“Women of my generation, especially, put everyone else’s needs ahead of our own. That takes a toll eventually, especially when those that you cared for are gone”.
Gail sits taller these days. “I have changed! When I visited Uncommon Threads, I was initially a little nervous, but I was also curious and interested in the program because of my former work with battered women and the mentally ill. I didn’t realize how low my own self-esteem had fallen, and I had forgotten my own life’s accomplishments. I was suffering just like those that I had helped but I didn’t see it. But the stylists opened my eyes and made me feel like a queen! And not just because of the beautiful outfits we were working together to compose, but because they were so interested in my life, what experiences I had and what I had overcome. They encouraged me to make choices that felt like, yes! this is me!”
As we chat, her easy smile and sparkling eyes that give away her unabashed enthusiasm for her new sense of self. Gail lives in Nevin’s Manor Apartments, an independent living facility in Methuen. She still drives and volunteers at the nursing home when she can. Years ago, she provided refuge in her own home for women and their children who were victims of domestic violence. She also knows first-hand what it is like to live without heat and to work hard to provide for her children.
“I feel so much better about myself today. Now I get up and take a little more time with my appearance – even a little makeup, and just, you know, put some effort into looking good, even if I’m just going down the hall for a small gathering with my friends. And I’m making new friends!”
Gail is spreading the word to her friends and neighbors at Nevin’s Manor about her transformative experience at Uncommon Threads. “Some of my fellow residents don’t have a family, they can’t shop for themselves, they don’t have the means to purchase nice things. I’m organizing a group to return and trying to ease any of their concerns… we can be a proud and private bunch.”
As we expand our impact to more women through our Senior Style program, we couldn’t have asked for a better Ambassador then Gail. We look forward to seeing her again with all her old and new friends!