Life Lessons,  Moody Blues

How Diane von Furstenberg Made Me Feel Better

How Diane von Furstenberg Made Me Feel Better

The storms of yesterday have passed. Everything is whipped up a bit and it will take some time for all the venomous words I spewed to be forgotten, but the worst is over. Those things had to be said. It’s just too bad that I let them build up so long and then they came out the way they did. If only I could install some sort of filter on my mouth to meter out my emotions in small understandable chunks instead of a steady stream of anger vomit.

I’ve had a lot of time to think yesterday and today. I spent the greater half of yesterday holed up in the public library attempting to work but actually just obsessing over what was bothering me. While I was working, I spied out of the corner of my eye an old book by Diane Von Furstenberg. It was called “Diane Von Furstenberg’s Book of Beauty: How to Become a More Attractive, Confident, and Sensual Woman”. Who can resist a title like that?

The cover was bad. All 70’s eye make up and Nagel-esque eyebrows. It looked like one of those books on how to pluck your eyebrows in a perfect neurotic arc. But still it intrigued me. Maybe because I used to own a Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress and I sold it on ebay without realizing what it was. Ever since, I’ve been curious about who she was and why so many people wanted to buy my dress.

So I picked up the book and thumbed through it. Sure she was beautiful and a princess and all that but in spite of all the surface level beauty advice (like how to clip your toe nails in a straight line instead of a curve) it was pretty sound. She really hit home the idea that if you want to be that confident woman that everyone admires, you have to be independent, you have to be healthy and you have accept yourself. Something I’m never very good at.

She was only thirty years old when she wrote that book. I wonder if she would laugh at herself now looking back at it. There was one picture of her lounging on her floral bedspread covered bed with a breakfast tea tray and a newspaper. She is dressed in a light colored leotard and dark tights. Her leg is posed in some kind of wierd stretch that shows off how limber she is. Who has breakfast in a leotard and tights? I guess that’s what stylish women in the 70’s did.

Even though I’m older than she was when she wrote that book, her words still seem wise and beyond anything I could write on the subject. I don’t know much about her personal history and I’m sure there are all kinds of dark tales but she really was a lot more mature than I am now. I struggle every day with my insecurities.

What I took away from the book was that maybe I need to take better care of myself. She said something that really hit a sore spot with me. She said that taking care of your body, getting enough exercise, sleep, water and the right food can help you stay emotionally stable.

Emotionally stable?!! Ding! Ding! Ding! Not having the perfect body or living longer or having better skin (though those things come along too)… No, emotionally stable. Something that I am not. Something that I wish came in a bottle and I could buy off the shelf. So I thought back to what I have been eating lately and I couldn’t remember the last vegetable I ate. So is that the secret? Will broccoli make me happy and confident? Should I cook up some spinach? Take a multi-vitamin?

The answer is, it will help. It won’t solve everything of course. I know I need to deal with my problems and solve them in the slow painful process that they require BUT maybe a little health will help the bad days go by smoother.

I’ve just always taken for granted the fact that I can do whatever I please with my body and no harm will come from it. In fact my experience has been that the less I fuss, the better off I am. All the times I have ever tried any kind of diet, I’ve ended up losing weight and then gaining it back plus more. Diets suck. They just don’t work. I’ve watched my mom yo-yo diet most of her life and it’s only hurt her.

Diane von Fursternberg pretty much laid down the law that nobody (not even Heidi Klum, although of course she didn’t exist back then) can get away with not exercising and eating badly forever. Simple housework, every day walking and eating whatever you want won’t do it. Eventually it’s going to catch up with you. You really have to put an effort into some kind of aerobic exercise for at least an hour a day to keep your body running smoothly. So doing dishes and gardening doesn’t count? Shucks.

It’s not like I left the library and hit the local market for a cart full of leafy greens or a tennis match but it did make me more conscious of how much water I drink (hardly to none) how much coffee I drink (a ton) and how I really need to step it up a notch when it comes to being active. I left with the thought that now is the best time to make difference, and every little thing counts. Even broccoli. Even how fast I walk to my car and maybe the little stretches I can do while I sit in front of my computer all day.

I’m just thankful that I can see paths to make my life better. I know sometimes the bad days can dip down even further and I’m lucky to be bouncing back so soon. So thank you, Diane von Fursternberg from the 70’s. Help is where you find it.

Coincidentally I’m also reading a book about Calvin Klein, so maybe it’s just a retro thing with me lately.