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Transforming My Life Into A Victorian Lady

Thursday, September 26, 2019

My dear friends,

As I have contemplated about what to write, I thought that to keep you abreast of what manner of pursuits I have been experiencing is a delightful way to share on this here ol' blog. For some reason, I feel more connected to you ladies in this atmosphere. I'm curious if I'm the only one. For us to be real friends, we must share life experiences, yes? 
I thought speaking about my immersion into becoming a Victorian lady would be an exciting topic. I have been receiving questions most recently, so I thought I would go over a few thoughts I have had about the topic. I feel it's nice to have a connection with others, experiencing the same process. It's like when you sew all of the time, you love being able to chat and have a friend that you share projects and ideas with, yes? I have had the most delightful reaction to the way I dress, and it's always been positive. I believe that is rightly so becasue I have a lovely vibration about it. I receive the most common questions which are: Are you in reenactments or is that a costume you are wearing? Do you dress that way all of the time? I also tend to get the compliment that I am very elegant and more women should dress like the Victorians. Surprisingly, I receive the most compliments from gentlemen. One, I especially liked was when a very aged gentleman said I reminded him of when he first met his dear wife. He was so kind and kept making over my clothes and hat, stating how much he appreciated that he was able to reminisce about his wife by seeing me. She had passed on many years prior, and he was fond of the memory that I brought to the forefront of his mind. Of all locations, it was in Sam's Wholesale. Opportunities like this often happen to me, and I think it's a lovely sentiment. 
I remember when I was a little girl I had always dreamt of being Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie. I would wear my friend's old~fashioned dresses that her mother made her, and I would pretend that I was Laura. I recall my nickname was Laura Ingalls' Wilder by many of my family members. Even to this day, my brothers make the joke of saying things like: If you are trying to find my sister, she's the one in the crowd that looks like Laura Ingall's Wilder.

I also love Beatrix Potter so much because she is a Victorian Author/ Illustrator and I love the way she wrote stories. She is my most considerable influence as a writer. I had a dear cousin, named Sybrena, who knew how much I loved the old fashioned/Victorian era. So, for a lovely Christmas gift, she bought me a two-year subscription of Victoria magazine. The day I received my first issue, my world changed forever. I opened the cover and saw a woman in old fashioned clothing! It was none other than the famous artist, Tasha Tudor! I was witnessing someone actually living in the 19th century but wasn't actually born in the Victorian era.

I knew then if it was being done by Tasha, it could be done by me, too. I think there are many more women that would like to truly emulate Tasha Tudor, but do not fully have the inner strength and self-confidence to fully embrace the lifestyle. Yes, sure, many people, play dress up or make old clothing and bonnets, but how many times do they actually go all the way with the idea? I want to be a living example of how if you believe in dreams and want to truly live them, you DO have the capability of succeeding in the pursuit.

"I'm not here to fit into your world. I'm here to make my own."

I think I learned a great deal about being true to oneself when I was in my previous marriage. I felt the deepest desire to live my childhood dream but felt a sense of restrictions were continually being placed on me. Today, I know I was an insecure woman and was too embarrassed to believe that I could pull it off completely. The closest I came to the old fashioned life was when I was 22. I was embodying that lifestyle, however, soon enough, I was told by a few selected people that I couldn't do that, or why would I desire to look and live a simple life. I must confess all of those moments of feeling like that bashful red headed girl that was ridiculed as a child came back to haunt me. I caved to the peer pressure. I began feeling out of place, especially when I would go in public. I began pondering if I would ever be able to live a Victorian lifestyle. Especially, when you have a vast imagination and other folks appreciate the notion of an idea but aren't there to truly support. I know now that I don't have to have or need people to cheer me on, I just unapologetically live the life I dreamt of as a little girl, and know the rest will work itself out. Also, It doesn't matter if people understand me. I seek only my personal approval. 
Today, I am so confident that peer pressure would never influence me again. I think we have to reach a point in life where we just give up caring. Whether that's plain maturity, or we have experienced the battles of it. Most assuredly, experience teaches. For surely if you show any signs of vibrational insecurity people of the same energy will pounce you such as a lion in the wild.

I shall tell you a story about when I finally realised I was very miserable and with such distress about wanting to embrace an old fashioned lifestyle but felt a bit trapped in actually being able to DO it instead of just merely dreaming of it.

It was 2014, and I lived in California. I had planned a family excursion with my children and ex to attend The Pioneer Battalion Historic Site, in San Diego.

I have always kept a small assortment of clothing that was considered old fashioned. On this particular day, I was delighted to have an opportunity to wear some old clothes to the historic site. Admittedly, I would fit right in, yes!

I had decided I was going to wear a straw hat, long calico skirt, and a ruffle blouse. I was ecstatic. I walked from the room and my ex-husband, said very abruptly, " You're not wearing that are you? You can't wear that in public!" I attempted to state my case that I would fit right in and what better place to wear pioneer styled clothing than to a historic site. I was so hurt because despite me being a woman with a strong sense of opinion, I do have a very tender heart. I felt utterly dispirited. I didn't say much more, but I vividly remember I walked into our closet, and as I was stripping my old~fashioned clothes off, I began to wail. I felt angered emotions, resentment, and honestly dear friends I began to feel a sense of hatred for my ex-husband. I know that may sound to some of you, wholly inappropriate as I shouldn't hate anyone. However, Laura Ingall's Wilder said it best: {" I ain't much into hatin', and I'm tryin' to rid myself of it." ~Laura Ingalls Wilder}. {smile}

Nonetheless, I am very transparent with each of you. At that time in my life, I felt disempowered and not able to live my truth, I was slowly decaying inside. My zest for life was fading, and I felt like I couldn't render much longer. I honestly was at the bottom of the barrel in profound hopelessness. Many years of anger building becomes and interesting observation on marriage. Knowingly, now, I understand I was just angry at myself, but I wanted someone to blame for how my life had circulated about. I had always pined for a soul mate but felt trapped. I wanted someone that would adore that I wore old clothes and was adventurous at heart. I didn't know how I would ever be able to escape from the decades of having built this inauthentic world. A world indeed that was displeasing in my eyes. Furthermore, I knew I had spent years upon years of layering bricks up, with each hurtful thing said to me in the marriage, I would shut down, add another block to the wall of barrier between him and I.

It sounds quite trite to allow a clothing disagreement to genuinely unhinge me. However, as I previously stated, you don't just leave a marriage of 25 years because of one little instance. It's years upon years of build-up.

Now, I should like to make this post of happiness and joyful noise, so I will attempt to list a few things that when transforming into a Victorian lady is quite helpful to know:

I. Completely transforming the way you live is a process. Never attempt to change everything, all at once. I speak from experience when I say this. I would have an idea of something I would want to do and try and change everything all at once. It's not healthy to do that. You must not compare your life transformation to anyone else's. You are at a different stage than them, and that's all perfectly well.

II. When working on your own goals and dreams, metaphorically keep your head down. I believe too often women get themselves worked up into a tizzy because they start looking for other women as examples, and the comparison begins. It's not something you notice straight away, but it reveals itself. And might you often remember times you will compare your life with someone else out there, and become aware they are not indeed what they are attempting to make you believe? Hint: do you recall I told you about my "so-called" friends on Instagram, and I realised down the road, their lives weren't real at all. Now, mind you, I know I was attracting those inauthentic folks, and it was because I was mindful of fake people so much that the actual artificial folks came crawling from the woodwork. That is undoubtedly the law of attraction at it's finest. Isn't that a sheer hootenanny!
III. Keep a diary. Write down all the fun things about your transformational voyage. What do you desire to accomplish? Would you like to increase the number of days you wear your primitive clothing, begin canning, bread making, sewing, or reading a bit of Victorian literature at bedtime in your sleeping room?
Do you have any other thoughts on the matter? I would love to hear from you.

You may enjoy:

8 Delightful Ways To Live A Victorian Lifestyle

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx

2 comments :

  1. I particularly appreciate your three points, Raquel. If we think quietly about those Victorian or neo-Victorian women and their daily lives, I believe part of what we strive to emulate is their still small moments. We wouldn't know of Beatrix Potter had she not spent countless quiet hours with her watercolors. Tasha Tudor didn't even like her own art until late middle age, but kept at it hour by hour, year after year. We love the pictures of Tasha's daily life; milking, gardening, baking Christmas cookies. But those are the little tiny moments that we can create here and now. We just need to be very present in them, taking joy along the way; in the apple butter recipe not quite perfected yet, in the early buttonholes that gap a little, in that quilt top that could have used more contrast, and in the cucumber crop that spectacularly failed - you are so right, we don't just pop into our dream, and comparisons rob us of all the fun of the journey. "Keep your head down" and delight in the moment.

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  2. Kimberly, Yes, indeed still small moments. I agree with you. I was tallying up her age timeline, and it is once again a fine line between when folks see the artists and folks we adore, we tend to put aside that they didn't just land where they were. She didn't even begin building her balnk canvas home until she was in her late 50's. It gave me a reference of hope and joy in relaizing we are all on a personal journey to achieving our dreams.

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