, abuse and wading through loneliness as a single mother. Fashion may just be clothes but for me it means I am honoring that little girl who loved to play dress ups and imagined her dreams in colour and fabric, it means giving a solute to the kid who had big plans, it means a little wink to the young teenager who was definitely dramatic but truly believed she was going to take on the big wide world, it means giving a big hug to the person I was always meant to be. Fashion helped me find myself again.


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