Reader Question: Pam, Why did you let yourself go to a point of needing a reinvention after 50?


Reinvention Over 50

I recently received an email from a reader concerning my reinvention over age 50.

Dear Pam,

I have enjoyed reading your story in 8 Steps to Reinvented Style.  You talk about letting yourself go in your 40s, but I am wondering how that happened?  How did you get to a point where you didn’t care about yourself?

Despite the fact that I tell my story in the document, I believe she is right to ask the question.  I do not know if I answered it deep enough.  I was heavily criticized by family beginning at a young age…that would be my own mother.  But it wasn’t until after I began to gain weight through child bearing years that the criticisms and their voice became louder.

Over 50 Feeling 40

A healthy person would have responded with a physical workout routine and healthy eating plan.  But, I had responded to difficult parents for years with a dose of rebelliousness.  Oh, I wasn’t robbing stores or using addictive substances, but I was rebellious. I was so rebellious that when I noticed my father it bugged my father when he could not make me cry that I stopped crying for a long time!  When family began to criticize how I looked in my late 30s and early 40s, I was rebellious when I just gave up.  Though I was hurt, I was also angry that they didn’t seem to care about accepting me as I was, so I would shoe them and  just not care either.

Over 50 Feeling 40

I think it is important to acknowledge the rebellious, prideful spirit we can all have at times.  When I reached age 50, and saw myself for the first time, and for the first time understood how quickly time was marching on, then I was ready for a change.  Finally, ready to look and feel my best.  At that time, I no longer had to deal with the really toxic people daily.  I was more confident in my job and enjoying what I did.  I also had surrounded myself with very affirming friends.  I was smiling more, laughing more and ready to put the anger behind me.

That was my state of mind when I discovered What Not To Wear with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly.  Many women hated that show and saw both of the stylists as mean and hateful with their criticisms of what some women wear.  But, when I sat down to watch, I was ready for change and (this is important), I was teachable. Being teachable is critical to go through reinvention or change of any type.  I looked at those programs and was horrified to see me reflected in many of the women.  I heeded Stacy and Clinton’s advice and began to make changes in my style.  They so resonated with me when they said, OUR CLOTHING SENDS A MESSAGE TO THE WORLD ABOUT WHO WE ARE.  I am a communicator…I got that big time.  I did not take offense to anything they said and understood that the intention of the show was to help and not demean.

Controlling the messages of what I wore turned me around.  My late 30s and 40s were stalemated with rebellious, nobody-is-going-to-tell-me-what-to-do, attitudes.  That is how I got to the Big 5-0 birthday looking and feeling so frumpy.  Yes, I had been hurting inside for a long time, but responded in a wrong way to the hurt.

Over 50 Feeling 40

Once the stalemate of pride was broken, I was ready to be teachable, learn and become who I was meant to be….a joyful, creative, confident woman.

I hope this makes sense and will help someone out there.  If we go anywhere with a teachable spirit, there is no telling what can happen….yes, even over 50!



      1. I think it is important not to judge others. We do not walk in their shoes. People make changes when they are ready, and life circumstances make it possible. Sometimes weight gain is really a medical issue.

        Hoping for compassion and empathy in a world that is desperately in need of both. Maybe it starts here.

        1. It was important for me to accept myself right where I was and love the whole body I had at that time. We are all beautiful no matter our size, age, etc. A part of being teachable and open to change, was accepting me as I was. Then change could happen. Sometimes change just means acceptance and self care.

  1. I too loved Stacy and Clinton! I too have those voices in my head from my parents, the ones that say, “you are ugly, you won’t amount to anything”. They were mean, always making fun of me and humiliating me at a young age. So I know how hard it is to overcome those voices. Congrats on letting all that go and making yourself a better person who is healthier and happier. I am STILL fighting the ugly voice in my head all these years later.

    1. Hi Linda, every now and then the voices return. It is only through daily prayer I can Squelch them. The minute you hear them, say out loud STOP! And choose to remember how special you are!

  2. I loved, and still miss, What Not To Wear. They could be a little callous at times, but ultimately they wanted to help people be their best. I think our statement about being “ready” is so critical. We won’t make a change until we set our own minds to do so. Thank you for sharing your story. It isn’t easy to be vulnerable, but when we do we often realize that so many others have walked a similar path.

  3. You have so much more to say to your “audience” than just good advice about making the most of our outsides. I look forward to continuing to grow together.

  4. Such a great read this morning. I was up to my eyebrows in life in my 30’s and 40’s, with my kids being 11 years a part. I loved Stacy and Clinton as well. Now that I’m an empty nester and Down 80 lbs I’m ready to find the new me in my later 50’s. Thanks for th inspiration.

  5. Hi Pam! You give good advice and have a wonderful fashion sense! Did you ever imagine you’d be a role model? Well, you are! ?

  6. Thank you for being so open and honest with your story. Being in a teachable state of mind in order to reinvent is something that I will take away from this and share with others…it is such a true statement. P.S. I loved Stacy and Clinton and faithfully watched their show.

  7. Miss Pam, you are just the best! You communicate with your readers so well and are so encouraging. I like that you point out that you were teachable at that point in your life. Sometimes we stand in our own way. Your pictures are just gorgeous. Love that smile.

    1. Good way to say it, Donna! I stood in my own way for a long time…was just too stubborn to see for awhile!

  8. You look extra beautiful in above outfit. I enjoy your blog very much and wish we had fashion bloggers in South Africa to give links to local stores. Maybe I must start now at 61 to fashion blog???

  9. Yes you are so gorgeous both outside and inside. By inside I mean your caring for all of us who are wonderfully inspired by your words, your ideas and your beautiful spirit! I for one look forward to your blogs!

    1. Awww..thanks Paulette. I do hope there is someone this message will help leave stubbornness behind and discover how much fun teachability can be!!

  10. Thank you for your story. I completely identify with what you went through. You set an amazing example of how to take those feelings and go forward. I also liked What Not to Wear and wish it were still on.

  11. Thank you for sharing your story. We all carry baggage from our past, & until we are ready to face it, we can’t unload that baggage. As you pointed out, it is an ongoing process. May we all continue to move forward, even if it is only one baby step at a time.

  12. Each time I read your story I’m inspired with how you moved forward and away from the negativity. I wish I couldn’t relate to the family situation, but unfortunately I can. I struggle mightily now with being a caregiver to my mother, and find I have to keep on forgiving. It’s an important reminder that words should never be used as weapons and to remember that we can’t “unsay” something. You are definitely an inspiration!

    1. The time I spent with my mother before she passed was very difficult. It took a lot of self talk and prayer to keep from going backwards so I know what you are dealing with. Don’t let anyone steal your joy, Karen.

  13. I am very sorry to hear that your parents were so critical. They must have been very unhappy people. Did you get support from your husband? The 40s and 50s can be so busy for women who are balancing a demanding career and teenage children. There isn’t much time to think let alone spend time on ones self. Thank you for your inspiring and honest blog.

  14. I loved What Not To Wear! Most of us get so busy that we fall into easy routines that might not always work for us, especially in the fashion, beauty and health departments. Taking a step back and examining how we look and how we feel can be a great starting point for making positive changes in our lives. Thank you for sharing how you did this, Pamela.

  15. Hi Pam, I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog to which I subscribe. How do I get a copy of 8 Steps to Reinvented Style that you refer to in this post? Thank you.

  16. I came across that in our 20s, we were aware everyone was watching/listening;, in our 40s, we learned to be comfortable with everyone watching/listening; and then – miraculously! – lo and behold, in our 60s, we get it: Nobody is watching/listening!
    Aging, to quote David Bowie, is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.
    Congratulations, Pam, and to all of us enjoying the gift of aging!

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