This one here is long and deep and…it was just supposed to be about clothes.
I just came back to Trinidad after 4 years of study in Edinburgh, Scotland…it’s hot. Anyway, yesterday I opened the kitchen cupboard looking for a fork (because I was tending to my bottomless appetite) and I discovered some new cutlery. I made a comment about it and my mother informed me that they were not new but had been purchased and packed away for about a year now.
That little account in the paragraph above is a microcosm of my life experience. I have moved quite a bit during during my life and the mentality of my mother was: ‘we do not own this house, therefore we will not invest any substantial effort into decorating and we will not bring out the fine china’
‘We will do this when we get our own house’ became my mother’s mantra.
To an extent, this made sense but I got the feeling that my life was being put on hold. Curtain sets and fancy cutlery were packaged away and we never made connections with our neighbors. There was always sense of transience and non-commitment to our present situation. I adopted and carried this non-committal attitude all other aspects of my life.
What did this mean?
It meant that I did not LIVE. I did not appreciate the immediacy of the present moment. I remained in ‘rehearsal mode’, thinking that I would have to start again, so giving a half-assed effort in everything…relationships, academics, even hobbies. This laissez-faire attitude also affected how I presented myself. I wanted to look good but I didn’t think that making an effort and dressing up was justified. I was always waiting on that party or graduation, that big special date that never came.
Well you know what, I’ve realized that EVERYDAY is special, and my outfits reflect this new found belief. Time and effort should go into my outfits and my overall presentation. Anticipating people’s opinions and disapproval also acted as a hindrance for me to dress up. I would always think ‘what if they say something’. My attitude is changing to ‘of course they’ll say something Asha…you look great!’ 😉
*Preach* Build your confidence and establish your sense of self worth outside of what people think. I am not delusional though…you HAVE to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. Negative opinions, especially if that’s the overwhelming majority of what you’re exposed to can affect your psyche. It always helps to have a dedicated cheerleader in your corner. Thanks Nico :)…and Darlene
On the topic of cheerleading and positivity…We probably all know someone who finds it hard to give compliments. This unwillingness is usually not because of great expectations or insurmountable standards but it is because this person harbors a deep sense of insecurity. I have found that an unwillingness to compliment others is usually a symptom of low self-esteem.
If I’m dressed to the nine (looking good) and your response is to look me up and down without any positive acknowledgement of my appearance…as if acknowledging that I look fabulous is akin to me eating your slice of cake…you have a problem. There is room for all of us to be great, which is why we are all here. God is good and why would you have defied the odds of conception and survived this long to be in constant competition with someone that you can never be? God is not a god of confusion, and trying to be someone that you are not ‘don’t make no dam sense.’
*back to my wardrobe*
On a practical level, I found that buying my clothes at charity chops (second-hand stores) made it easier to wear my ‘fancy clothes’. The fact that they were already worn removed the novelty of them. I felt that they already ‘had their time to shine’…and there was no nagging voice in my head saying: ‘you must wear your clothes properly’ which translated to ‘save your fancy clothes until you are too fat to fit them.’
If you still need an excuse or a push to dress up as you would like if you don’t buy from second hand shops because you have a phobia that people died in the clothes. I know of someone who had that phobia. Then you can always use your camera (or your boyfriend’s camera) as an excuse. Dress as if you’re always gonna have impromptu photoshoots!
What I have found is that as I experiment more with clothes, I am less pressed about dress codes and public opinion. If I want to dress up…I will, If I don’t want to dress up [this is rare]…I won’t. If I want to wear a £7 dress to a £50 Graduation Ball, I will, and I will be fabulous and I defy anyone to say otherwise. 😛
I begin to care less about what people think of me and care more about…people. Also, as I have decided to LIVE, I recognize how important human connections are, how important it is to take life seriously as a time sensitive gift from God to forgive myself for mistakes and dare I say expect to make them…aaaaaaaaaaaaaand swallow my pride.
Take a selfie. Do it for your grandkids so they can see how sexy you were back in the day.
Life is meant to be lived.
Now, lemme go pluck my chin hairs.