Let's talk about being uncomfortable for a second, shall we?
Wearing a pair of faux leather flares, studded heels, and a big, fluffy-as-hell, pink coat.
Now... go ahead and place me in the car park of Waitrose - in my local town of Hereford. Populated by only 55,000 people. The county of Herefordshire is literally dubbed the most rural and sparsely populated in England, and for the most part - these people come from farming families.
In this town - cows are all the rage. Beef is a form of currency, and fresh fruit & veg is available from the local farmer's market. It's rare that you would walk down the highstreet without seeing somebody that you know.
"But how do these country folk feel about big, fat, unforgiving leather pants?", I hear you ask.
Well... let's just say that from the bus-full of people staring out the window at me this week - I have a 'sneaking suspicion' that perhaps these people would prefer for me to have legs less shiny.
Know a thing or two about feeling uncomfortable? Ever felt your ears burning as actual strangers made judgements of you? Ever crossed the road to avoid the group of builders on the pavement ahead of you?
Hey, me too.
At the beginning of 2017, there was one defining day for me - I was walking alone to that same supermarket, a brief 5 minute walk from my house. It was a sunny January afternoon, with a bitter chill in the air. I was wearing a white faux fur jacket, jeans and some chunky ankle boots.
A whistle out of a passing car window, a double-take from a group of girls, and some not-so-discreet whispers from some Mums sat at a table. Sounds uncomfortable, right?
It almost seems easier just to blend in. The simple option would be to go out looking dull and unattractive - perhaps, that way I could dodge some unwanted attention. 'Who do you think you are anyway?' Make less effort. Don't stand out.
All of these things simultaneously racing through my mind. For flip sake, I'd only gone to get a lettuce.
But something that day shifted within me. No one had the right to make me feel like that, knowingly or unknowingly - I don't have anything to prove to these people.
And so I made a decision.
2017 was going to be the year that I set my face like flint and placed myself in the uncomfortable. On purpose. I was going to be bolder with my fashion, bolder with my business, bolder with my life. I was going to do things that everyone else is too afraid to do and I sure as hell wasn't going to be intimidated out of it.
Why? Not to make a statement. Not for attention. Not to prove anyone wrong. But because I deserve to live a life that isn't decided by other people's opinions. I have the right to walk into any situation, anywhere, and feel confident.
Of course, I'd be lying if I said it's been easy. It's not as simple as just deciding. It takes grit. Often times it's still totally uncomfortable - but what has changed is my ability to choose to be confident none-the-less.
I've made decisions this year that '2016 Jess' would never have had the balls to make. I've worn the most fun outfits of my life. I've forgotten the rules. I grow veg. My life is one big juxtaposition and I am OBSESSED with it! I'm just doing me. And I think you should do you too.
Also, surprise! You're going to be seeing a lot more of me, too. I've had every excuse in the book as to why I shouldn't be posting pictures of my life on the internet, or writing blogs about my experiences. 'Ugh... it's just so self-indulgent', 'I hate social media anyway', 'Besides, everyone is starting a blog'.
And then it hit me - you're afraid of what people are going to think of you.
WHAMMY. It's still 2017 b*tch. (Sorry mum).
Follow if you want to follow, or don't. But my hope is that, somehow, my journey will inspire your own. I'm just going to be over here wearing clothes that make me happy, running a business the best I know how, and travelling anywhere & everywhere. Here's my official invite to join me on the adventure - & maybe, just maybe, we can learn a thing or two along the way.
**I feel like I need to clarify the following : I love where I live. I really like beef. I think farmers are great.
Photography by Nicole Gallant
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