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Life is not a dress rehearsal, make sure you shine brightly

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Why do I love Bermuda? Among many reasons there is one that stands out to me: I am continually meeting fascinating and creative people.

Last week, I was late for a meeting and was walking fast on the second floor of the Bermudiana Arcade to get my materials from the printing shop. The hallway is dimly lit. From the shadows, I saw a gorgeous woman coming straight at me.

I stopped and stared. She was a living Picasso painting, clothed in the most eccentric combination of styles, fabrics and colours. She walked with poise and grace and confidence. I gazed in admiration at the boldness of her fashion statement.

I will try to describe her outfit, but the photo is worth a thousand words. Her dress reached to her ankles and was made out of flowing silk. A big eye with long and flirty eyelashes of feathers covered one breast. Her dress was patterned to split into contrasting colours, white and red, and then black for the top. Big, silver, glittering lips were embroidered in a smile on the skirt. She wore two hats, one perched on top of the other, and the spray of exotic feathers crossed her bare shoulder. Her shoes were two different colours, black and white, and they were sparkling like diamonds.

She passed me slowly, floating like a work of art on a pedestal, then turned and smiled before disappearing behind a door. It was as if I met an enchanted queen from a fairytale. I felt I had glimpsed a magical realm.

“Who is this phenomenal woman? Why is she dressed like this at ten o’clock in the morning? What is this extravagant dress?” A million questions were rising in my mind. I ran after her to find out.

Mstira Weeks, the owner of Mystiques and the clothing brand Mstira Selassie, was celebrating her 40th birthday and she decided to celebrate in style. Mstira came up with the idea to make the same whimsical and unforgettable dress as the singer, Janelle Monae, was wearing at the Met Gala in 2019. Mstira’s dress was made by a talented tailor, Mr Brown.

“Since I was a teenager I desired to express myself through fashion and art. I was never afraid to be unique or different. Why should we conform to what society tells us? I want to be the real me!” Mstira proclaimed this with confident pride.

Often, we want to look different, wear unusual and strange clothes, even do adventurous things – but we don't. We are afraid of what other people will think of us. Is it appropriate? We hide behind the safety of propriety and habit. Society walls us in, and we don’t even notice.

I remember when my daughter Maria and I first came to the USA, we were so thrilled to learn about the Halloween celebration. We did not have this holiday in the Soviet Union. My daughter was 13 years old. We hadn't made any friends yet, and nobody invited us to a party. But, she insisted on getting a devil costume and a mask with red horns and a long pitchfork.

Maria wore the costume with quiet delight and we walked for a long time on the loud and crowded streets near Pittsburgh University. I was surprised because Maria is very shy and introverted. She said to me later in life that it was very important for her. It was the first time when she could freely express herself by dressing differently and not be afraid of being judged or ridiculed.

It was an act of freedom.

Even though we feel we have been in a claustrophobic box for years; a box created by other people’s opinions and expectations, there is always a door. You can open that door and express the person you feel you are, or even the person you want to be.

We all have gifts of talent, identity and personality that can emerge in beautiful and wondrous ways. Let them out. Be a bit daring! Life is not a dress rehearsal.

This is your time to be who you want to be. Right now! Not a year from now, or ten years from now … pay attention to your flame of self-expression and make it glow!

There is light inside of you, and it will shine big, bright, bold and beautiful if you free it. Make the big eye on your dress wink to everyone.

Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com

To celebrate her 40th birthday, Msteria Weeks wore a remake of the dress singer Janelle Monae donned for the Met Gala in 2019 (Photograph by Nina London)
To celebrate her 40th birthday, Msteria Weeks wore a remake of the dress singer Janelle Monae donned for the Met Gala in 2019 (Photograph by Nina London)

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Published March 04, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated March 04, 2021 at 8:14 pm)

Life is not a dress rehearsal, make sure you shine brightly

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