Some years ago, a former co-worker recounted a conversation she had with her therapist. It went something like this:
“So I am in this store and I find myself distracted by this beautiful peach scarf. It was unnerving.”
“What made it unnerving?”
“A peach scarf? I mean a bright, silky, kind-of-out-there peach scarf? I couldn’t.”
You said “distracted.” Do you mean that it challenged you in some way?”
“I don’t know. It’s just not me. I am a lot more buttoned up, a serious person.”
“With no room for a peach scarf moment?”
I don’t know how my co-worker resolved her peach scarf dilemma. I only know that the thought of it stayed with her. Her attraction was a distraction, something that didn’t fit with how she thought of herself and how she had constructed herself in the world.
We all have peach scarf distractions that mess with that finite construct of who we think we are. They come in many forms: people who “aren’t our type,” foods we can’t even pronounce, animals who catch our attention, and oh-so-many objects and things that speak to us.
If you consider your peach scarf a distraction, I suggest you rethink and reframe that. However your peach scarf shows up in your life, see it for what it is: an attraction that is trying to get your attention. Don’t be so quick to dismiss it. What seeks our attention is often a specific call to our next growth spurt. Growth isn’t always vertical, on a straight path of sameness. It is “branchy,” like a tree or a wildflower. It reaches out and stretches us…if we let it. My peach scarves (oh yes, plural!) have formed the surprising and necessary bridge between my “serious and sure-footed self,” and my “creative, expressive, and whimsical self.” I never know where the next “peach scarf” will show up…or take me.
So, what does any of this have to do with style? The shorthand response is to say that it is about taking a risk. Well, maybe. I would like to reframe that, too: every time we open ourselves to a new experience, by way of a person, a place, an experience, or a thing such as a bright, silky, kind-of-out-there peach scarf, we summon the courage to evolve by way of experiencing ourselves a little bit differently.
Here’s to the peach scarf!