Another installment in the series of posts of the WCWW scholarship contest winners and runners-up! Today’s post is written by Ellie Di Julio, one of the five scholarship winners. Enjoy!
Wholestyle is a novel, bordering-on-radical approach to sophistication. It began as a yearning to find a name for the idea that being stylish requires not just trendy clothes, but exploring the world around you, steeping yourself in culture, embracing new ideas, stretching your boundaries, looking inward, reaching out. It was an itch on the edge of my mind, on the tip of my tongue, waiting to be said, but the right words hadn’t been invented yet. I instinctively knew that being stylish is more than what you’ve got on the outside; it’s everything you’ve got inside, too. You’ve got to investigate everything from fashion to politics, art to science, academia to fandom, literature to history, creation to destruction, outrage to glee. Then one day, like a comet crashing to Earth, the word was there. It was so obvious! Sophistication of this caliber means you need a whole-world approach. Whole-style. It’s a philosophy, a movement, a way of life.
Its application could revolutionize women’s worldviews. Armed with a depth of knowledge and a broad spectrum of ideas in hand, they will better understand themselves, each other, and the world they live in. It’s vitally important that they do. I can feel my heart rise, my spirit stir, my eyes brighten when I think of how desperately modern women need this kind of emphasis on experience and education. Yet I’m stuck in a mysterious quagmire of angry frustration as I try to get the word out.
When I was in elementary school, you couldn’t stop me from writing. My mom brought home blank books that I filled with nonsense stories and abstract pictures because I absolutely had to pour out all the wonderful things that filled me up before they threatened the safety of my brains. I had so much to say to the world, and it flowed perfectly from imagination to crayon to page.
When I was in high school, English was my bitch. I could crank out witty, detailed, engaging, reasoned essays faster than most people could read the prompt. I sailed through every course that needed me to tackle any kind of creative composition. Only very occasionally did I get stuck – usually when required to write on something I didn’t like or agree with. And the private poetry I madly scribbled at home was not to be trifled with.
When I was in my junior year of university, I hit a wall. Subjects I could normally talk about for hours in conversation were daunting as I stared at the blinking cursor. I’d always break through it eventually and feel that delicious warm rush of free-flowing prose. This resulted in some of my best work, but the nagging feeling that I’d slipped somehow coloured the victory.
When I started blogging last year, I was full of ideas. I’d struck upon a novel worldview for women and honestly believed that it needed to be shared with the world. I could make a difference! But I soon found that I’d regularly burst into frustrated tears when I sat down to write. Not just a few tears down my cheek; we’re talking huge, gulping sobs punctuated with near-screams. I wanted so badly to share my thoughts, but I couldn’t get it out. Literary constipation fits here.
It’s not a lack of inspiration – I’ve got an amazing idea.
It’s not a lack of drive – I can’t wait to share it with the world.
It’s not a lack of talent – I know I’m a good writer.
I know what it’s not, but I don’t know what it is. And I have to name it so I can conquer it. The fear that I’ve lost something ineffable between my high school days and the lecture hall, the fear that it’s unrecoverable, keeps me awake at night and threatens to bring on tears of shame.
I want to rhapsodize!
I want to sing praises!
I want to unstick!
Wholestyle can change the world. It’s the first time in my entire life that I’ve really, truly, deeply believed in the positivity of something I’m undertaking. Never before have I been so concretely certain that anything I’m doing is right, that it will succeed. The entire project feels like I’m reaching out my metaphysical arms to embrace women everywhere, to guide them on this journey to understanding, to hold them close and whisper the secrets of real style.
If only I could put it into words.
Ellie Di Julio is a blog reader extraordinaire, freak kid, pompom shaker, and founder of The Wholestyle Network. Her life has taken her all over the Western world, filling her up with grand ideas about society, culture, and people. She’s got a BA in Psychology, an English-teacher-mom/librarian-dad-inspired love of books and writing, and big, devious plans for how to change the way women look at themselves and the world.