Takes Courage to Step Out of the Darkness

This blog began in 2010 and was a result of lessons I learned when I made the decision to step out of the dark and take back my life. I had let it go and allowed criticisms of people around me to permeate my being and shut me down. But, I turned things around and learned a lot.   The blog became a way I could encourage other women walking through the same darkness to come on out and begin again. I have never claimed to be a fashionista, fashion-model– blogger…there are plenty out there if that is what you want.   I am here to encourage, inspire and educate.You guys are overall the best audience and I love you.   But, I want you to know I still struggle with criticisms. Lately, I have been told face-to-face my eye shadow is too dark….I was sent an email about how aging my hair color and style are….I was told on Sunday my outfit was matronly and the reader respected my courage to put my “body” out there….(that is code for being courageous to show off my plus size figure)….and it becomes a little harder each time to not retreat back to the dark. I am a very strong person since my reinvention, but I am human. There are days I feel ugly…days I feel fat…and days I feel old. On those days it is more difficult not to internalize the criticisms.  I am certain we all have those days.

But, as I sat and pondered all of this on Sunday, I realized there is more than likely someone reading who is where I was at age 50.   There are women who are so frozen from beating themselves up and from listening to the harsh words of others they cannot enjoy life.   And, as I have said before, life is too short and we need to stop and enjoy each moment as the gift it is.

So, I am choosing once again to go forward and enjoy those times. I love my purple eye shadow, I love my hair for right now (my stylist and I have discussed changes for the last year), and I really like the outfit I wore last Sunday and believe it reflects the creative adjective I have worked to portray from the beginning.  I know I need to lose weight and I am working on it….it has been a struggle most of my life.

But most importantly, I am having a great time in my sixties…loving friends and family and feeling good about me. If you cannot say, you feel good about you, then I hope you will sign up for the emails and read the little document I wrote about the beginning of my journey. Don’t stay in the dark…come on out and enjoy the fun.  Also, you may know someone over 50 struggling with self acceptance…please invite them to join us.

I want to thank those who gave “constructive criticisms” for reminding me about why I am here and who I am here for.

STILL SMILING…HOPE YOU ARE TOO!

I am wearing a pair of my Eileen FIsher pants …which I love and own in four colors.  Macys has a few on sale and some not, but available in petite and plus size.  You might check them out below.

92 Comments

  1. Sending you a “virtual” hug and keep on doing what you do so well.Your blog is real,just like you.

  2. I stumbled on to your blog a few months ago because I was looking for a blog with someone more my age, with a positive outlook, who looked good, but wasn’t a fashion floozy. I like your down to earth, positive, cheerful outlook. You don’t try to pass yourself off as someone your not. I appreciate that you put yourself out here with grace, courage, truth and a decent fashion sense. Not everyone is a size 4 most of us over 50 have mature figures & prefer to accent our positive attributes over those not as positive.
    Our fashion style isn’t the same but I’ve gleaned a lot of good tips from you & your blog. Keep up the good work, keep smiling & know that you’ve made a difference in my life
    when I most needed it.

    1. Means a lot, Becca. Thank you. You are right…we are not all size 4 and most of us over 50 only see that in our past. To know that I have helped in any way is wonderful.

  3. I don’t comment often, but enjoy your blog and think you look lovely. It is disheartening to get such comments, I believe people too often forget there is another person on the other side of the device. Thank you for putting your blog out and being so positive!

  4. Hello dear Pam. I want to encourage you to rethink your take on the comment from the person who “respected your courage to put your body out there.” Try to focus more on the “respect” portion of that comment than interpreting it as code for a criticism. It is always so easy to find criticisms where perhaps they were not even meant when the comment is related to an area of sensitivity for us. But I for one am grateful, and yes respectful too, that you have the courage to put yourself “out there.” A “body” I can relate to when looking for style inspiration; not a slender woman whose style I have to wonder whether it will work for me. It does take courage to do that when the fashion world favors the slender. So I say revel in your courage and strength! See it as a gift you are giving to your readers, and when someone comments on that courage, stick your chest out and hold your head up with well-deserved pride!

    1. This is great, Melissa. You have taken what I saw as a slam and re-fashioned it for me. The comment did come at a time when I was feeling down on myself for my current weight and I think you are exactly right about the mis-interpretation. It was a good example to me of how easily we slide into self loathing if we allow it. The moment turned into one where I kind of slapped myself awake and remembered why I am here. It is easy to slide back into these moments, but important we all come back to loving ourselves where we are right now…the size and the age. Thank you for shedding new positive light on what I saw as a negative.

  5. I love your blog. I usually “come over” from The Vivienne Files. You inspire me for sure, and I think you look lovely. Hang in there. Sometimes I think those who are so critical are really just unsure of themselves and have been told by someone else that THEY couldn’t wear purple eye shadow etc. So when they encounter someone else doing the very thing they have been told they couldn’t do, they wonder how you can pull it off so well. And sheesh…sometimes I wish women weren’t so critical of one another. Mary

    1. I do wish we were more supportive of one another, Mary. I do not mind when a criticism comes from a good friend (and sometimes that can even be tough), but from complete strangers who do not know me, it is harder. Thanks for coming over from The Vivienne Files. I love Janice and her work. We were able to meet in Chicago once for an evening out and I knew I had a friend. She is awesome.

  6. The words “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all” popped right into my head when I your post today, Pam.

    I’m giving you a big shout out and hug for everything you do to inspire, motivate and support women of all ages! Thank you, Pam!!

    1. Thanks so much Beth. This post was really to re-focus me and to show others that I understand what they may be experiencing with their self esteem struggles. I am truly having a great time at this stage of life and I desire for others to as well. Thanks for being here.

  7. So glad to read this Pam. Some women are so hard in themselves their negativity spreads to others! This is a tough racquet and we deserve respect not cheap shots. I wear very dark eyeshadow and lots of liner. I love it and don’t care what anyone says

  8. Pam, My intro to you was actually a YouTube video featuring you, Jennifer Connolly & Susan Street – Frump Busters!!:) I was looking at “fashion after 50”, etc. videos & there you were! I loved your sense of fun and style – all 3 of you were different, yet so wonderful to watch! I began googling all of you, then found your blogs. I enjoy you, JC&SS so much! Your personal story however, really resonated with me. As a part of that “after 50 – looking to improve myself” group of women, I appreciate the courage, time and effort – not to mention the heart – it takes to put yourselves out there. We all get down on ourselves & think we having nothing of value to contribute (especially when there are plenty of Negative Nellies so happy to put their 2 cents in!) Thankfully there are folks like you who bring us a cheerful, informative way to connect with other like-minded ladies! 🙂

      1. I follow all three of you. Now I need to go look for that video! What fun ?!
        Pam, please keep applying your philosophy for us all. I admire your willingness to share both your triumphs and what you perceive as shortcomings (which are not always that short) to help the rest of us learn. Thank you so much.

  9. I like your glasses’ frames. I wear a similar style myself. Those are great shoes that you spotlighted in their own photo. I echo Becca G’s post. Hang tough, TX!

  10. Pam, I have never commented but feel I must. YOU and your blog are awesome!!! Please just hit DELETE if a negative comment pops up. Some people are just plain RUDE. If they don’t “approve”, they shouldn’t follow you. I LOVE your blog and always glean something from you. Sherry

    1. Sherry, thank you…you made my day. I am not going anywhere anytime soon. Thanks again for being here.

  11. I “stumbled” onto your blog, and Jennifer’s also, on the Chico’s website. I enjoy both so much, and am so happy to relate to an age group that “understands” the challenges of aging. I am agog at the criticism, but am happy to see one fan turn it around for you as a positive. Sometimes, especially in print, without the benefit of voice and facial expressions, things can be misinterpreted, so always give yourself the benefit of doubt. However, we have to be honest when we feel attacked, and not let it “bring us down.” There will always be critics, but we have a choice to move beyond that and see it for what it is. I admire your blog, and think you are doing a great service!!! Keep up the good work and good words!!!

    1. Thanks Linda. I am so happy to have you here and appreciate the kind words. I am doing great and moving past the recent negativity.

  12. I really enjoy your blog and found it by accident.
    I have been criticized endlessly because I made the decision to stop coloring my hair. It’s a choice we all have to make on our own when the time is right.
    My precious aunt passed away at age 90 and she was still coloring her hair. She got it done professionally. I didn’t want to go there so I’m comfortable with my decision but it amazes me that others feel they have an opinion concerning someone else!
    I appreciate seeing a lady comfortable with their own style. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Pat…I am sorry you have had to put up with unsolicited criticism as well. I will be joining you one day…it does old keeping it up. You keep wearing that crown of glory with pride.

  13. I am in the same boat as you. I have gained 30 lbs which has affected my health. I have lost 10 lbs so far but it is getting harder not to eat carbs and sugar. I tried Eat to Live and the Atkins diet, but now I am on the South Beach diet. Trying not to cheat!! I would like to know what helps you lose weight? Has your exercise program helped?
    I have found that not having any food in your house that is not on your diet helps but I still hide chocolate in my pantry! Lol. Sigh!! ( oh BTW! Husband is taking me to Pappadeaux for seafood for Valentine’s Day! A nice wedge salad and salmon sounds divine! )

    1. Hi Marcia…keep at it. My exercise does help! Probably the most. I like the FitBit…it has me getting up and moving more. I am going to write a post for next week about some other things I am doing right now. But, hang in there and keep it up…I highly recommend what I am doing, a combination of cardio and strength training…I am dropping inches more than pounds right now, but that is fine with me.

  14. Hello Pamela???
    Remember that God knows your heart… you are a beautiful lady with a great smile. Focus on all that is good and count your blessings,for there are so many…

    Hugs??
    Raquel

  15. Pam, you are beautiful and have a great sense of style. I agree with all of those who have commented so far. I would bet that most of us here are a work in progress and are working on our weight, style and health like you are. Like others have said, we appreciate your positive attitude and willingness to share your journey. You have always been honest about what you are working on and what has been working for you. We are all individual and have different needs so what works for you, may not work for me. But, we can still get ideas from one another and I try to keep an open mind to new ideas.
    I have many days that I am hard on myself. I just have to go to the store and try on clothes and I usually come away with a bad attitude about myself. We need to support one another in our journey to be stylish and healthy. By the way, I love the shoes you have in the post.

    1. Thanks so much, Michele for your support and kind words. I got these shoes in Chicago at Bloomingdale’s a few years ago and I really like them.

  16. That so-called matronly outfit was fine! I kept referring to it & like that photo of you. Thanks for inspiring me. You’re the best!

  17. Hi Pam, please take the high road. An older lady at the gym the other day said to us, if you point a critical finger at someone, three fingers will point back. We all laughed, but ain’t that the truth. I enjoy your blog so much, it’s made me enjoy the clothes I already have and what to plan for. Especially in the accessories department.

    You go girl !! Please be kind to yourself.

  18. Pam, I love your style! At 62 I am reinventing myself as well. Trying to look appropriate but not dowdy, cute but not trying too hard. I love your youthful appearance, especially your hairstyle. I think we all need to be respectful of each other and careful of comments that can be hurtful. Keep doing what you’re doing, so many people need your encouraging words! Have a great day.

  19. Please continue with your blog and ignore the rude, negative comments.
    There is something about the web that makes people say nasty things they would never say to your face. You have lots of loyal readers who appreciate what you do and I am certainly one of them!

  20. I have never written in to any blog or fashion magazine etc, but I want to thank you for your blog. I have enjoyed your “real world” take on dressing well & stylish in your sixties;your style closely mirrored mine when I was working full time.

    However last year I left a job after four months,changed my hair from short, red & straight to medium, grey and curly. And while at times I still wear a full face of make up (being a Mary Kay lady for fifteen years) & dress with a “completer piece” and at least two accessories, now
    I often need new ideas/help with retired, casual and warm weather (going from dressy corporate Chicago to ” 5 minute face ” shorts Florida.

    Most of all, you greatly helped me with acceptance of who I am at sixty three…

    You are a great role model, so keep on doing what you are doing. Those “haters” are going to hate. Ignore them! Be brave & bold. You are beautiful! And I am a big fan!

    1. I would love to join you in retirement, Jean. I have a feeling I will be working for a long time. But, I love blogging even though some of the negative comments are difficult, overall I am happy to be here…and I am so glad you are there.

  21. I love your blog and look forward to it every day. I would like to read your story on how you came out of the dark. I’ve been in there on so many levels both with self image and life’s curveballs. You are a tremendous inspiration to me and have great fashion sense. I never feel judged by your thoughts and ideas, including those of others who comment. I’m turning 66 this month and have always said I want to embrace my age with confidence and gratitude for still being alive. There are so many forces around that work counter to that goal but, thank God, never on your blog.

  22. For many years I was a writer of romance novels for a major publisher. Rejection and criticism are a huge part of a writer’s life,and even knowing that, it was hard. I imagine the same thing happens when blogging. I have always been a plus size woman, so have -no- fond memories of a slim self to fall back on. Yet I have survived that too, generally with a fake-it-to-make it attitude till you find most of the time you can truly take it without a major blow to your ego. The three things/ideas that work best for me are these. First, if you don’t put the authentic “you” out there, you won’t be successful in a creative endeavor, so you really have no choice but to deal with criticism; second, obesity is a medical issue and a poorly understood one at that (nobody chooses to be overweight, many thinpeople eat more than I do, and the animal kingdom has all different shapes and sizes within the same species). Finally, if I pay attention to fashion and enjoy it, I feel more self confident, which helps with everything. This isn’t a very touchy-feely approach, but it is logical and factual, which is just how I approach things, and works for me. And if all else fails, I remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote that nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. Best to you, Pam. You look fab and your blog is a public service. Our culture is just plain hard on women. We need to take back our basic self-respect.

    1. Thanks Linda. I really am fine…i just wanted everyone to know that I understand it when we have those low moments. I am not letting anyone get in my head. But, I love all of you who are reading and supporting me and one another. What an amazing group. Thanks so much.

  23. Pamela let me begin by saying that you have helped me come out of the self imposed darkness that I have been imprisoned in for some time. Reading what you have gone through resonated with me because my story is very similar to your own. I am grateful for you and for the opportunity to learn from you through your experiences and challenges that are so like my own. I’m so sorry that anyone would feel a need to be critical of such frivolous things as eyeshadow or hair. This blog is about much more than that and please know that you are admired and loved. Your style is beautiful as is your eyeshadow and hair! Your look is so pulled together and pretty and I enjoy seeing the different styles and thinking about which ones would work for me etc. BUT…more than anything your words have helped me to become more confidant and happy. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that!!!

    1. You brought tears to my eyes, Elaine. It has always been more than eye shadow and hair to me…thank you for sharing this. It means the world.

  24. I know some people operate from a very dark place in life. It seems that they try to pull others into the darkness to somehow make themselves feel better. I can imagine how difficult it is to read such things. Rest assured that we, your readers, appreciate your honesty, your encouragement and inspiration. You being ‘real’ is what makes your blog such a good place! I read very few, but yours is a keeper! There are so many positives and fun things here, so much encouragement, please keep it up! I’m late checking in today (computer problems at work), but you can see all the support here! It’s wonderful!

  25. Pam, your post reminded me of something my teacher said when I started meditating last fall. She said you have to meditate for yourself before you meditate for others. It is kind of like on an airplane when they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others. Keep loving yourself and remember that those who criticize others are often critical of something within themselves. I think it is so important to remember that everyone deals with ups and downs and the best thing we can do is show loving kindness to all. Keep up the good work. Your are truly awesome!

    1. Thank you so much Nancy…I wrote this post to show I am right there with many women who struggle, and to show that I am back at it and not allowing the naysayers to get to me…I am doing great! You are awesome to take the time to send this message!

  26. Pam, thank you for your honesty. I just turned 55 and really understand where you are coming from. I enjoy your blog. Please continue doing you!!

  27. I love the color of your hair and the style and think it suits you perfectly. Your style of dress is appropriate and beautiful and not at all dowdy . The smile on your face and the twinkle in your eye make you appear much younger than your years. So if I may, I say “nay” to the nay sayers. You rock.

    1. Thanks Barbara…I join you in shouting a big NAY. But, they are probably hurting in some way themselves…so I hope they stick around (though they may not tell us they are there!)

  28. I have enjoyed following your blog, and have learned a lot about fashion and what works and what doesn’t work. You always have such a big smile, and offer so much encouragement, and are positive and upbeat. I don’t notice your size, your hair (well, I guess I do since it is so shiny and thick whereas mine is thin, fine, and flat!) or your purple eyeshadow. I simply see a loving and kind woman who enjoys teaching the rest of us on this journey with you. We are all growing older, all putting on a few pounds, and all getting wrinkles and a few gray hairs. But we are also growing in wisdom and confidence, and learning to not be so judgemental, but rather, encouraging and supportive of each other. I do believe we would all prefer to be known for those traits than perfect hair or bodies. Keep doing the great job you are doing.

  29. Pamela, I found those negative comments you received very surprising. I think you look beautiful right now — I am loving your hair style and color, your glasses and your eye makeup! I have been following your blog for several years because, as other readers have mentioned, you are such a genuine person who is not afraid to “put yourself out there.” I have learned so much from you — please remember that your fans far outnumber those who are negative.

  30. Pamela, I enjoy your blog immensely. As others have mentioned, you, Susan Street and Jennifer are my favorites; I’ve gotten so much encouragement, fashion inspiration and good advice from following the three of you. As a 65-year-old woman, it’s always good to know others are facing (and dealing in a positive manner) with the same issues I struggle with myself. While I wouldn’t come out and say I love my age, I am happy and feel quite blessed in life. Thanks for all you do to uplift others.

  31. You go, Girl! Pamela, I think you are absolutely darling! I feel sorry for the people who criticize you because they base their criteria on false facts. Who says cute shoes have to have 5″ heels, or you have to be anorexic to look good in an outfit?

    Pamela, I love your scarves, jewelry, shoes, outfits, smile, and attitude. I like reading the comments on your posts (well, the positive ones, at least). I hope you continue to put yourself out there for the rest of us “not so daring.”

    1. Connie! Thank you so much…I feel like the Encouragement Squad has swooped in today and fixed all the negativity in the world..at least for this moment. I love my flats…you guys are so much fun!

  32. I appreciate your blog more and more each time I read it. Those who cannot get past the “perfect model” image are not worthy of their criticism! Please continue to tell us about life after 50, and know that there are many of us who will listen and continue to view your website/blog. May God bless you richly every single day!!

  33. I also found your blog by accident several years ago, & one of the things that struck me right away was your positive attitude. Most of us don’t need anymore negativity in our lives because there is plenty of that elsewhere. In a post a few months ago, you mentioned car shopping & the great compliment the salesman gave you. Those are the kind of things that you should treasure & ignore the naysayers. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

  34. Unfortunately some women never get out of high school mode. Just like in high school they feel bad and insecure about themselves and want to strike out against those who live a happy life. Hopefully as life moves on they will find that happiness and not condemn themselves to a life of misery. Most of us love your blog and read it for your attitude. We are all such different people and should really celebrate each other.Keep on doing what you do so well.

    1. Thanks Linda. This has been an amazing day and I am energized to keep on keeping on and do a top notch job for all of you wonderful women!

  35. I remember telling my children when they came home from school in tears because someone hurt their feelings with cruel words that they needed to understand that person needed to make someone else feel bad so they could feel superior. It was the mark of a person who had low self esteem and they should pity them. And ignore them. But it isn’t easy to rise above those insults and even as an adult, it hurts. Take a deep breath, raise your head up and keep going. You have every right to be proud of yourself and know that you are helping others. But It’s OK to be a little pissed too.

    1. LOL…you made me laugh, Nancy. I am good…over it and encouraged and inspired by such an amazing group of readers. It has been a day where I am so excited to go forward for everyone here. Thank you, thank you….

  36. I have been following your blog for a few years now and you always look great. You have a great sense of style and you inspire me to strive to look my best.

  37. As Pres. Lincoln once remarked, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.”

    I admire how much time and effort you devote to your blog posts. Your “passion” to keep posting routinely is commendable.

    I always check out your posts; I never know what valuable tip I will glean!

  38. Pam, there are a lot of people that will criticize – but keep in mind that when they do, it’s more about them than it is about you. I think you look great and I love the fact that you are still willing to step out and try something new. When someone says something “critical” to me, I smile at them and say “I’ll keep that in mind”.

  39. So happy you continue to share! Enjoy your blog so much. What a boring world it would be if we all thought and looked alike. If you are happy, that is just all that matters! You are just lovely and I would give anything to have beautiful hair like you! Look forward continued posts from you! Thanks so much!

  40. Okay — PLEASE do not give in to the “haters” or nay-sayers. They must have their own negative stuff going on that’s weighing them down — and it comes out in backhanded compliments or downright negative comments. I know I’m not the only one who LOVES your story and what you continue to do. (And I absolutely think your hairstyle is adorable, especially with your glasses frames.) Thank you for being a positive force for women of a certain (wonderful) age, Pam!

  41. Pamela,
    You look beautiful! At our age, if you feel comfortable and pretty, isn’t that good enough? This is what 60ish looks like! You are feminine, confident, attractive, well-groomed. I know that is an old fashioned descriptor, but isn’t well-groomed good? Wear whatever darned eye-shadow you like! I enjoy your blog–!

  42. Pam – stay strong and true to yourself. Don’t let anyone have the power to take that away from you. You are great the way you are! ?

  43. Pamela,

    It is such a shame that as women, we can’t support each other, and have to put others down! We are all in this aging thing together, so let’s learn from each other and not be critical. Love reading your posts and your wealth of information.

    1. Thank you Sandra…I hope the post helps us all to think twice about criticizing others…I know I have my moments I need to hold my tongue as well.

  44. Reading these comment re-affirms my belief that you, Jennifer and Susan make such a huge impact on our age group. I adore the three of you and your advice on fashion, make-up and life in general always hits home. Thank you

  45. Your posts about this topic have been a huge help to me this weekend. Lack of confidence has held me back all of my life. I’m going through a very insecure time work-wise, and I really needed this perspective to set me straight. Because no matter who you are, no matter how beautiful or petite or whatever, there will always be jerks who will say the nuttiest things. Those comments that were made to you are just a reflection of the speaker’s lack of class, nothing to do with you. I know that it’s so easy to see the silliness of criticisms when they’re not personally directed, and much harder to laugh at them. Wouldn’t you love to be able to respond with “well, my eye shadow may be too purple, but at least I have the good manners not to comment on your hideous sweater”… or something like that. Keep up the good work, and any more tips on gaining confidence will be read with interest.

    1. Mabelline, you are such a sweet encourager…thank you. I am over this particular episode and my confidence is soaring. I want yours to soar as well. I write alot about this topic, so stand by…it will return. Thank you for your kindness and for being here.

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