Just a thought… When we stop judging others and ourselves, our heart begins to open. [Swami Dhyan Giten]
You probably know Arlene Dickinson: famous for her prominence on the Dragons’ Den panel, she’s about to embark on a new show on CBC (starting this Friday at 8:30 pm) called Under New Management, in which she “takes budding entrepreneurs on a life-changing journey of assessing businesses for sale and whether they are really ready, and have what it takes.”
She’s a fascinating follow on Twitter @ArleneDickinson. Seemingly daily she tweets something positive and reaffirming to jump start our souls and I appreciate her outlook and sincerity. But it was a tweet on Saturday that I read, related to and commented on that I thought you might find interesting here today.
I echoed her sentiments and then was pleasantly surprised when she responded.
But it was a tweet that followed that really stopped me in my tracks. Sophia @hoistingmysail wrote: “Girls, I can’t believe I’m hearing this from you both. You inspire so many to carry themselves like Goddesses no matter what! Please do the same too! You own it!!!”
As much as I’d love to believe what Sophia says (surely more applicable to Ms Dickinson than to me) there’s still that small but persistent voice, that insecurity that has always been there. It’s the voice of the tall, new kid in so many schools who never fit in with the cool girls, except now, some 40 years later, those girls have been replaced by the superbly coiffed and often gorgeous sales women in stores where I could afford to shop but simply won’t. Can’t. Why? Because, like Arlene, I could just be coming from a salon myself, or on my way to a special meeting, and I still would not feel put together enough.
I’d think of the fraying handle on my three-year-old purse or the salt lines on my well-worn boots; I’d know that my size body is probably “plus” in many of their fashion lines and that I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on designer clothes to begin with. For what? So I can wear it a few times in public and then retire it to the back of the closet where clothes from a life I used to lead all go to die? (I gave away almost all of those dresses and pieces before we left Toronto in 2016.)
Because clothes shopping is not something I particularly enjoy, I’ve been lucky in this public life to have had the support of a couple of amazing women in the business. Freda Iordanous is owner of Freda’s on Bathurst near King and she always treated me kindly and with generosity when it came to dressing for television or borrowing a gown for a one-time special event.
Then, thanks to events I was hosting in York Region for Markham Stouffville Hospital, I had the wonderful help of the women at The One and Only boutique in Aurora (still my favourite store). I love going where there’s no judgment, the staff treats you like a friend or a sister, and they know what will look good on you before you even try something on.
If not for those women in those places, I think I would have been that same 15-year-old girl every time I looked at clothes, even today. I don’t go into the high end stores where you can sense the top to bottom once-over the moment you pass by. I’m reminded of the scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts’ call girl character is openly shunned by a snooty store clerk and then, of course, turns out to have a platinum credit card or something and surprises that nasty employee. Prejudices exist everywhere and, in the big picture, this one – real or perceived – isn’t really important.
It is, as Sophie pointed out in her tweet, something we should own. But I did find it comforting to know that a high profile business entrepreneur and media superstar like Ms Dickinson feels as I do. I’m much happier supporting the small store owner – a person who values her customers and treat us all equally, whether we’re sporting yoga pants and sneakers or toting a Louis Vuitton purse. (Hint: I’m the former.)
Oh, by the way, see the dress I bought in the Vancouver airport – not kidding – tomorrow on Cityline with Tracy Moore when I return to the place where the whole book adventure began. Might want to set the PVR today.