Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Passionate Post

I have a pretty varied sense of fashion, and while I enjoy many of the less outlandish things I have found available, I constantly find myself looking for something a little more interesting and different, something more relatable to me personally. Unfortunately, most of the time when I do find these things, they are either ridiculously expensive or unavailable, so I have taken to making my own wearable items.

I have always loved creating. Whether I am drawing silly cartoons, sculpting little figurines, editing old footage, or making up songs in the shower. There is just something about all this that grabs me by the shoulders and won't let go. Even as a very young child, I was probably more interested in drawing than making friends, which consequently made it harder to do just that when I got older.

Behold the art of my youth.

Most people thought that I was just a shy kid and would soon grow out of it, but I realised later that wasn't exactly the case.
E.g. In high school, one of the worst things for me was when a teacher would announce an oral presentation assignment. I would feel a squeezing sensation in my chest and spend the next few weeks having terrified crying sessions in my bedroom. When it came time to get up in front of the class my hands would start shaking uncontrollably, my eyes would tear up and I would feel like I couldn't breathe. I'd stand there like this, trying to make my words audible as I read them through the watery blur obscuring my sight, and then I would retreat back to my desk and ponder deeply about how stupid I must have looked getting all worked up about something so trivial. Eventually the teachers took note of my crippling anxiety and would allow me to do my speeches during lunch time while the other children weren't in the room.

I did try various things to reduce this anxiety and stress, and while I feel like it got better for a time, it was probably more a case of me getting better at disguising it than actually making any progress on the problem itself. During my last years at school and the ones following graduation, I spent most of my time alone in my bedroom. The only person I really hung out with was my brother, the few friends I had were online, and basically the only time I left the house was to go to work. Some people may find that depressing, but being the breed of introvert that I am, I didn't really have a problem with this lifestyle. Until I realised that all this time alone wasn't doing anything for my self esteem and on the rare occasions that I did go out or see people, my anxiety was worse than ever. It didn't matter who I was with, be it strangers or the family I had grown up with, I would be so awkward and self conscious the whole time that I would often just end up declining invitations or wish that I had.

 It wasn't that I didn't want to see these people or spend time with them.
I did want to, I just didn't know how to do it without feeling uncomfortable.
Somewhere around the middle of high school, I decided it would be kind of cool to dye my hair a decidedly unnatural colour. I don't know why, I just liked the idea of it. I had put colours in my hair before, but bleaching and dying the whole thing permanent turquoise was definitely a step up from my previous trials.

Initially I got a few comments from people I wouldn't normally talk to and that was kind of awkward for me, but I found myself really liking this hair colour and actually started to feel a little more confident because of it.
That's not to say that I busted out of my cocoon into a magical confident butterfly or anything. I'm still very much an awkward caterpillar, but I found that a good way to boost my self esteem was to forget about everyone else and wear things that I personally enjoyed. It seems pretty obvious now, but for some reason it took me a while to figure that out. It didn't matter if other people liked it or not, because I liked it.

My alterations had already spread from my hair and onto other things. It started with very simple little customisations like colouring in the white squares on my checkered shoes with rainbow textas and making a little Mario-esque star patch to sew over a hole in this pink beret I found at an op shop. Nothing particularly exciting, but it was fun. Then I got a little deeper into it.

 I started doing full paint jobs on old shoes I didn't wear and adding studs, cutting up baggy dude t-shirts and reconstructing them into fitted tops with pretty detailing, and making a cheap thumb ring that was too big for me finally fit by covering it in clay and turning it into a ring that I actually like and wear all the time.
The clay adventure branched off into sculpting lighter cases and other jewellery and accessories, as well as little figurines and an art doll that I am currently (very slowly) working on. I'm always experimenting with new ways to make or change things and I love every single part of the process.

My actual process for customising things that already exist:

 It's kind of crazy how empowering it feels to me. I see so many awesome product and fashion pictures on the internet and most of them I don't have the skills or resources that would have been required during their creation, but they give me ideas to experiment with in my own stuff. I usually end up with something that is completely different to what I saw, but it gives me the same amount of appreciation. For what it lacks in exceptional design and professional production, it makes up with in 'I MADE IT! IT WAS ALL ME!'.

I never use to wear these things very often, but whether it was for fear of them getting ruined, people thinking they were shitty, or something else entirely I am not sure. Probably some combination of all of those.
 Either way, I have started wearing them now and I am already addicted. It just feels so GOOD to wear something you made with your own hands and brains.
Also, it is like the most flattering thing ever when someone compliments you and asks where you got it.

I have actually started venturing out of my bedroom a lot more during this past year.
I don't want to be that super awkward chick anymore so I am putting myself outside of my comfort zone and actually spending some time around real human beings.
I am fortunate enough to have a boyfriend with very good taste in friends, so I actually look forward to going out sometimes now.
It is still easy for me to get closed in and want to hide in my room, and I am pretty sure I will always be like that, but I am slowly getting better at handling outside contact and it feels awesome.

Anyway, I am sick of going into town and seeing everyone wearing the same 3 shirts, so ignore the dicks and wear whatever makes you feel comfortable.
We are all unique and we should let it be known.
Carpe yolo.

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