What's with all the flamingos Lisa?
You may (or may not) have noticed that I am a flamingo lover. My house is full of them.
People send flamingo related items to me in the post. I get given flamingo related gifts. I walked into our wedding ceremony to Pretty Flamingo by Manfred Mann and we had flamingo toppers on our wedding cake. They have become a big feature in my life over the past seven years and I’m going to explain why. And, why now, I have decided to incorporate them into my business branding.
In the spring of 2013 I experienced trauma that completely side swiped me. With hindsight the signs were there. I should’ve seen it coming. I wasn’t well. I was overworked, extremely stressed and my 23 year relationship was undeniably broken. I was juggling plates and desperately trying to stop them from crashing to the ground. But they did. I needed to rebuild and rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
Instead of a phoenix though, flamingos became symbolic of that rebirth. It started with my bedroom wallpaper.
I’d always liked flamingos. They are kitsch, synonymous with mid century design that I’ve always loved. My taste had developed a more mainstream flavour and I’d blended into a more magnolia world over the years with my ex husband. I’d dumbed down my personal taste and our home was much more conventional in its décor than I would’ve ever had at one time.
When we separated I decided I would reclaim the bedroom and pink it up. Pink is my favourite colour don’t you know. I fell in love with some pink flamingo wallpaper and just HAD to have it. I spent far more than I could afford on 3 rolls and my sister hung it for me. She recently admitted that she was very nervous about cocking it up. I absolutely LOVED it and it gave me so much pleasure to look at. A friend, who’s good with words, decided that it was symbolic in more ways than one as she said the words ‘Flaming Go!’. I still have the wallpaper and it still gives me a little buzz of excitement every time I look at it.
Once I’d invited the flamingos into my life they proliferated.
My online dating profile name was Flamingo Jo. I wanted something that rhymed and the only thing I could think of that rhymes with Lisa is pizza. So when Paul (aka ‘Lucille’s Dad’) first got in touch with me you can’t blame him for assuming my name was Joanne or Josephine. He took my explanation quite well and wasn’t put off. (Nor was he put off by me stating my profession as ‘Unicorn Groomer’ though – so read into that what you will!) He always says his initial reason for connecting with me was for no other reason than that I was local. We got married last year, 5 years to the day of that first message by the way.
A year or two after I’d spent an arm and a leg on the wallpaper, flamingos seemed to be on everything! They had a massive rise in popularity and it seemed that you couldn’t turn around in shops without there being something with a large pink bird with backward bending knees on it. Did I mention my backward bending knees yet? I have hyper mobile joints and my knee joints over extend. From the side they look a bit like a flamingos knees. It means I can’t stand for very long these days without them hurting.
So, as the years have gone on my flock of flamingos has grown; a group of flamingos is actually called a flamboyance did you know? I see this as fitting. As my identity had been lost somewhere along the way I’d become less and less flamboyant and become more mainstream in my clothes and how I decorated my home. I’d become more mediocre. I’d felt drab and boring. Fat, fed up and frumpy at one particularly low time.
Once I’d reclaimed my identity, dyed my hair magenta, added pink and glitter and leopard print more obviously into my life I felt like I was finding myself again. I was once again unique, standing out from the crowd. I was no longer anonymous. I felt like a flamingo amongst the flock of pigeons.
I’ve recently rebranded and had a new logo done. It was tempting to go full on famingo but I decided to keep things simple. My new logo is actually my handwriting. It’s how I write my name. It took me a year since ditching the ruby slippers brand to actually commission a designer to create a new logo. On reflection, and if we are analysing stuff, moving over to my actual name for my business was another step towards me owning who I am, reclaiming my identity and saying ‘this is me’ – not hiding behind a brand name
This is not just my story. It belongs to so many women who I now help walk the same path. It doesn’t mean that you have to dye your hair pink or cover yourself in leopard print …I can help you be who you are meant to be and help you show up in the world in all YOUR glory. You too can be your own version of the flamingo amongst the flock of pigeons.
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