Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fashionably Late

It's funny how moving to New York changes you. Everyone I know who moved here from another state, says they've completely evolved into who they've always wanted to be. Maybe it's the rush everyone is always in here, subconsciously compelling you to "hurry up", "catch up" and figure it all out. Maybe it's the blend of new age with old school. Hailing taxis and paying with debit card. The Brooklyn museum speckled with contemporary graphic design. However, I personally (and preferably) chose to believe it's the fashion.

When you first arrive here in New York, you will immediately be aware of how out of date your style is. Not your clothes per say, but your style. The way you over think an outfit and try to insist everything matches. Matching my clothes was something I stopped doing years ago. First because I found myself obsessing over things like, now if I could just find a melon-orange tank top to match these sandals. And secondly because no matter how hard you try, nothing ever REALLY matches, unless you buy one of those annoying 2-piece outfits that come on a combination hanger. Gross. So I gave up, and despite being brutally teased by my best friend Theresa about how I must be out of my mind to be from Oakland and not match my shoes to my shirt and purse (I insisted that leopard print flats can go with anything), I was happy with my decision to do so. Things should "go", I preached.

I used to take hours to get dressed. To D's horror, I would always put three outfits on at least. The original outfit which I'd conjured up in my head the night before. The second one, which I put on after feeling like I was "over doing it" and then the final outfit, the "safe" outfit. This was what I ran back to put on after announcing to D that I was ready to go. "I'll only be another minute" I'd say and disappear back into our bedroom. After a while, he barely moved until he'd at least seen three costume changes, "Are you sure, Boogie?"

Somehow there is this terribly close connection associated with our outward appearance and how we feel about ourselves. It battles the idea of beauty being skin deep, because if you don't feel outwardly attractive, how can you really think your beautiful? How can you feel confident about who you are when you don't even know what style defines you (or how you define style)? I moved to a city where EVERY one is original, where a lot of women would rather walk down the street in a $30 sundress they found at Stella Dallas (the most adorable thrift store near Bleecker street), than the $900 Gucci tote that everyone and their mother is sporting. Where people would rather be randomly cordial than formally polite. The most amazing thing happened, I was forced to find myself in a messy crowd of people, just so I didn't feel lost walking down the street. I was forced to look in the mirror and define myself. From my clothing and make-up preferences (purple eye shadow is my absolute shit) to what I want to do with the rest of my life (teach, write and marry; not exactly in that order) to what I think about my family (loving my mother for just who she is and realizing that my sister is the most successful woman I know).

I know plenty of girls my age, who have figured this out long ago, or maybe they just mastered the art of pretending and are actually trapped in the prison their mind created. Either way, I felt behind. It's true, I lagged. I tried different faces on like outfits, even though I'd conjured up the perfect one in my head already. I felt like I was too much, then not enough; bouncing from one idea to the next like Goldilocks sampling porridge. Until finally I realized that there is no sense in fighting it. I'm louder than most people would probably prefer. I'm very sensitive and cry a lot more than people realize (mostly when alone). I accept the fact that I'll always be slightly misunderstood (which I was told is the burden of being a pretty girl). I prefer pink toe-socks with cows on them over a plain white socks any day. When given an inch, I'll surely take a mile, and I don't have a second favorite color because other than purple every other color is equally fabulous in my eyes. This is who I am, finally.


Natasha said...

Good for you to have figured it out! I guess it's all part of growing up, but it's good to reach a place where you are who you are, and are not apologetic about it! Some people never get there though.