I love being a woman, what feminism means to me

I had an awkward adolescence. Filled with the desire to appear more capable, I adopted a masculine demeanor. I was a “Tom-boy” to the extreme. I dressed in boys clothes, I buzzed my hair, and played tackle football at recess. People were always asking if I was a girl or a boy.

It has only been recently that I came to realize the power in being a woman. Because self confidence and self love is an evolutionary process. I still HATE being short. I’m frustrated that despite my training I can’t jog any faster than a 10 minute mile. I hate my food cravings, and slips of will power regarding food. I wish I could lose 5-10 more pounds. I still have a hard time accepting compliments.

Despite all that….

What I love most about being a woman is how men treat me. Most men look at me with a mixture of amusement and admiration, and treat me with an uncanny respect.

“It is a man’s job to respect a woman, but it is a woman’s job to give him something to respect.” -unknown

I used to get annoyed when a man would help carry something, or open a door for me, etc… like it was an insult, like they thought I was weak and helpless. I’ve come to realize it’s just a sign of respect, akin to bowing to a queen.

“An independent woman doesn’t need a man, but still prefers a gentleman who could take care of her, ravage her in bed, and put her in her place once in a while. And watch how she’ll move mountains and make room for you in her life. “. -britta.who

My best friend KelLee always wears long skirts, and almost always wears a head piece because she is a devote Catholic. She has been amongst some nefarious looking folks, people she was initially frightened to walk by. She was put in an unavoidable situation where she had to speak to them and ask for help, it was all “yes ma’am…your welcome ma’am…anything else I can do for you ma’am?” This is a perfect example of a woman being feminine and some public’s response to her.

I have met a few misogynistic males and I don’t try to change their opinion of me or women in general. I just ignore them and refuse to interact with them, they are not worth my time. Men that don’t respect or like me I don’t associate with, their loss, not mine.

“Truly powerful women don’t explain why they want respect. They simply don’t engage those who don’t give it to them.” – extramadness.com

I feel blessed to have such healthy, positive relationships with men.

“I love men, for all the ways they are different from women.” -Veronique Vial

It seems strange that an essay titled I love being a woman would be mostly about men but it’s like the Foreigner song “I guess it’s just the man in you that brings out the woman in me. ” ( pronouns switched for my purposes)

Celebrating my fellow makers

When you find your passion you start to attract like-minded individuals.

Like friend and coworker Amanda. Here is a sample of her sweet tops.

My friend Rose in her wedding dress! She is Dippermouth sewing and textiles. I got a sneak peak at the collection she is working on for the Common Ground Country Fair held in Unity, Maine on the third weekend in September. Stunning! I need to start preparing to bring some money!

Kate Beck of Kate Beck New Orleans Textile and Design. katebeckneworleans.com

A random stranger at the Farmers market! Her beautiful handmade blouse.

Keep on making everyone!

“Why do you get up at 2 a.m. ?”

I get asked a lot about the significance of 2 a.m. I tell them, “that’s my ME time, my time to do MY thing, mostly sewing.” Some people get it, most are just aghast. In this post I am going to really open up about the truth of my life. On social media, (or any public platform) we naturally want to show ourselves, and our lives in the best possible light. I was going to post about my amazing day off; a morning jog, going to the beach, ending with a yoga class. BUT… I was listening to a podcast talking about the disconnect, resentment, and loneliness with your friends and followers that can happen if you never talk about the nitty gritty, the ugly parts of your life.

A brief background on myself. I work at a restaurant/farmer’s market/art gallery as the produce manager, cook, and jack of all trades, master of none. I also have a second job as a lab tech making artificial eyes. I LOVE MY JOBS!!!

I’m also married to a man living with cancer, and I have a special needs teenage son.

I’m ashamed to say that my biggest lifelong regret is having a child. I like kids, I just wasn’t one of those girls who had an interest in having one. Maybe I’m too self centered and selfish. It was a compromise in my marriage to have up to 2 children. Maybe I would feel different if he was a normally developing human, but he isn’t.

I read a lot about mothers of special needs children who literally mourn for the child that should have been. So I know I’m not alone. Don’t misunderstand me, I love my young man and care for him as a decent human being, but I do feel a lot of regret, anger, and sadness for the life that was taken from me.

My husband’s cancer is like a looming black cloud. This is his second round and we’ve made the decision to not go through traditional treatments. We are instead focusing on different diet strategies with whole foods and staying physically fit. Now, there are suppose to be these different stages of grief and you move from one to the next until you reach acceptance. Well for me there are different stages all right, I can go through each stage in 5 minutes then start all over again. Anger, denial, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I experience them all and more. It’s exhausting. Alternating between having dreams and plans that will take longer than a month to come to fruition, and planning and preparing for eminent death is also taxing.

As a wife, a mother, and an employee I can get overwhelmed by all the demands and expectations placed on me to the point where I feel like a title with a job discription. 2 a.m. is the time I carve out to just be myself, for myself, and have no one to answer to. Sometimes it lasts only 1 or 2 hours, at times until 7 a.m. (when our son needs to wake up for his morning medication).

However long I get, the time is mine to plug in and recharge.

Collaboration and proposal

Now that the outfit for the wedding is just about finished, its time to gear up to work on the pieces for an art show proposal.

Here is the fabric I will be working with.

Here is a sketch of the outfit. A plaid spencer jacket with leg of mutton sleeves and alligator print leather back panel. I may use the stainless steel washers as some sort of fastener. Hand dyed maroon denim covered with hand dyed gray lace for skinny jeans. And a vintage fascinator to top it all off. There will be more, but that’s a start.

A couple quick sketches of clothes that came to mind on my morning jogs.

Seeds are being sown for a possible artist collaboration between myself and Lesia Socher, the creator of the above multimedia paintings. Last night, that proposal was delivered and met with enthusiasm, and she took photos of some of my work that she would like to paint. Something is evolving, and I’m very excited!

Mid-Summer Exploration

Corset gifts and a new slip dress in leather and a poly/rayon blend.

My mother used to tell me you can tell a good artist or a quality piece when the unseen details are as beautiful as the seen details.

Working on samples of an art piece in non traditional materials, and be fully functional. A top knit out of VHS tape, trimmed in dog hair, (donated by my corgi mix and spun into yarn by me). A wrap skirt from inner tube rubber, embellished with staples.

Jolene’s fashion faux pas

Disclaimer:

These rules only apply to myself!! Use them if you wish or make up your own.

  • No pajamas. I despise pajamas, loungewear, and sweatpants. Wear lingerie or nothing to bed. And NEVER in public!
  • Proper posture. Back straight, shoulders slightly back, head up. Engage you core, stop making your back do everything. Want to look like you lost 20 pounds and have flatter abs? Posture.
  • No smoking or excessive drinking. I’ve given up both entirely. Show the world you are a classy lady.
  • All I wear for jewelry are earrings. Metallic only, no stones. I have sensory issues wear I don’t like anything that “circles” any part of my body. I don’t even wear my wedding ring. I agree with the opinion that you shouldn’t wear a necklace with earrings or rings with bracelets and vise versa. Too much in one area. I also won’t wear mascara and lipstick together.

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” CoCo Chanel

  • Wear clothes that flatter your body type. It takes a long time to figure out what works for your unique build. Once you do, go with it! Don’t be influenced by trends that won’t work for you.

“If you don’t feel comfortable in a plunging sweater, skin-tight jeans, and killer heels, go home and change.” Ines de la Fressange

  • I don’t like the “cold shoulder” “thing” going on right now.
  • I don’t generally like any part of a bra to show. Unless it is a design element for the entire piece.

“Ripped jeans? …… Insanity!” Iris Apfel

  • Black and brown CAN be worn together.
  • Red and pink CAN be worn together.
  • Blue and black CAN be worn together.

An afternoon at the beach

Pemaquid beach, Maine

Swimsuit by Aniela Parys

A new dress.

Made of repurposed fabric. The process.

Detail of the various seams. Really neat. The secret? Ironing, ironing and more ironing.

Before and after.

Finished leather “corset”

Summer projects and the birth of a label

Here’s a partial line up of this summer’s projects. Complete with knitted camisole, my recycled strip jeans, and custom dyed red skinny jeans.

I also picked up some freebies on the side of the road! I’m thinking of transforming the plaid blazer into a Spencer jacket with leg of mutton sleeves and some gold or copper metallic embellishments.

Imagine this dress as a slip dress worn with the little spencer jacket 🤩

I started working with leather. This corset is being made from leather salvaged from 2 used pair of leather pants. It will have fresh water pearl embellished trim. Not easy, but extremely satisfying. Not sure what method of attachment I will go with: lacing, a zipper, or other, on one side.

More experiments with leather: machine sewn this time and top “stitched” with staples. Kinda cool!

Working on a special event outfit. A high-low hemmed, sequined, princess seamed, navy blue trimmed tank dress. With a matching dove gray leather, cap-sleeved bolero; a navy blue felted boat cap and peacock blue nubuck, cross over, high-heeled clogs.

It is all basted together with my new clothing tag design located inside the “train” back. Visible when I walk (I hope).

Embroidered leather clothing tags. I’m contemplating maybe, just maybe, creating a few pieces to sell 😬😳😨