This is a story about a hat. Not just any hat. A special hat that holds a secret message.
The week before Christmas, Michael and I were shopping at a local TJ Maxx store. While in the women's department, I came across a beautifully-made black and white tweed hat that had a modest brim with a pleated band around the top and a big plaid bow. I've always been drawn to hats, especially classic designs and this one was unusually smart. I immediately tried the hat on and it fit like a glove :). I fell in love with it until I looked at the price. It cost way more than I expected, especially at a discount store. Disappointed, I put the hat back and we finished our shopping.
As the holidays rolled around, I noticed that every now and then I would think about that hat. I'd remember the classic design, the feel of the beautiful fabric, and the way it felt on my head. I
thought it strange that a hat would occupy such space in my head since I'm not a big fan of shopping for clothes or accessories.
This past Saturday I woke up thinking about the hat again. Since I had the morning to myself, I decided to go back to TJ Maxx to see if I could find it on sale. I figured that if it had stayed with me
this long, I at least owed it to myself to have another look. So, off I went. When I arrived at the store, I browsed around a bit and then went to the section where I first found it. But, it was gone. I searched through other areas in the store, but couldn't find it anywhere.
Being a persistent gal when I get an idea in my mind, I decided to visit the dressing room to inquire further. The woman working there said she thought they had moved the dress hats to a new part of the store. "Great!" I thought. "Maybe it's there!" I raced to her suggested section, but my hat was nowhere to be found.
In a last ditch effort to appease my inner longing, I asked another employee if she had seen any dress hats. She looked at me with big brown eyes, smiled and said, "Big or small hat?" Realizing that she didn't speak English, I attempted to describe the hat as best I could. She waved for me to follow her to a storage room in the rear of the building. As I eagerly waited outside hoping for good news, I heard her repeat over and over again, "Big hat, big hat, big hat," to someone in the back. Suddenly, the door burst open and there stood this sweet woman with a carriage full of dress hats. Perched prominently on top of the pile? My black and white hat!
I took the hat from the carriage as if it were made of glass, thanked the woman, and headed for the front of the store. Looking at the price tag, I was happy to discover that the hat was now 30% off. I was thrilled! I paid for it and headed to my car.
I placed the hat on the front seat of the car next to me and stared at it for a very long time. While the hat was beautiful, it wasn't spectacular, and I wondered what in the world was so darn compelling about it. That's when it hit me -- this hat was trying to tell me something. So I asked it. Yes, as strange as it sounds, I looked over at the hat and said out loud, "Hey hat, what are you trying to tell me?"
As I waited for an answer, tears filled my eyes. A memory flashed into my mind of when I was eighteen years old, dressed in a purple dress with a matching hat and coat. It was a time in my life when I loved clothes, shopping and putting outfits together with the right accessories. As I revisited that time in my life, I realized something important -- this wasn't about wearing this hat; it was
about reawakening a part of myself I had put to sleep long ago. It was about resurrecting my love of fashion, design, fabric, color and art in the form of clothes. It was about honoring the part of me who loves to watch Project Runway over and over again, who cuts out images of classic outfits from magazines when making a treasure map, and who loves to imagine creating beautiful clothes.
Now, am I going to stop writing books and become a fashion designer? Unlikely. But I am going to do this: I'm going to give that part of me permission to rise up and be heard, to be seen, and
to be taken seriously in 2008. All of this because of a hat.
So how about it? What part of you are you ready to reawaken in 2008? Take our challenge below and find out...
Take Action Challenge
This week, keep your eyes open for an image, symbol, or object that reflects an inner part of you that longs to be expressed. Notice when something catches your eye in a window, when an image online or on TV makes you do a double take, or when a picture in a magazine pulls at your heart. Bring this image into your life and keep it in view. If the image or object could speak, what would it tell you?