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Two words

[personal profile] executrix sent me a gorgeous book, Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design by Danielle LaPorte and Carrie McCarthy.

It looks like a coffee-table book of fashion and personal style, but it's really about discovering your true values. Big changes are on my horizon, and Style Statement looked like a great way to start designing the next phase of my life.

A battered street sign for North Kalaheo Avenue in Kailua, Hawaii1

The Style Statement method has you respond to prompts in eight areas of life (health, creativity, fashion, home, spirit, service, relationships, recreation), then distill your answers down to two words, which become your Style Statement.

It's kind of like a lifestyle Meyers-Briggs test.

Painting by Allan Gibbons of the full moon rising behind palm trees in Santa Barbara

Here is a random sampling of the prompts2:
  • My idea of an unappealing living place or culture is...
  • A few objects in my living space that I cherish or take great pleasure in... (the pictures here are some of mine)
  • I nourish my wellbeing by...
  • I find myself most consistently longing for...
  • The people I interact with the most for work probably see me as someone who is...
  • I tend to get stingy about...
  • My like-minded friends, community and tribe are...
  • I withhold my love when...
  • I express my mental creativity in the way I...
  • I stop myself from being expressive when...
I haven't yet pinned down my Style Statement, but the process has brought to light aspects of my character that I don't normally give much thought to.

A pair of Fluevog gray suede wingtip oxford shoes

For instance, there's this pattern of intensity-and-release, where I'll bear with a cold room all evening just so I can get into a warm bed, or get hot and sweaty and dirty so that I can shower and put on white linen and drink gin and tonic. I'm considering the importance of that pattern in my life, because I want to allow for it more deliberately.

Square colored glass dinner plate by RoseAmbr, with a setting of mid-century modern Jensen silverware

All those Law of Attraction/manifesting/The Secret efforts have you specify what you WANT, and almost none ask you what you ARE. I tried making vision boards, but it was painful because I don't want magazine-picture things like yachts and diamond rings or the Eiffel Tower. I realize that I really want more of the best things that I already have: friendship, comfort, beauty, good memories...3

Beadwork evening bag depicting Artemis and the constellation of Orion, by Hillsinger Fine Hand Beadwork</a>

So whether I'm "Genuine Cosmopolitan" or "Structured Ease" or "Designed Comfort" (some of my likely Style Statements), the process of distilling thousands of words of self-examination down to two is turning out to be really revelatory.

2Those who participated in the Five Questions Meme: yes, I did raid this book heavily for my questions!
3...and Georg Jensen Caravel sterling flatware (I'm short by three teaspoons).

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