musings on individuality and self-worth

Louche cardigan / thrifted Witchery top / American Apparel skirt / thrifted Pinét shoes

Here's an amusing, stupid, but very much character-revealing story from my youngsterhood (that does relate to today's outfit!). When I was in the seventh grade, I made such a big deal about categorizing and compartmentalizing all the little aspects of my life, and most notably, compiling my list of 'favorites.' Favorite book, favorite food, favorite number (?).... all these trivialities; if you were to ask me what my favorite ______ was, there'd be no hemming and hawing, I had my answer almost immediately. For better or worse, at that point in my life, my idea of a 'person' was what they liked, we were essentially the sum of our favorite things.

So 12-year-old me is strutting around with the entire meaning of existence bouncing around in my brain, and a thought came up: armed with this knowledge, how can I make myself as unique as possible? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, being different was my other life philosophy -- because you're not truly alive unless you stand out from the crowd. Are you rolling your eyes as much as I am right now? Haha... Anyway, I decided that I was going to use my favorite things as my way to be different; I 'changed' my favorite color to gray. You know, because no one else would ever choose gray, I must be such a special snowflake! (Oh god, I'm cringing as I type this...)

It was completely idiotic and I didn't even like gray, but it was the 'sacrifice' I made to affirm my difference. It took years before I was finally able to accept the utter ridiculousness of my adolescent life philosophy, and frankly, there are more important things to worry about than whether or not I'm 'different' enough. Nowadays I can enjoy the charms of the color gray without having to attach to it silly notions of individualism and self-worth.

My wearing of monochrome today is also an instance of a rebellion against a rebellion. Originally, I started wearing bright and clashing colors (and lots of them) as another attempt at nonconformity...but then, as we all know, color-blocking happened, and inevitably I was forced to re-evaluate my self-worth. This is what I learned: there is no bigger blow to your ego and your sense of individuality than trying so desperately to be unique only to realize that you're no different from anyone else.

So...I stopped trying so hard. This means that I can go a month without wearing heels if I don't want to; that I can wear jeans every day for a week and not feel like my very identity is being threatened; and most important of all, that I don't have to force myself to dress up just to take outfit photos. It's also given me more time to focus on things that are vastly more meaningful, namely, my continuous overload of assignments! And with that, I'm back to work on my 3,500-word monster on the Bush Doctrine... :)