Ever wanted to be a part of the “next big thing?” Maybe you just wanted to have something before everyone else did. How many clothing styles have come into and out of style in your lifetime? Or even better, in the last five years?
Too many to count.
When school started every year, my parents would allow a certain amount of money to be spent on new school clothes and there was no going above that dollar amount. I needed to shop cheap. Period. When I was in elementary school, I remember having just about every color of Sears© Tough Skins Jeans ever made. They were durable because I couldn’t ruin the knees in them. I outgrew them before that could happen. As I aged, I recall going to the local department store and trying on clothes. For hours. Maybe this is where my shopping phobia/nightmare began. Always conscious of the ever dollar, trying to make a few bucks last for an entire year is not easy. So having interchangeable things that could go with multiple things was essential. In particular, I remember this one pink shirt that I wore all the time in junior high. It had a Hawaiian theme, with a surfboard on it and even though it was not made by Ocean Pacific (OP), it looked like it could be. And that made all the difference. Or at least, in my head it did.
I am not sure you could say I was a “preppy” kid because I didn’t have all the argyle sweaters, Ralph Lauren button up shirts, Izod polos, or penny-loafers. I joke when I tell people I couldn’t afford to put the penny in the penny-loafers. But if I had to pick a group of kids that I was most similar to, it would be the them. I wasn’t a metal-head or a goth. I dressed like most of the other kids in my high school. I never wanted to bring unwanted attention to myself for what I wore. The kids that were very comfortable with who they were made their own trends and they didn’t care if anyone else followed them or not. This is typical of most schools today. In fact, it seems almost strange to wear socks that don’t match.
Back then, I think I was too afraid to do anything that drastic so I tried to play somewhere in the middle. But I knew enough to not want to be here one week and gone the next. This is what trends are…short-lived, drifts towards something current. Nowadays, we see them everywhere…on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. In case we have no idea what is “trending” right at this moment, you can jump in right now, and it will be different tomorrow.
Maybe that is why I have never been able to keep up with that “game.” It happens much too quick and just when I think I am catching on, the rules change, and I am apart of yesterday’s headlines. Have any of you ever felt that way? That you are lucky to just get a little bite of something and then before you swallow, it almost tastes a little different?
It is easy to get caught up in doing what everyone else is doing. It makes us feel included and that we belong to something. There is a “group hug” kind of feeling that allows us to feel connected. It can something so easy as wearing a shirt for your favorite baseball team, or posting a picture of a new scarf. (#Royals is trending on Twitter after their sweep last night, if you were wondering.) But most trends change in 24 hours. No one wants to just be around for that amount of time.
Trends come and go and fashions go out of style every day. Fads will catch on or they won’t. But who you are will remain the same regardless of the shoes you wear or the necklaces that have their own outfit. You can try to learn what “jeggings” are but by the time you do, they won’t be selling them anymore.
But this post is not about clothes. It is not about the latest trends. Because honestly, they have changed about five times since I started this post.
This post is about being consistent. It’s about being classic. And familiar. It’s about knowing who you have always been and who you will always be, despite what changes around you. It’s about being real.
How many people do you know that are posers? You know, the ones that pretend to be something other than who they truly are? People dress the part hoping no one ever sees their true colors. But that takes a lot of work. And it gets old and makes you tired. Trying to keep up the appearances, fooling as many people as they can, praying no one catches them. We have all met them in our lives in one way shape or form. But isn’t it almost refreshing to meet someone who is who they say they are? That the phrase, “What you see is what you get” is actually true? When you feel like you don’t have to bluff your way through life?
Every single one of us wants to feel included, but we are afraid of being rejected…of letting people see us for who we really are…so we create walls. We hide. We run. We do it every day and don’t even realize we do it. I get it. I really do. We are afraid of being found out. Of admitting that we hurt, that we suffer from self-doubt or wonder about our worthiness. Every so often, the walls cave in because we cannot hold it up any longer. Bit by bit, we let someone in. Not a lot. Just a tiny bit. We take a chance at letting them see your creative side or laugh with our humor. We share a little bit of ourselves with others in order so that they would know us better, yet doing so also terrifies us too. It is like having one foot out the door — ready to run, just in case. I know that “salsa” very well, too.
But what we miss is key. We assume that someone else will not like us for who we are. Judgement and lack of understanding seem to prevail and we never give others a chance to make their own decisions. We make them for them. But if you like you, there is a very good chance that someone else will like you for you too. Not everyone will, but not everyone is going to. We have to accept that. Our hangup is that we want to know ahead of time who we can be real with and who will back stab us before we spill too much. Guess what. I do not hold the crystal ball for that one. And that is why we have to put our feelers out and find out for ourselves. We know who we are.
Some of us may be ashamed of who we are, so that is why we keep everything close. But just because that may be who have been, it doesn’t mean that is who you have to be. If you want to be someone different, be someone different. If you have broken promises in the past, start keeping the ones you make now. If you have forgotten important dates, write everything on a calendar. If cooking isn’t your thing, take a cooking class or get a recipe book.
So the biggest question you will ever ask yourself is, “Who am I?”
What five words would you use to describe yourself? Would the people who know you best use those same words? It would be surprising to conduct a test between people who know you well and others that don’t to see if you come off the same way, regardless of how long you have known someone. If this is true, then there should be no discrepancy between how people see you. Because you are who you are. As hard as you try, you can’t hide. Never be swayed by public opinion to change who you are to fit the world’s mold. That is what a trend is. You, however, are meant to stick around, just as you are. You are as classic as a string of pearls and as iconic as the little black dress. And those, like you, never go out of style.
Michelle A. Homme 2014 ©