Funky frocks and flying pterodactyls

Who am I?

Oh no, none of your trivial nonsense going on in the Word Up nerve centre this week. These last few days have witnessed nothing less than one of the great philosophical questions of life passing through this particular cerebral cortex.

Anyone who reads the weekly meanderings of this middle-aged media madame and sole trader will know that setting up as a solo flyer has raised more questions than answers over the last few months. But even tho’ some of those questions have been thorny and challenging, most have been practical rather than philosophical.

Let’s face it, there’s been precious little time or energy to consider the meaning of life, let alone mull over the vast and imponderable of “who am I?”. But there was no stopping the chain reaction when that particular thought sprang, unbidden, into my mind earlier this week. And all because of a tartan dress.

Tuesday night found me donning my glad rags and some warpaint to head to the annual Scottish Women in Business seasonal shindig. It was at this estimable soiree that the tartan dress in question made its debut (both dress and wearer had a very enjoyable evening to boot, thanks for asking).

But why-oh-why did said tartan dress create such a passage of profound thinking? How could a funky frock alone cause me to ponder the very meaning of my own existence here on our wee ball of rock suspended in the great inky stratosphere?

On its own a tartan dress is no great shakes, not if the current content of clothes rails in high street fashion retailers is anything to go by. In fact, some might say that me and my wee tartan number were bang on trend.

But me in a tartan dress is a whole different proposition. As is me in any dress for that matter. Because until quite recently the sight of this wee wordsmith wumman in a DRESS was about as rare as the sighting of a pterodactyl in flight over Finnieston. I just don’t do dresses. Or skirts. Or anything very girly at all.

Until recently anyway. You see, there’s been a bit of a change in my own feminine flouncing department. Because, not content with the considerable challenges presented by leaving a long-term career and setting up as a sole trader, this daft old bat decided to shift some middle-aged spread at the same time (and dear knows, there was plenty of spread to shift).

Three and a half stone and one small business later, and it turns out that I’m not who I thought I was. Or actually, I am who I thought I was, just different.

This time last year I would have never thought of myself as a dress-wearing, professional businesswoman. I did think of myself as a professional working woman, who also was pretty comfortable with the numerous other roles listed on her personal CV – wife, mother, sister, daughter, auntie, friend, colleague, mentor blah blah.

I would’ve also described myself as a fit, fun and food-loving, gig-going, vodka-tonic drinking, socially conscious, politically aware, non-conformist cheeky monkey. One with a punk rock ethic that’s still alive and kicking after all these years.

(Of course, there’s also plenty of less positive self-descriptions to add the CV but let’s be charitable, it’s Christmas).

And yes, of course, I still see myself as all of the above. I’m still choosing clothes that might reflect just a wee bit of the essential inner punk spirit. I’m still being a cheeky monkey and kicking up a bit of a stink when faced by red tape and rules. I’m still full of heart, soul, love, hope and determination to make a difference.

It’s just that now, there’s more to who I am.

There’s dresses, for a start. And a new-look body. There’s a whole new career, a new circle of friends and colleagues, a new language and set of skills being learned, and a new and previously unimaginable level of responsibility.

Who’d have thunk it? All that profound philosophical thinking springing forth from a simple tartan dress. It was a tartan trigger on this occasion, but for all I know it might be a pterodactyl in full flight next time.

Yes, it was quite a surprise to realise that who I am, and how I present myself to the world, has changed. It’s not better, or worse, it’s just different.

And I like it.