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Explosive Moments

This will self destruct in 3 seconds.

3-2-1 BOOOOOOM!!!!!!

(just kidding, ish)

 

We’ve all been guilty of one or ten self destructive acts in our lifetimes, haven’t we?

I was just talking about it the other day, in one of my conversations with Eve about processing and accepting self love.  And decided I wanted to write a list of my Top 10 Acts of Self Destruction.  To see which ranked the highest.  How it happened.  What I could possibly have done differently.

Here we go.  The single most self destructive thing I’ve ever done to myself was to believe in someone else’s opinion of me.

I ALLOWED MYSELF TO PUT STOCK INTO SOMEONE ELSE'S PERCEPTION OF ME

I gave someone else permission to rule, manage and control my life, and the way I wanted to live.  I handed over my free will to someone else, and basically told them it was alright to let their perspective, their story, their limitations impose upon who I am.

Their vision took priority over mine.

I offered up my freedom and peace of mind, in exchange for approval.

Has it ever happened to you too?

So I’ve been thinking (it’s a dangerous past time, I know) and I do realise that writing aside, I need to consciously stop looking towards other people for validation.  It’s perfectly normal to seek validation and, to an extent, it’s a healthy pursuit.  But once I allow someone else’s perspective to navigate and control my actions, then it’s just not right.  I need to be my own mother, my own father, my own best friend, my own lover.  Because whatever wounds I’m carrying from childhood, or from a failed first marriage, or whatever life has dealt me, and no matter the voids I want to fill, they can only be filled by ME.

NO ONE ELSE

Believe you me, I’m not speaking lightly.  I know this is much easier said than done.  I know this is one of the hardest lessons to learn: that we truly do contain everything we seek.  Being the fallible humans that we are, it isn’t often that we see past the ends of our noses.

Think about it.

Everyone else will come and go.  Every single one.  But I still have to wake up with myself every single morning, and go to bed with myself every single night. Alone in the dark, I keep myself company.  Before celebrating a triumph with my husband, I’m fist pumping myself first.  I am with me for the rest of my life.

I need to STOP replaying other peoples’ opinions as though they’re gospel.

BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT

They’re someone else’s and, oftentimes, completely unsolicited.

The only opinion that matters is my own, and the only thing that should count is how I feel when I look myself in the mirror. Have I been my best self today? Was I less self critical, less harsh, and less judgemental? Was I kind and patient with myself? Did I allow myself to make mistakes today? And learn from the process? Did I nurture that creative aspect of myself, or was I too wired to meet deadlines to even breathe? Did I think about other people too, and not just myself?

Shaking off what everyone else wants for me is a unique liberation, friend.  I can’t even begin to describe how GLORIOUS it feels.  It’s a personal revolution.  A freedom that instantly clears the path and makes my next move that much more obvious.

Fuck what they say.  What do I want?

It could be said that the alchemy of radical self love occurs when you create your own myth, fill yourself up with messages of acceptance, and surround yourself with people, ideas, and images that inspire you to be your biggest, baddest, boldest self.

Not to say that those acts of self destruction will never again explode on my horizon (of course they will, I’m human and I’m wired to fall many times), but at least with all those fail safe measures in place, I can minimise the damage.  Make the BOOM smaller.  And smaller.  And smaller.

(I know it’s Summer and this isn’t a Summer outfit, but as I’ve been propagating, it’s my opinion that matters, right?  That and the fact that I have no other looks to share for now, which means you may even see some Fall/Winter garments in future posts GRIN)

What say you?

Shall we dream so big until it embarrasses us?  Shall we choose to only spend time around people who act like the VP of our fan clubs (because, of course, we’re the President of our own fan clubs)?  And keep kicking ass to make every single day better than the last (because that’s what we do)?  What say you?

 

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

Old Habits

So, I’m in Singapore at the moment.

The sunny island of Singapore.

 

This is where, a long time ago, I lived, worked, got married and had a baby.  It’s where I had Eve.  Shortly after she was born, my marriage with Eve’s father deteriorated and we divorced.  I then moved to the States, to begin a new life with my husband, Pierluigi, and his two boys.

It’s been 12 years since I set foot here.

I have a complicated relationship with this place. 

It’s a mix of loathing and appreciation (more on this in a subsequent post, and how it’s gone a long way towards creating the woman that I am today).

If you’ve read my rant on Instagram, you’d understand part of the hate.  Women such as myself who are independent, free-spirited, intelligent, and articulate (in other words, not quite the traditional Asian female) are disliked, distrusted, unaccepted.  And heaven help us should we earn more than our men.

For the entire decade I was there, I was made fun of (for my size).  The way I speak English (with a British accent).  How I dressed (to please myself).  My profession (as a PR practitioner).  And the barbs came mostly from women.  Yes, my own gender.

Let me create a background of sorts for you.  In 1995, I weighed under 100lbs and was a Size 0 with measurements of, if I recall correctly, 32-26-36.  I did not exercise, nutrition was of the typical dismal carb-loaded variety, and I was skinny fat.  Yet, in the eyes of many Singaporean women, I was a giant.  They were like children in stature (or lack thereof).  The vast majority of them had no hips, no chest, no shoulders.  In part caused by genetics, but also very much a consequence of their lack of protein consumption.  Asian fare is often disproportionate in that rice (or noodles) makes up 75% of the plate, greens 20%, and meat 5%.

(Practically) every single day, for the entire decade I called Singapore my home, I had it drummed into my head that I was overweight and unattractive.  By Asian women.  The only ones who thought otherwise were either expatriates or those who’d spent most of their lives abroad (read: who understood I was no such thing, and that we come in all shapes and sizes).  After a while, it gets to you, you know.

No matter how strong you mentally are. 

It’s like the little Dutch boy and the leak in the dike.

I suppose it’ll come as little (or no) surprise that I quickly became, in turns, anorexic and bulimic.  There was a stage wherein my weight dropped to around 70lbs.  I found it fascinating to see food (and things) travel through intestines protruding up through my tummy.  And I thought it was cool that my spine was visible for all the world.  Thankfully, I got through that, and left before I inflicted further injury on myself.

22 years later and I’ve only been here 4 days, and I already feel like regurgitating everything in my stomach.  I’d be in the apartment, getting ready to walk around with Eve, feeling happy with how my body looks, how it’s become more toned, that I have muscles, and I’m still managing to lose weight consistently (83lbs to date).  Five minutes walking down Orchard Road, and my mind’s already messed up.  I see myself (again) as an awkward, clumsy rhinoceros lumbering across a field, trying my level best to not stomp on those itty bitty Meerkats.

Another thing, many Asians have no filters.  They tell you what I think as they think it.  For instance, I took Eve to have lunch with her paternal grandparents, and the first words to come out of both my ex-in-laws’ mouths were that I’d gained weight but I look good.  Like hello.  That’s the first thing you think of after not seeing me for 12 years?  I didn’t even bother to correct them that it’s 90% muscle.  What’s the point?  They’re part of a mentality that thinks the ideal size for a woman is that of a 10 year old child.  I’ll give you another visual comparison.  Eve’s 19 year old cousin, whom I truly adore, stands 4ft 7″ (ish), and looks like a 5th grader.  Then there’s Eve who just turned 18.  She stands 5′ 5″, is a Size 4 with all the curves of a woman, and they think she too is a giant.

ARRGGHHH.  IT'S HORRIBLE.

Embroidered Pin-Striped Shirtdress c/o of Shein | Embellished Bomber Jacket c/o Nasty Gal (option) | Sequinned Booties (similar) | Sunnies (Poshmark) | Clutch (option)

I recognise it for what it is. I’m fully aware that one simply cannot physically put on weight within the space of mere minutes. I know it’s all psychological. But that doesn’t mean it’s not real to me.  As you can imagine, I spend a few hours every day, talking to myself, rationalising things, and seeing them for what they are.  Stereotyping.

And that, my friends, is why I have no love for Singapore.

It took only a few words and five minutes of playing tourist to have my self esteem completely derailed. Followed by hours and hours of digging deep within, and finding balance again.  I talked to myself.  I reiterated all the positive changes I’d made to my life.  I talked more to myself.  I went to the gym.  And I’d feel at peace again until the next time.  I know I’ll be alright once I leave here but I really had to share my thoughts.  I mean, it happened so quickly and easily.  I have to fortify myself.  I need to build that well of self-love.  I truly do.

I must ask – has anything similar happened to you?  Does it happen often?  What’s your coping mechanism?

 

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

The View

I spent a long time mulling over this image. I debated on posting it and showing the world such a close view of my legs. Anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike that part of my body. For many reasons. From shape and muscular structure, to girth, fat, and how scarred they are. It began from when I was a teenager. I had body dysmorphia even then, although I didn’t know it had a name. I only knew I hated the sight of my (tree trunk) legs and that if I could help it, no one would ever EVER see them.

That continued for many years until I was 26. I had a spurt of post-natal body love and participated in a beauty pageant which necessitated that I parade up and down the runway in a bikini (I know I know but it was an interesting experience). After that concluded, I retreated back into my shell. More than 1.5 decades were to pass before I, at the age of 40, felt they were sufficiently toned from working out that I could “bare” (and bear) them in capris. Big step for me. Until 2 years later, in 2014, when I began a 3-year long period of unexplained rash and hives.  Peppered with bouts of Angioedema.  All of which required local steroid shots to treat, at times numbering over 80 in a single sitting. Shots which left, in their wake, so many scars that my legs were beginning to look a lot like the rough, speckled surface of Mars.

I was devastated.

Now, it’s been 3 years, and whilst I still do need the occasional localised steroid shot, frequency has dwindled from every other day to 4, 5 times a year. And for that I am grateful.

But it does not take away from how my legs look. Rather, my right leg. Although it’s still scarred, my left has been spared for the most part. The rash (caused by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE, I was diagnosed with it in May 2015) seemed to be particularly fond of the right shin. Oh, and there are also the scars/keloids from (a) a motorcycle accident when I was a teenager as well as (b) incision scars on my kneecap from a micro-fracture surgery in October 2014.

Yes, I went back to wearing pants and skirts and dresses.  Long ones. And at the gym, pulling my capri workout pants as low as they would possibly go to hide the scars.  Hide.  Hide.  Hide.

Which is why this photo here is a big step for me. And although some poses have me covering my right with my left, you’ll see in some other shots, a full-tilt frontal display of the scarred shin. This isn’t the first time I’ve shown them. A while back, in February, I wore a miniskirt which, to be perfectly honest, shared the shit out of me. And after I saw the photos, I swore I’d never ever do it again. My hatred for my legs was renewed with a vengeance.

Until today.

True. I didn’t know how else to style this gorgeous ruffled denim jacket, and it IS a sponsored item of clothing so I have an obligation and responsibility to showcase it in the best possible light. At the same time, I look at these photos and I still don’t like what I see BUT I think I hate what I see a little less. Perhaps by 5%. I don’t know. It’s not something easily quantified. And it could very well change tomorrow, the next 10 minutes, depending on how quickly I find myself in an unflattering position. But as of right this very moment, I am 5% ok with how my legs look.

I spent the last half hour trying to come up with a suitable closing para to this and my mind is blank. I suppose it’s because this isn’t the sort of issue one writes about and then makes a concluding statement on what’s next. It’s one of those things that oscillate from here to there and back again, depending on how our day has progressed, isn’t it?

One thing though. I’m not writing this because I feel sorry for myself. Or want validation because I know it has to all come from within me to be lasting. I’m writing this because body dysmorphia is something I’ve struggled with for a very long time, and I’m continuing to struggle with it on an hourly basis.

I look in the mirror and I still see an elephant. I still see a woman who went from tiny to massive, and who, as a result thereof, had to use a cane to walk for the most part of 2015/2016. Who went on to become a recluse. Not leaving the house for almost two years. Who wouldn’t let anyone outside of the family see her, making up excuses to not attend important school events and activities, missing birthday celebrations. Who still purchases XL clothes because that’s how she sees herself.

I know it’s in my head.

And I want it out of my head.

One hour I’ll feel that I’ve made major progress, building muscle, shedding fat and toning up. And the next? I’ll be hating the crease near my armpit or cursing that fold under my chin which stubbornly refuses to go away despite having lost 80lbs. Even now, when I sit on the couch, I cover my midriff with a blanket because, well, it looks like the midriff of a bloated whale. To me.

I’m writing this because I hope that it will help me. I think it will. And maybe if others feel the same way, it could be of some use to them too. But mainly I’m writing this for me. I’m not even completely certain I’ll post this. I share a lot of myself, it’s true, but this is very personal even for me. Nobody likes to admit to having insecurities, or that something’s wrong. Particularly when it’s something wrong in our minds. The world at large tends to respond far more favourably to physical ailment than it does to mental and emotional.

We’ll see.

If you’re reading this, then it means that for better or for worse, I clicked on the Publish Now button. And that I truly do believe writing is my therapy.  What’s yours?

 

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

Recharge, Reboot, Reset

A fresh start.

 

This will be a short one, my friends.  Yes, it does seem rather inadequate given that I’ve been silent and missing for a month.  But change is a-foot.  In my heart.  Within the family.  On the blog.  And that change has not only opened my eyes to an expanded level of awareness, it has also aided me in concluding how I am meant to continue on this writing journey.

WE ALL NEED A RESET BUTTON

Recharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela Writes

Which is not a bad thing.

Starting from scratch can be good.

I’m certain many would concur that we all need to use that reset button now and again.  When time seems to pass ever. so. very. slowly.  When everything seems tried and tested, done and done.  When one begins to turn a deaf ear to the crisp rustle of turning pages.  And when the sight of lightning streaking across the sky no longer brings about a sigh of contentment and pleasure.  Well, those are my personal indicators, yours may very well be much different but I know you understand what I’m saying.

Recharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela Writes

When what used to be titillating and exciting becomes mundane and insipid. That’s when you know that it’s time to clear the mind, and wash the palette clean (I love you, Pat).

So here I go, exercising use of my reset button.

I am rebooting the way things have been transpiring here on the blog, and going back to the core things that mattered.  Topics which are ever near and dear to me.  Which put passion in my soul and fuel my senses.  I just feel that over the past year, I’ve strayed far too far from those pursuits.  From the roots that keep me grounded.  And that cannot must not be.

And also, friends, there are numerous things happening in my life (some for better, some not so much) that I can no longer confine what I write to merely my existing line-up of topics.  There are added thoughts and opinions to be shared and elaborated upon, and my current platform does not allow for that.

Recharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela Writes

Yes, change is coming, it is inevitable, and it is damn well good.

And as part of that recharging process, today marks my last participation in The Fab 40s series. It has been a joyous ride full of anticipation and surprises since I started this project in March 2015, and I can’t imagine leaving on a higher note.

Now, please join me in this final installment of the Fab 40s (for me, anyways, you can still, and should, visit the blogs of all these other ladies as they continue the trajectory), as we get dolled up in our favourite colours.  Suffice to say, my choice(s) weren’t all that unexpected, huh?

Ann, Kremb de la Kremb

Kremb de la Kremb

Smooth and velvety.

Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor

Fashion On The Fourth Floor

Fresh and breezy.

Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

Lighting up the room.

Mary, Curly Byrdie

Curly Byrdie

Pep in my step.

Sam, Fake Fabulous

Fake Fabulous

Pretty in pink (c’mon, you knew that was coming, Sam).

Veronica, CID Style File

Strong and sassy.

Our guest for May is none other than Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb.

If, like me, you’ve long been a fan of the “dressing to please no one else save myself” mantra, then her name will most certainly come (easily) to mind.  And for good reason too.  Catherine has been championing our rights to throw style rules out of the window, and enjoy fashion for what it is, for some time now, and once you read her posts, you’ll see why I’ve been a Catherine groupies for ages.

And, of course, there’s me.

Recharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela Writes

Cheekily playing with the interpretation of my fave colours with achromatic tones.  I mean, both Black and White have been right up there on my list of must-wear colours since I was 6 or 7 years old.  And Red, whilst fairly new to my wardrobe (we bonded when I was in my late 20s, I believe), is THE colour I don whenever I want to kick some ass so why not kickass red lips?  I mean, going out with a bang is the only way, yes?

So, what’s your ABSOLUTE go-to colour to wear?

 

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

An Unsteady Flicker

Staying inspired.

Keeping the flame burning.

 

I was at mass last Sunday morning, for Easter (the sheer fact it’s taken me over a week to churn out this story should hint at what I’m going to be sharing today), and I somewhat tuned out when the priest began his homily.  I do that sometimes a lot.  Not a very Catholic act but certainly very human.  As he was speaking, I asked myself how someone like Father Troy could remain so passionate and enthusiastic about being a priest.  About his faith.  About saying mass. I mean, at the end of the day, priesthood is still a job.  And with any and every profession, we all fall into a slump every now and again.  Into mental fatigue.  We get jaded and disinterested.  And that fire under our asses goes out.

And then all of a sudden, his words pierced through my reverie, “You fall in love with Christ all over again each and every single day.  That’s how you keep things exciting.  And interesting.

NO, THIS IS NOT ABOUT RELIGION

But I want to draw parallels between what I was thinking and what he was saying, and how I’ve been feeling about blogging lately.  Surely you must have noticed that my last post was, oh I don’t know, a month ago?

And if you hadn’t, don’t tell me.

It would break my already fragile heart.

I don’t know what it is specifically but I just haven’t been able to write.  Each time I turn to the laptop and place my hands on the keyboard, my mind goes blank.  The thought of writing makes me feel tired and lethargic.

A massive brain fog.

As though it’s the very last thing I want to do.

When it used to be the only thing I longed to do.

My passion has wavered from a furious flare to an unsteady flicker.

And I haven’t been able to decipher the reason why that is so.

Until then, I will attempt to get things moving (if only a smidge) with this month’s edition of The Fab 40s, for which I am ever so grateful.  It’s given me purpose to complete this post, something which has been awry for over four weeks now.

On the heels of our princess theme, Veronica came up with (boom boom pow) villainesses for April.  I was elated and scared.  Excited and petrified.

And scoured my mind for those badass women for whom I’ve the highest levels of respect (hey, their motives may be questionable but they’re certainly taking down the world in style).  From the Marvel to the reel as well as real worlds, and came up with Mrs Smith, Mystique, Shego, and Poison Ivy.

Initially the plan was to be Mrs Smith.  In a thigh high black gown.  And pouty lips.  Complete with pistol strapped to garter belt.  Sadly, it was not meant to be.  My photographer, Sofia, was away on assignment for most of April which resulted in me going through the stash of (yet) unused photos, to see which could possibly work.  Enter this shiny green gem of a dress and my interpretation of Poison Ivy.

Take a look now, at all our looks.  Do you see a common thread?

Ann, Kremb de la Kremb

Kremb de la Kremb

Annie and I were truly twinning.  Well, in the beginning anyways. Here she is, dressed as Mrs Jane Smith in that scene in the dessert wherein she’s all set to take out her husband.  And she doesn’t even know that he’s her mark for this hit.  Golden moment.  Such a super cool outfit, Anne, the cargo pants.  And the funky belt and shoes.   

Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor

Fashion On The Fourth Floor

Baby girl, I SO see Professor Severus Snape here.  If he were leggy and gorgeous and glam.  Which he wasn’t but you (irrefutably) are.  And I’m with you on all those things you pointed out about his character.  The loyalty.  The unwavering love.  I have the faintest suspicion you have those in common with him too.  Psst.  I love that your inspiration was a dude!!!

Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

A Pocketful of Polka Dots

If ever there was a romanticised, glamourised criminal, it’d be Ms Bonnie Parker.  Perceived as the epitome of a pretty, wild thing, who, if movies and legend are to be believed, was every bit as sexy and stylish as she was notorious and dangerous.  I love how Jennie’s rendition has a slight French girl chic vibe to it.  Especially those Mary Janes.

Sam, Fake Fabulous

Fake Fabulous

Sam, Sam, Sam.  You look like you just walked off the set of Guardians Of The Galaxy.  That’s how action figurine you look in this outfit, woman.  Enough said.

Veronica, CID Style File

CID Style File

Veronica looks so #girlboss here.  In control and in charge and ready to kick ass.  I mean, seriously, aren’t villainesses = girl female bosses?  Love this look.  Strong and powerful.

Jaye of Curvatude

Curvatude

I’ll be honest.  Curvatude is new to me.  But it will not stay that way for long, I assure you, I love everything Jaye and her blog stand for.  How there is no such thing as plus sized clothing or street size clothing in her books.  She wears what she likes, when she likes, and how she likes.  I like that.  A lot.  That’s how fashion is supposed to be.  It’s not about how old you are.  Or what people tell you is right (or wrong) for your body shape (it peeves me deeply when I read posts telling you how to wear something based on your age or shape, gah).  It’s whatever makes you happy.  Welcome, Jaye, to the fab 40s.  It’s such a pleasure having you.

And, of course, there’s me.

Dressed up as Poison Ivy.  Ish.  Who was ranked 21st in Comics Buyer’s Guide‘s 100 Sexiest Women In Comics list.  Maybe someday LOL what about you?  Which villainess floats your boat?

 

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

The Fab 40s Are Princesses For A Day

Of fairytales and princes.

Of happily ever afters (or not).

 

I remember my very first cinematic encounter with an official Disney princess.  Her name was Snow White and the year was 1980.  Throughout the music (who could forget that high pitched voice) and all that animation, one thing stuck in my head.  That I was certainly not going to lay around like a helpless damsel in distress, waiting for my prince to come and set me free.  That I’d rather don my own suit of armour, and rescue myself.

I CAN SLAY MY OWN DRAGONS, YO

As you’d probably surmise, I have no love for Snow White.  In face, her shrill vocal chords set me on edge and I’m instantly overcome by an animalistic urge to pummel.  Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty too are on my hit list of never-evers.

God help me should the day come that I can no longer fight my own battles.

Shudder.  Just shoot me and put me out of my misery when that moment arrives.

Then came Ariel in 1989 and if you suspected that I might be somewhat partial to her (for obvious hair colour reasons) then you’d be right.  And wrong.  I adore the little mermaid, and her willingness to sacrifice all in the name of love.  I mean, I’ve done it myself.  Moved across three continents with nothing but my daughter and two suitcases, to be with the man who holds the key to my heart. And yet, I felt zero affinity with her.

Still on the politically correct trajectory, Disney released Pocahontas in 1992 and Mulan six years later, neither of which appealed to me all that much.  Strange, I know.  Especially because at the time, I was immensely tanned, with waist length jet black hair parted right down the middle, and often used thick eyeliner as well as dark berry lipstick that made my pout look (almost) as full as Ms Helen Folasade Adu.  In fact, I often had little girls staring my way, calling me Pocahontas.

Mulan, never.

Yes she’s Asian and I was raised in a similar situation although I have to say that my father was a lot more open in his mentality than hers (thank heavens).

I'VE ALWAYS FELT THAT I WAS BORN IN THE WRONG BODY

No, it’s not what you’re thinking GRIN as in I was born in the wrong continent.

My thoughts and my views on life and people have always been extremely non orthodox for an Asian.  Long before the term LGBTQ came to be, my closest friends were gays and lesbians.  Even from when I was in high school.  I found myself bonding and connecting so easily with those who sexual preferences were (at the time) viewed as weird.  Abnormal.  Perverted, even.  And with whom I remain close friends to this day, albeit our communication is now limited to the confines of Facebook since we live so far apart.

Different.  Strange.  Odd. 

I stuck out.  Always.

And I don’t think many who called me “different” meant it as a compliment.

That’s why I immediately knew that Belle was my princess spirit animal (even more so now since in the movie, she has a new gay bestie, Lafou, well I’m hoping they’ll become besties although we’ll never know since there’s no sequel planned).  In every possible way.  We are both dorky.  Slightly awkward in social circumstances.  Fiercely loyal and independent.  Hardcore bookworm.  Rebellious.  Unconventional and willing to try anything at least once.  Brave when the need calls for it.  Protective.  Loving.

I'D FOUND MY PRINCESS

Join me now in gushing over my fellow Fab 40 females, in their individual interpretations of what it means to be a princess.

Ann, Kremb de la Kremb

Kremb de la Kremb

I never would’ve put Ann and Princess Stephanie of Monaco together BUT boom baby, it makes so much sense!!!  I remember loving the princess’ rebellious spirit and independent nature, and how everything cool she did raised eyebrows, and how I loved it!!

Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor

Fashion On The Fourth Floor

My friend Diane here, genius.  Delved into the realm of the telly for her princess inspiration and I shan’t lie, I had to Google the character of Jo Polniaczek from the show Facts Of Life.  Feisty and tomboyish, with a heart of gold, albeit somewhat deeply embedded 😛

Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

I needn’t say more, need I?

Mary, Curly Byrdie Chirps

Curly Byrdie Chirps

A beautiful nod to Pocahontas which, in this instance, is genealogically accurate as well since Mary has Native American blood coursing through her veins.  I love that it’s not costumey either.  And with pops of blue to just add that extra, well, pop.

Sam, Fake Fabulous

Fake Fabulous

So if Princess Elsa was in a grunge band, and had the coolest, edgiest vibe possible, and a pixie haircut, this would be her.  To an oh so fabulous tee.  Sam, you slay.

Veronica, CID Style File

CID Style File

You look amazing, Veronica, in this rendition of Pocahontas.  Just stunning.

For this month, I knew with dead certainty I wanted to ask Michelle of Shelbee On The Edge to come be our guest blogger for March.

Shelbee On The Edge

I’ve long adored and loved this lady for numerous reasons, including her raw honesty and precious ability to so eloquently articulate what I often catch myself thinking.  Is it that obvious that my admiration and respect for Michelle leans towards the vast side of things?  And it extends across her sartorial choices as well.  Today, she’s showing us her idea of Merida.  Free-spirited.  Tempestuous.  Witty.  Gentle.  Spontaneous.  Determined.  Loving.  That about describes Michelle.

I have a surprise for you!!  Although I claim ownership of the theme of fairytale princesses for this month, it was actually Eve who came up with the idea.  And it wouldn’t be right for me to not include her in this post 🙂

The World According To Eve

Does my baby girl not look immaculate?  The dress, so majestic yet completely devoid of frou frou.  A beautifully practical and practically beautiful gown.  The unexpected presence of high tops.  The dainty coronet of braids.  The stained glass rose necklace.  Immaculate.

Red Rose Gown (Willow & Clay) | Lipstick (MJ by Kylie Cosmetics)

And then, there’s me.

Don’t forget to join my link-up here!!!

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

A Different Perspective

Same story, same tale.

Different approach, different results.

 

After last week’s incident (read: post) about an oh so blatantly discriminating act I was “blessed” to experience first hand, I made my way to the Emuleos show.  Now, a large part of my love for fashion stems from discovering new talent.  Or being introduced to an upcoming designer with a fresh perspective on silhouettes.  Not that my words wield the might that is Susie Bubble, hardly, but in that it fascinates me to no end when something someone authentically different lands on my lap, and my jaded eyes light up at the sight of originality (which, despite how often we recite the word “cyclical” in conversations pertaining to fashion, is very much sought after).

Utility Jacket (option, option) | Unicorn Sweater (option, option) | Crop Flared Jeans (option, option, option) | Patchwork Boots (option, option) | Sunnies (option) | Lipstick (Rose

FASHION MAY BE CYCLICAL BUT ORIGINALITY IS PERPETUALLY TRENDY

I arrived at Gary’s Loft and took the lift upstairs without much in the way of expectations, if I am to be perfectly honest.  At that precise moment, all I wanted was an out of the humiliating experience of earlier.

A distraction.

Remember what I said last week?

How catty and bitchy Fashiontopia can get?

 

But you know what?  The AMCO NYC team?  The loveliest lot of people one could ever hope to meet.  I was treated with cordiality and respect.  In fact, everyone appeared to be on the receiving end of that very same wave of genuine courtesy.  And, at the end of the day, fancy outfits as well as over-the-top accessories aside, that’s all we want.  During Fashion Week and every second of every day.

Am I right or am I right?

Fairness and impartiality.

That’s what we all expect.  And deserve.

AND RIGHTLY SO

An absence of prejudice.  Of preferential treatment.  A level playing field wherein we’re all accorded the one same level of human civility regardless of what our dress size is.  Or the number of wrinkles on our faces.  That pays no heed to whether we’re part of the Generation X demographics or Millennials.

It’s like what I said last week.  Oneness.

I want to conclude by sincerely thanking AMCO for inviting me to the shows.  And reiterate how much I thoroughly enjoyed Emuleos’ collection.  The garments were soft yet spirited and most definitely sassy.  Satin and lace flirted oh so happily with leather to culminate in pieces that spoke volumes of that eternal contrast between hard and soft.  Feminine and edgy.  I’d say that describes today’s woman rather eloquently.

Agreed?

Don’t forget to link-up now.

 

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

All Should Be Fair In Style & Fashion

But it ain’t so, baby girl.

And that’s the sad truth about it.

 

Whenever I bring up Fashion Week, I’m typically met with blank stares (all of my family and 90% of my friends aren’t “in the industry”).  On occasion, these looks are replaced with comments along the lines of, “Oh wow, how exciting!!” or “Sounds so fun, can I come too?” or “You have the most glamorous life!!“.  Whatever their responses, it’s always the glossy parts that surface.  The bright, fun, glossy part.  Rarely, if ever, does the not so pleasant, not so pretty aspects see the light of day.

That’s what my post is about today.

And yes, this is what I wore to the first two shows of my very first day at NYFW 2017.  A tried and trusted bomber jacket from the defunct Dereon line, complete with faux fur collar.  A polka dot button down peeking out discreetly from a strapless, bustier dress concocted from vintage fabrics, and festooned with antique, estate finds.  Signature oversized sunnies.  All of which have been thrifted, save for the boots (gift from the man).

In actuality, things aren’t always as “fabulous” as they seem (no duh, Sheela).  In fact, they couldn’t be further from the truth.  In reality, I’m madly dashing around from gallery to gallery (in as much as someone with 5″ heels and bad knees can dash), waiting in line to be allowed access into the room, find a seat (or standing area), and that’s if I’m lucky enough to be attending consecutive shows at the same premises.  Which doesn’t happen very often.

INSERT SAD DISGRUNTLED FACE

Throw in trying to master juggling heavy coat, bag, iPhone and, for some us, camera, and it’s one of the most finicky balancing acts ever.  Completely void of glamour, my friend, completely.  Snapchatting away.  Filming insta-stories.  Taking photos for the blog.  Pleading with the batteries of our phones to last just a few more minutes.  Eating whenever (and whatever) we can.  Disclosure: I existed on drinking Coca-Cola throughout my 5 days at NYFW, and my skin is still reeling from the damages (although I did manage to shed 6lbs, I  know not how).  Desperately seeking bathrooms in between shows.  Getting blisters from the heels we’re simultaneously ruining in the snow.

Tres, chic, non?

Do not get me wrong, though.

I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF FASHION WEEK

And I realise it’s a privilege to see the collections as they unfold, and being able to experience their debut in person is one of my fave aspects of this blogging gig, but that’s because I genuinely love clothes.  Not because I love the mad frenzy.  Or the long hours that, more often than not, turn into wee hours of the early morning.  Or the hard-to-fight-off feeling in my heart that my outfit isn’t enough (or that my words aren’t enough, or that my access isn’t enough, more on the latter, later).

This stuff comes with the territory, of course, but very few are talking about it.  As it is with most not-so-happy things in life, it’s just not as well-documented.

Yet another unglamorous aspect of NYFW that doesn’t make it into Instagram feeds how 90% (if not more) of your schedule will be spent sitting in traffic and rushing like crazy from show venue to show venue.  All whilst cussing under your breath.  Or loudly and colourfully, pick your poison.

Gone are the days when shows were all held in the same spot (come back, Mercedes Benz, we miss you).  These days, Fashion Week is naught but a moniker for the most stylish scavenger hunt through New York City ever.

IN SHOES THAT WERE CLEARLY NOT MEANT FOR SCAVENGING

On top of all that scurrying, chances are your wait time for the show to start will be far longer than the duration of the actual show.  Yes, I kid you not.  It’s an absolute given that you’ll wait anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes for the less-than-15-minute runway show to begin.  Anyone else see the irony in that circumstance?

Here’s another not so glam tidbit.  Nine times of out 10, you’ll get to enjoy a seat that’s practically on the lap of the person right beside you.  So many egos, so little seating space.  And, as has happened to me several times, if you’re not blessed with a front row seat, good luck attempting to view the looks over a sea of iPhones.  Even my 5″ heels didn’t help.  There were others in equally statuesque shoes, and they were much taller to begin with.

There is a silver lining though.

You can still watch the show on the screen of the phone of someone in the front row.  That’s one to scratch off the bucket list, eh?  GRIN

Now, all these things (yes, even the collective mad dash for the exit as the show ends), I can handle.  What I cannot stomach is an incident which happened when I was making my way to the Milly show.  I’d just come out of the Dan Liu (honestly, I wasn’t in the least bit impressed, I felt I was viewing a line-up of Lolitas parading in clothes meant for ageing starlets, long past their prime) and Hakan Akkaya (one of the strongest collections I’ve witnessed this season) shows.  And as I turned the corner to get in line for the show, I bumped into a blogger friend.  Let’s call her P.  She’s gorgeous, just gorgeous, in her early 20s, and immaculately stylish in a mainstream prep way (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that).  We started chatting and that helped pass the 30 odd minute wait.

We finally reached the door and presented our tickets.  The person/guard/security (I don’t even know what to call him) looked at P’s ticket, smiled and waved her in.  Looked at my ticket, at me, and said, “I’m sorry but we’re at full capacity.  You can watch the show from our TV panels outside if you like” and gesticulated at a trio of couches by the side.  Now, both P and I have identical tickets.  Identical.  Issued by the same PR agency, even.  I was very perplexed.  And as I sat down, I saw the very same guy check the tickets of three more ladies (all PYTs in their 20s) and LET THEM INTO THE SHOW.

I was so pissed I got up and left.

I’ve contemplated writing to the PR agency and officially documenting my sentiments over this blatant prejudice but I haven’t.  I’m not sure what to do, to be honest.  If I do, would I ruin any chances of ever being invited to shows in the future?  And would I even care?  If I don’t, am I being a coward and allowing this horrid biased treatment to continue, unchecked?

What would you do?

 

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

An Eye Opener

Truth on the runways.

(Even more) truth on the streets.

 

Ah, New York Fashion Week.  The special time that comes around only twice a year, where the finest and most extravagant (and sometimes the most ridiculous) creations are sent down the runway – all to the watchful eyes of critics, buyers, stylists and hoards of eager fashionistas. This season, however, it was less about the outlandish, and more about the political.  No, I stand corrected.  It was completely about making a statement.

SARTORIALLY & POLITICALLY SPEAKING

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In as much as (some) of the designs that walked down the runway took my breath away, it was how designers and models and influencers stood united in sending a message about social and political justice (or perhaps a sad lack thereof) that really stood out for me.

Because let’s face it, people.

Fashion can be one mother of a catty world.

Let’s not attempt to sugarcoat things, shall we?  Catty and bitchy and, more often than not, blatantly cruel and manipulative.  And it is precisely because of this volatile environment that the solidarity presented by its key citizens left such an impression on me.  If they could set aside blog rankings and statistics, and comparing the number of zeros in their cheques, albeit for that one week, perhaps it’s something I can try to emulate on ground level, in my muggle world.

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Although, I must add, those over-the-top, grandiose public displays of unity do beg the question of whether they’re merely acts of grandstanding.  Of posturing and peacocking, purely for the benefit of cameras snapping away.

Cynical, you say?

Somewhat.

Optimistic that I’ll be proved wrong and that these are, in truth, genuine acts of solidarity?  Cautiously very much so.  I want to be wrong.  I want to see people doing things without an agenda.

One thing is undeniable though.

I’m not doing nearly enough on my own.

I’ve always believed that if I stay true to myself and do what I think is right, when presented with a platform, I should speak.  Loudly and clearly, and stand up for what I believe to be true.  And at this particular moment in our history, nothing rings with more clarity than the need to foster sisterhood unity regardless of ethnicity, race, age, size.

O N E N E S S

In the words of Jeremy Scott, “Our voice is the only thing that will protect us.

I’m not sure what it is precisely that I intend to do but I do know I want to do more.  Be it in terms of what I write or the items I clothe my body with, or both.  I’m still thinking of how I can actually contribute towards being a part of the voice of change.  If you’re of the same mind, let me know?  Perhaps we can do something together.

From a fashion perspective, this is what I wore for my first day of New York Fashion Week (one of the coldest days I’ve ever experienced, 9th February).  I wore it to the Tadashi Shoji and Noon by Noor runway shows.  I’m not including a review of the collections because, well, I’m writing this a month later but if you’d like a look at the designs, you can see their individual pieces here and here.  They were both MAGNIFICENT.

On a separate note, I want to thank everyone for your kind words concerning my grandfather.  His demise hit me harder than I’d expected, to be honest. We weren’t particularly close the last few years because of distance as well as the fact that he no longer recognised anyone.  Yet when he passed, there was a big hole inside of me, and I felt empty, unable to write, hence the absence of blog posts.  Thank you again.

 

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

The Fab 40s Create Pop Art

Drawn from popular culture.

Celebrating mundane, everyday things.

 

Pop Art, that is, lauding commonplace objects and people, seeking to elevate these seemingly nondescript things to the level of fine art.  Personally, I wouldn’t put “pop” and “fine” within the same sentence should it pertain to the various categories of art but I’d be the last person to deny how strong an impact the pop art movement has had on fashion and style.

A G R E E D ?

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Campbell’s Soup Cans.

Disney’s mighty Mickey Mouse.

MISS NORMA JEAN BAKER

All these, be they hand-painted or screen-printed, are universally recognisable as juggernauts of the pop art culture.  And what’s particularly interesting to note is that whilst abstract expressionists favoured visually depicting their tormented souls upon canvas, pop artists searched for traces of that very same trauma in the commercial world of advertising, cartoons, and popular imagery at large.

To be perfectly honest, I found this challenge quite, well, challenging (gah, Sam, I tossed and turned for quite a few nights, that I did).

Aside from the odd graphic tee (hello Mickey), I’m not much for adorning my person with enthusiastic bursts of billboard colour.  Hair aside, I mean.  My style vocabulary rarely, if ever, includes neon or identifiable prints let alone illustrations remotely falling within the stereotype of “coolly ambivalent“.

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I JUST DON'T SWING THAT WAY

When it comes to colour, I like my solids.  Mostly jewel tones.  Or blacks (that’s still a colour for many of us).  A few prints of the classic sort such as plaid or animal or stripes or dots, with a handful of florals thrown in but still in those rich colours or ebony.  I literally scrolled through my entire Instagram feed and couldn’t find a single outfit or accessory that was remotely pop art.  I did find a wall that was perfect for this month’s theme but that was about it.

I was this close to stepping away from the challenge. 

Really, really.

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And I realised I was really overthinking things.  Getting my knickers all twisted and for naught.  I told myself to stop it.  I did.  I said, “Sheela, get a grip.  It’s just clothes“.  After saying that about twenty times, it (finally) sunk in.  Educators were right.  Repetition does indeed work.

I decided that even if I didn’t individual items that were emblazoned with pop art typography, or garments of the right pop art colour story, I could still make it work (I love you, Timmy).

I remembered owning a Mickey Mouse tee shirt in acid wash colours with a neon green/grey striped back (completely forgot to take pictures of that, so smart).  That began the process of my outfit.  Next, the hoodie with its print of candy in pink and yellow.  Followed by really cool booties.  Seriously, look at the print on those things. Then came the dilemma of what to pair all that with.  My first instinct?  Fluorescent yellow skinny jeans but they were much too obvious for me.

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Hesitantly, I reached for that mini skirt.  I knew it was perfect.  The print was OH SO pop art.  Graffiti at its level best thanks to illustrations of robots and monkeys and hearts, with abstract words penciled in, a perfect ode to the commercial art world from whence many pop art artists hail.  But, you see, this is the first time in 18 years that I’ve worn a short skirt.  It’s hard for me to ignore the one thousand and one scars on my right shin from all those injections I’ve had to have. Or the scars on my knees for surgery.

I WENT FOR IT, ANYWAY

Yes, I suppose you could say that this outfit is a little liberating for me.  I think I’m finally alright with going from a Size 2 to a Size 14, and now to a Size 4.  I’m working on accepting how things have changed, how certain bits aren’t quite what they used to be, and allowing myself to celebrate the body I now have.  Scars and atrophy et al.  Learning to love muscles I never thought I’d have (or even wanted to have at first), and embracing a different physique brought about by exercising.  I’ll never be what I was three years ago but you know, I’m ok with that.

Sam, thank you xoxo

PRESENTING THE FAB 40S IN WEARABLE POP ART

Ann, Kremb de la Kremb

Kremb de la Kremb

Bold and wacky and F-U-N!!  Yes, uppercases fully justified when it comes to Ann’s look and I must confess, I was surprised that she too faced some difficulties with the theme.  In my mind, I thought she’d have it the easiest, to be honest.  Ann has always dazzled with bright colours and heapings of playfulness with loads of quirk and fun, you see.  I think she completely aced it here.  Especially with those kicks.

Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor

Fashion On The 4th Floor

Diane’s outfit is, by far, the most wearable for me.  It’s something I’d slip over my head and head out with nary a second thought.  Yes, even the sneakers.  I really appreciate the subtle nuances here, the delicate nods to pop art, and how she made it very fresh with the hashtag symbols.  Well done, my friend.

Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

THIS TAKES THE ABSOLUTE POP ART CAKE.  I heart everything here, Jennie.  When I saw your photo, this ginormous smile involuntarily spread across my face (I blame you for any resulting wrinkles), and I felt so happy.  There’s something so magical about your outfit.  It’s enchanting and whimsical and completely endearing.  I now feel the urge to purchase hot pink mesh tights.  The desire is so great, it equates the need to inhale and breathe.

Mary, Curly Byrdie Chirps

Curly Byrdie Chirps

Babe, you make pop art look SEXY as hell.  This is an outfit I’d wear, very happily and frequently.  Whether with the individual components on their own or collectively as you’ve shown here.  Love the duster cardigan (such a fabulous piece) and the gingham dress and that adorable cube bag!!  Absolutely gorgeous, Mary.

Sam, Fake Fabulous

Fake Fabulous

What can I say, Sam?  You look amazing.  Dapper and feminine all at the one same time.  You’re the sort of person I’d see at a party and would work up the courage to say hello to, just so I could ask where you got your clothes from.  Every tiny element in this outfit is so carefully and strategically put to aesthetic use.  I love it.

And now, do join me in welcoming Lisa of The Sequinist, our guest blogger for February.

The Sequinist

I’ve loved Lisa for the longest time, both for her taste in clothes (which mirrors mine in terms of more is more) as well as her writing (so thoughtful), and had the pleasure of working with her myself last August.  So when Sam announced who our guest was for February, I worked myself up to a tizzy, ecstatically looking forward to what she’d wear, and Lisa did not disappoint.

If anyone could make Pop Art look glam, it’d be Lisa.

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Candy Hoodie (Harajuku Lovers) | Mickey Tee (Disney) | Skirt (Alice & Olivia) | Graffiti Art Boots (AmiClubWear) | Rainbow Bracelets (WhatWouldVWear) | Sunnies & Red Glass Ring (borrowed from Eve)  | Lipstick (Rose)

And then, there’s me.

Don’t forget to join my link-up here!!!

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.