For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The saying “when it rains, it pours” has proved to be true not only in recent Virginia weather patterns but also (for the last week) in my love life. It’s become one of those weeks where I would get in the car and laugh to myself wondering just what else could go wrong in my personal life, whether it be a parking ticket or a broken bone; what can I say, most of us recovering addicts left the game with a pretty grim sense of humor as a souvenir. But before I could indulge in equal parts full-fledged pity party and tantrum, there was (as always) gratitude to be found, lessons to be remembered for the future, and healthier choices to make in the present (after a deep breath, of course.)
Last week, I discussed the concept of leaving someone’s life as an amends. Well, ironically enough, I had three prime opportunities to experience the converse this week: walking away from someone else’s choices. Choices that, not too long ago, I would have made about me- my worth, my appearance, my intelligence, my abilities, my mental illnesses- when they are anything but. Choices that, not too long ago, I would have reacted to rather than responding. Choices that, presently, I just don’t have time to waste with thoughts of fixing or revenge or anything other than logical self-care. It may sound weird but the concepts of a capsule wardrobe and minimalism have made me assess where I invest the most expensive commodity I own: my time. It’s the most precious gift we can give someone else and as someone prone to rumination, anxiety, jealousy, pride, and resentment, I’ve done my fair share of throwing away my time on those aforementioned fruitless ends. And to me, if I learned a lesson and grew- even if it was painful or unpleasant or unwanted growth– then it was not time wasted.
That’s the thing about being realistically positive in recovery: growth isn’t always going feel good and that doesn’t mean I have to pretend it does. I don’t have to be thrilled with the idea of someone treating me poorly because it resulted in me making better choices for myself. Just because I can find the gratitude in a situation, it doesn’t mean that those circumstances are suddenly fun-filled and joyous. Gratitude just makes it a hell of a lot easier to cope. I say all this because there was a time in my recovery that I felt the need to plaster a grin on my face to mask my denial as “positivity.”
So, whoever you are and wherever you are in your recovery and/or life, just know this: you can feel anger and express it in healthy ways. You can learn a hard lesson with grace but leave behind the person who taught it to you. You don’t have to eat lemons that were handed to you and declare them to be delicious- be realistic about what you have in front of you and then make some damn lemonade. And if all that fails, just listen to Sorry (Beyonce’s scathing, spot-on anthem off her album Lemonade about surviving infidelity) on vehement repeat like I have; it’s been a cathartic and effective coping mechanism (and probably accounts for my previous analogy.)
If that analogy (or my pro reference to The Office) didn’t translate, think of it in terms of dressing for a rainy day. Do you look outside when it’s day eight of the never-ending August rain and think, “if I just dress for sunny weather, then gosh darn it, it’ll be sunny!” I should hope not. When it rains, let it rain- but still grab some quality rainwear toavoid getting soaked.
I myself lived in denial for a few months after discovering my Columbia jacket of yore was actually less than waterproof and in need of replacing. In typical me fashion, I found the one raincoat to rule them all- a perfect yellow slicker steeped in the nostalgia of Paddington Bear and Curious George. Oh, except it was $400. I’m all about investing in quality pieces if need be but I couldn’t justify that purchase from Barbour. Thankfully, I found an even better $140 alternative from the English company Joules.
It may be silly of me but I automatically trust a British business with rainwear. I mean, if it rains that much, they must have figured it out if only out of sheer necessity. I’m quite happy to report that, at least judging from my raincoat, Joules knows what they’re doing. First and most importantly of all: it’s constructed from breathable, waterproof, wonderfully matte cloth. Not to mention the soft jersey lining, which perfectly encapsulates my wardrobe love for anything navy or nautical.
The detailing of wooden buttons and toggles, zipper, inner and outer pockets, and navy/white rope drawstrings add even more old school charm while offering modern functionality.
I initially bought my large Longchamp just for trekking around campus but it’s quickly become a staple in my wardrobe (along with another medium one in- what else- navy.) If you aren’t familiar with these purses, they’re foldable, roomy, made of water-resistant nylon, and durable as all get out. I bought both technically secondhand (new with tags on eBay) but if you’re buying used, pay attention to the quality of the corners of the bag- apparently, they’re usually the first part to start showing wear and fraying.
While I do have knee-high rain boots that are a) adorable b) also made by Joules c) covered in a fox print, wedges seem a bit more appropriate for the workplace than wellies. These wedges offer the same comfort and quality as my Sanita clogs but without all the bulk. They even have decent traction in the rain, which is a relief to anyone that’s as clumsy as I am in heels. I’m even toying with the idea of getting another pair in dark brown for cold weather outfits.
This navy blue scallop dress is an absolute workhorse- it can be dressed up or down for a wide array of occasions, it’s comfortable as all get out, and I originally got it for $15. The cardigan was actually a last minute Hail-Mary purchase from Target’s kid section (also $15, holla) as I’ve lost of my favorite J. Crew Clare cardi amongst the sea of unpacked boxes (oops.) And a neutral statement necklace is such a clutch accessory in my capsule wardrobe; it can elevate and polish an ordinary outfit with ease.
So to come full circle, there’s no point in denying our reality when less than ideal circumstances can all descend on us at once. Not when it’s as easy as finding the proverbial silver lining on the raincloud: if there are lemons, there can be lemonade; if there’s a storm, there’s a chance to wear your favorite raincoat; if you’re in places no longer conducive to your growth and happiness, there’s no obligation to stay and often times, a door to something better that’s closer than you may think.
As always, if you have any questions, whether they are outfit-related or not, please write me in the comments below or contact me on my various social media outlets. Also, if you have anything you’d like to see in a future video or post, just let me know. I love hearing from y’all!
Be kind. Live authentically. Practice gratitude. Hustle daily. Work hard. Stay humble.
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