Getting myself back together; Patti Smith style

” Patti Smith taught me I can draw my own door and walk through. When I feel the weight of ageism and the weight of sexism pushing down on my shoulders, I think of her and try to negotiate my life in the same way she has hers”

Shirley Manson

It’s time to celebrate; we are all living longer! The down side is that because of that, many more of us can expect to experience some major upheavals in our lives as we party our way to old age. I’ve already had one life meltdown and watched in horror as my score on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale went sky high and my direction, morale and personal identity spiralled into the abyss.

But something strangely amorphous seems to be evolving out of the destruction of my previous life and I wonder, if this mysterious, indefinable ‘something’, which I just can not explain, could be the start of a shift towards a new beginning. And I wonder if a new, post apocalypse photograph of me might be able to identify something that I could not yet explain myself.

So, a blow- dry (to boost confidence), 2 glasses of Prosecco ( to prevent the facial paralysis usually only associated with dental surgery which I am expert at mimicking once a camera is focused upon myself) and half an hour doing my make-up and we are ready to go. 45 photos later and we finally come up with one where both Josef (the cat) and I are reasonably happy with the way we look.

And yes, I think there is something different about me. I am not looking beaten down and broken, I am looking o.k. And I do want to try to ‘draw my own door and walk right through’ just like Patti Smith, but not in a defiant way, but in the way I would do if I was just being myself; a mature woman who is reshaping her life.

I already wear the same Ann Demeulemeester boots as Patti, so I might just have a head start. But if the boots don’t work, I think I can rock a cool look with a dress and some wellingtons!







38 thoughts on “Getting myself back together; Patti Smith style

  1. What fun! I can imagine the stress of doing the photo shoot but the final picture is so perfect! You look happy and creative and ready for anything–go for it, Karen!

  2. No, you don’t just look ok, you look absolutely gorgeous and happy, Karen! I love the picture and the facial paralysis paragraph hahah 🙂 I’m happy you did this. Lots of hugs and have a lovely new week! ❤

  3. Very chic, smart and hip! I like the look and positivity of your approach to changing. It’s healthy and refreshing. May your journey to a strong and joyous you be filled with contentment and happiness in who you are with all your gifts and talents and abilitues. YOU are a great gift and joy to everyone you touch!

    • Thanks so much Cynthia. I know the photo is of me, but I have to keep reminding myself of the fact. Somehow, it is not how I see myself. But I mean now to try to live in the moment and not worry so much……….life is so precious and I don’t want to waste it!

  4. Karen, you look wonderful. Just compare yourself with some expensive wine. It gets better every year!! This photo is wonderful, you are beautiful, your cat is cute, your home gorgeous. It’s good that you start a new life right now. I wish you a lot of luck, regards Mitza

    • Thank you so much Mitza. I am so sorry for the late reply. I have had another wall knocked down in my house this week. So I am still working hard at removing some of the old and creating a new space for myself. I am proud of the photo because it shows how far I have come and I so want to make the most of the experiences I have lived through, learn from them, but, if I can, leave the bad things behind,
      Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. Kind Regards, Karen.

      • I’m really happy to get your answer today. Removing old things makes a lot of dirt but then everything will be new and beautiful. You have such a talent for home decoration. I’m pretty sure that you will post the new room sooner or later and I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure that most of us have made bad experiences and I hope that you will be strong enough to overcome them. I write a wonderful sentence to you from a Rabbi :Because the purpose of any descent is always in order to ascend.
        One day you will see clearly that this is right, Karen. Have a wonderful day, week, life, kind regards Mitza

      • Oh Mitza, I have been trying to get to reply to you for days! I knocked another little wall down and although it was small, the impact on the plumbing and electrics has been considerable. It will all be so much better when it is done. I have to make the house mine and I have to break down my old life and start anew. Your Rabbi quote was perfectly lovely and I thank you for that. I also thank you for crediting me with some talent as far as house decoration is concerned. I do try very hard, but my budget is tiny. I also want a calmer, less cluttered look. So all the ‘stuff’ I have just gets moved into other rooms as I work my way through the house. At some point, I will have to get rid of things 😦
        You are so right when you say that so many people have gone through or are going through difficult times. It is part of life’s journey. But like many other people, I like the familiar and safety. It is quite a challenge having a new start. People say that now I can be who and what I want to be and I find that challenging as I am used to fitting around others.
        Kind regards, Karen.

      • Tearing walls down seems to be something symbolic, Karen. And afterwards your house will have some sort of your “footprint”. I don’t want to reduce your talents only on home decoration but that’s the thing I see. You seem to be a good cook, too. Do you sew, too? I can imagine how you feel, and even though it is probably very hard, it can be a challenge to come out of hard times like a phoenix from the ashes. Also with tiny budgets you can do a lot of beautiful things, I know that myself. You will find new friends, new challenges, maybe a new love… I wish you luck, Karen. Have a wonderful week-end, kind regards Mitza

      • Yes, you are exactly right that I am wanting to create my own ‘footprint’ in the house. And yes, it is hugely symbolic as well.
        I can sew and paint. I enjoy cooking and walking and gardening. I am sure I could have been a very successful Edwardian lady!
        Kind regards, Karen x

      • Karen, you have been kissed by muses, too, as we say here. Hopefully you can find somebody who appreciates all your wonderful talents. I wonder how you look as an Edwardian lady, hehe. Kind regards Mitza

    • Thank you so much Honey. I am working on moving onwards and upwards. Perhaps it takes time to learn acceptance of changed circumstances and I have struggled with it. But it is time to draw a line and this photo did that for me.

    • I really worried all day when I posted this photo. Like many of us, I don’t always feel fantastic and I did struggle to accept that the woman in the photo did look quite nice and yet that was me!

  5. You look FAB!!!! Rocking those boots:-) Like I said before, “you are beautiful inside and out” and remember anyone can be beautiful on the outside, the hardest is “beauty on the inside”…you are blessed with both!!! Here is to a great 2015 🙂
    How in the world did you get your kitty to stay in one place long enough for a shot-mine always scoot away-LOL

    • Thank you so much for your kind and generous comment Robbie. Josef looked so sweet didn’t he? On his pink chair with the satin bow. He did jump down right after that photo!
      I am wondering how you are as the days go by?

      • I am doing okay-Don ( my husband) went to pick up the ashes today. Karen- Don + I talked and realized how she had declined the past few months. It was hard, but we know it was the right decision.
        I was afraid, I would not want to go out in the garden again-but I have been going out there the last week working. I have Chance by my side. I feel, if I did not have Chance- I would have to go rescue another dog to be in my garden. It is just too empty! It is a bit easier when you have another one to take care of—sorta like the “empty nest”…last year, my youngest (son) moved out + it feels empty like that:-( if you don’t have another to take care of and fuss over:-)
        Chance also follows me, sits next to me + sleeps at my feet. It makes not seeing her every day a bit easier- for I have another friend to take care of…he has his own unique talents-he got a chipmunk yesterday!

      • I think you are doing so well Robbie. I know how much your heart is aching, but you have even made it out into the garden and tried to figure out how you are going to move forward without your beloved companion. And you don’t have to figure it all out yet, just getting through each day and living with the sadness is enough to cope with at the moment. I am so glad you have Chance and yes, I know that you would have to get another dog if Chance was not there.
        My cat Ossie died last Summer and I was doing ok until I had a dream about him this week. It was so real and I woke crying. He gave me comfort which I really need to get by. But he has gone. Like you, I have other cats and I have his brother Josef and Otto still here. But Ossie was different. I think it may be a good thing that I did not have children, because it would be very bad to have a favourite. I love all my animals, but some are just so ‘special’.
        Chance seems to be giving you all that he can and more, (Chipmunks are not too a penny around here), but I do know how hard it is to fill that empty space.
        Take care dear Robbie,

    • Thank you so much Joshi. Your portraits, your work, well, it is just in another fabulous league. You capture soul and you are a genius behind the camera. I would love to have my photograph taken by someone with your skills. You must have another skill; that of putting people at ease. Perhaps you make yourself invisible?

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