Sowing Seeds of Self (+ shedding layers for growth)

2024 announcements february garden party nourishment perspective seasonal Feb 16, 2024

Growing up in Colorado, my favorite winter activity was playing in the snow. My least favorite activity was preparing to do so.

My long hair would fight the static of my winter coat, its chaos encouraged by gloved hands attempting any semblance of control. All efforts of neatly tucking my pants into thick winter socks became a beast of their own. And once I was all bundled up, my movement was clearly restricted in protective layers, ringing in a little voice in my head that sounded like Randy from A Christmas Story: “I can’t put my arms down!”

Many of those winter layers were handed down to me from my older brother, as were several other pieces of my childhood wardrobe. I hated it. I had starry-eyed fantasies of being a fashion model that were clearly being hindered by the convenience of his jeans and t-shirts that fit me just fine. That frustration never stemmed from my mom’s inability to afford new clothes for three growing children; it was because I wanted to express my own creativity with clothes I felt I would never have. I soon lost myself in that desire, often wondering when I would finally have the opportunity to explore that outlet of self-expression.

Year after year, I begrudgingly put on the same winter coat with different expectations. It was never lost on me that a layer of protection was needed to face the bitter winter cold. Maybe I can somehow pair it with something cute. Maybe a fun scarf and hat would help. Maybe I should just stay home instead of presenting myself in a way that didn’t feel authentically me.

In my 20’s I finally broke out of that mentality, collecting a bohemian inspired wardrobe with every spare penny. I felt free and beautiful, but also pressured by a long-term partner who was not shy about his disapproval regarding certain crop tops and shorts. Once again, I found myself retreating into a daydream: someday I will wear the clothes I always dreamed of wearing. He doesn’t understand now, but he will.

Spoiler alert: he never did.

“I’m an adult and I can wear whatever I want. It’s not my fault if I’m being sexualized.”

“I’m just trying to protect you. I know how men can be. I worry about you.”

“Then worry about the men who look at me like I’m a steak. I just want to wear cute clothes.”

Needless to say, it didn’t get better. I found myself once again yearning for that freedom of self-expression. It finally felt attainable, but he brought every reason he could to make it seem impossible for the sake of “protecting me” from the male gaze. I felt restricted again, this time under the guise of a layer that was less than protective.

Ultimately, shedding the layers of less than desirable clothing also meant shedding the many layers of compromise within that relationship. It took me years to realize that none of them truly served as protection. They were a way to perpetuate a long-term stay in a safe place for fear. After the breakup I did get a lot of attention, even before I finally stepped up into my own skin and began wearing the clothes I always wanted to wear. It came as a shock at first because the only difference was my being single. But I was also finally ready for growth and that meant investing in myself in new ways that had spent too much time shoved in the back of my closet. And in embracing these new ways, I discovered new momentum.

I’m not here to tell you that a new wardrobe is the key to living your best life… though it certainly does help. My message today is that we often find solace in our protective layers, so much so that we miss out on opportunities to move freely into growth. Winter is the perfect time to wrap ourselves up in those layers, but the stillness of the season does not have to equal stagnation. 

“The tree is waiting. It has everything already. Its fallen leaves are mulching the forest floor, and its roots are drawing up the extra winter moisture, providing a firm anchor against seasonal storms. Its ripe cones and nuts are providing essential food in this scarce time for mice and squirrels, and its bark is hosting hibernating insects and providing a source of nourishment for hungry deer. It is far from dead. It is, in fact, the life of the wood. It's just getting on with it quietly. It will not burst into life in the spring. It will just put on a new coat and face the world again.”

― Katherine May, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

With my new winter coat, I don’t get the puffy protection and static hair I did when I was a child. I have the silhouette I dreamed about instead, with plenty of room underneath for the necessary and more comfortable layers that keep me warm. It’s not the vintage style wool coat of my dreams (yet), but it serves me well in a way that works for me.

The season of stillness is still upon us, and with it comes an excellent opportunity to shed the layers of restriction that bind us to stagnation. When I rejected my brother’s t-shirts and ex-boyfriend’s attitude, I had no specific goal in mind. I simply knew that I wanted something better fitting for me, and living my life in a way that sought out that something opened the door for it to become a part of my life. Embracing a mindset of constant growth has beckoned more opportunities than I could have imagined.

Now is the time to nourish our soil in preparation for the seeds we wish to sow for 2024. Personally, I plan to reject compromise that hinders my personal growth along with any man who disapproves of my wardrobe. I am nourishing my soil with my newfound momentum and the openness to receive all of the good things that will come my way, along with the consistent dedication to nourish that which nourishes me. I will no longer listen to the outside voices that nudge me into a safe space for my fear, but rather the loving voices of my circle that encourage the vibrant expression of my metaphorical garden.


How will you be nourishing your soil this season? 


With Nourishing Encouragement,

Caia Claire

P.S. Have you heard the fabulous news? Katie’s performance of Bring My Crown is happening tomorrow 2/17 at The Reser! You can get tickets here. If you can’t catch this weekend’s performance, you can still experience her story as Oregon’s Miss America and the years that followed from her album that will be released on the same day. Subscribe here to be the first to hear it!


P.P.S. Keep your calendars marked for our first official Garden Party for Virtuosa Society members on the first day of Spring. This seasonal perspective has already made a huge difference in our personal and professional lives, and we would love to share our joy and visions it has ushered in. More details coming soon!