In high school, I did everything I could to remain as neutral as possible. I squashed my personality and interests in the hopes that being ‘un-interesting’ meant I wouldn’t be talked about. This had everything to do with my anxiety and sensitivity around the notion that someone might not like me and nothing to do with any real occurrence. Still, teenage me made a call about how to present myself in public and ran with it.
I may have let my guard down once or twice, like the time I went as The Seven Year Itch Marilyn Monroe to our fancy dress semi-formal. Other than that though, hardly anyone knew that I loved old-world Hollywood, Disney and superheroes, was invested in soap operas and sci-fi shows or that I enjoyed singing and was learning guitar – I used to hide my guitar in the music room and eventually gave it up because I was embarrassed carrying an instrument home every day. In fact, Marie was one of the very few who actually knew what made me tick/happy/sad. If others knew these things about me, I saw it as a result of my carelessness and was left feeling extremely vulnerable.
Like many lessons that are learnt when you leave school and realise there’s a whole wide world out there waiting for you, I no longer conceal my interests and favourite things. Quite the opposite really, I wear my heart on my sleeve…
I am now happy to share, or dare I say flaunt, all of the little quirks and interests that make up who I am.
Of course, it’s only small parts of who I am but labels don’t scare me anymore. If being a sci-fi lover makes me a ‘nerd’ or being a Tim Burton fan a ‘gothic’, then so be it. I recently bought this shirt on Etsy, featuring Tim Burton and Johnny Depp and have lived in it ever since.
I take off on these tantalising tangents when I think about something I L.O.V.E and decide I can’t live without a related piece of clothing or memorabilia that proudly displays just how much this ‘something’ has brought me joy or influenced my personality. This has involved integrating pink (favourite colour) and camo print (it’s Stargate inspired) into my wardrobe and accessories. Lately, it has also taken me on online shopping missions to find the perfect vintage Bret Michaels/Poison concert shirt… I won’t rest until it’s in my life and on my person. It may be a silly, material possession, but it is also a symbol of my personal growth and ability to know and be myself.