Since my trip to New York City, I've had a recurring thought about individuality. I had an epiphany thought during my first hour in the city. That coupled with a few seemingly random conversations with Shauna made me realize, and accept, my own individuality. And it's been an interesting process since I got back home.
I've always been concerned with what other people will think about me. I would not wear a pair of tights because I thought about what other people would think. I didn't cut my hair a certain way. I didn't wear too many colors. I didn't wear those earring with that hairstyle. I didn't buy those shoes. I didn't buy that fashion magazine. There were so many things I didn't do or didn't wear.
I was agonizing about this out loud a couple years ago and my friend says to me, no offense but no one out there really cares THAT much. They're all worried so much about themselves that they don't really care what you do.
Harsh right? Nope. Reality.
I was people watching while on the subway traveling from JFK to Cheslea and I realized that everyone was just themselves. No one was looking around to see if anyone was looking at them. They all had their own stuff going on. Then a young kid, he was probably 13 or so, got on the train. He had his phone, ipod, funky haircut, colorful clothes, backpack, and 80's sneakers. I can't express correctly my 'ah ha!' the moment he settled into his seat. Something like, that's how it's done. I get it now. This young kid had more confidence in his 13 year old soul than I did in my 26 year old soul. I immediately wanted that for my kids. Actually, I wanted it for myself.
The confidence to express my individuality.
There was another moment when Shauna and I were leaving her apartment. The night we went dancing I think.
I asked her, “What do you think? Is it ok to wear tights with open toed shoes?”
“Wear whatever you want.”
Oh. Right. Of course.
I laughed inside. Of course wear whatever you want. We're in New York City.
But when I got home I started wearing the things I want. Of course, it starts small. Those earrings I save for going out? I wear them to work. Those super cute booties I wear under my boot cut jeans? I wore with skinny pants. I wore heels grocery shopping. That red hair color? I bought it. And I wore it. I put on a dress to run errands.
And you know what? I got compliments. Everyone liked it. No one stopped me to say they hated it. Or I was inappropriate. Or criticize my outfit. Because they really don't care.
And I realized that when I was so concerned about what everyone would think I was only blending in. And not in a good way.
So now when I start to wonder what someone else will think I remember…
Wear whatever you want. No stranger really cares that much. Those strangers who do care and have a problem with it? They all have their own set of problems and issues.
Those strangers who care and like it? They are kindred sprits.
And when I think about my trip to New York City, I remember with fondness. Because finally, high fashion is starting to make sense.
A city of individuals.
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