Sep 10, 2012

Defining moments: How a shop-a-holic was born

In the struggle of finding interesting topics to blog about while waiting to "hatch" (5 weeks to go), I was thinking back at my life, trying to find those defining moments....you know, those moments that make you YOU? These can be easy to spot, but also sometimes hard to admit or share, as in some cases, like the ones I'm about to tell you about, they can be somewhat embarrassing or emotionally charged in some way. At least they were when I was 10-19....now I simply don't give a crap anymore ;))
I find myself being judged a lot....ironically enough, a lot about how much I shop or care about my appearance. Hence, I thought I'd share the stories of how this "vain-shop-o-holic" (eeeehhhh ME) came to life. Sure, it's a choice to become who you are in many ways....but in other ways, it's really all a struggle for acceptance....a way to finally feel that you fit it....or maybe even about standing out in ways other than embarrassing ones.

Now, on to my top 3 memories that made me decide to never, ever get humiliated like this again. Memories that I believe unfortunately drove me into becoming a bit of a shop-a-holic:
Too cool for school?

1. The sports chick
Yep! That was (is?) me. I couldn't shine in school by my fancy outfits as my family simply couldn't afford any, so may way to stand out was always by performance.....and especially by being good at sports. Every year, we had a track and field competition between the schools in my region and I was always in the top 3. In this specific memory, I was just about to make my last attempt at the winning long jump final. Now, we couldn't afford fancy outfits and that also applied to sports clothes, so this day, all I could find to wear were a pair of sweat pants that may have belonged to my mom (?). At least I think so as they were waaaaay to big. To make them stay up, I used a belt which I simply wrapped around the top of the waist and naturally, as they were sweat pants, the belt was not attached to any part of those pants. 
It was between me and a girl who was not only good at sports, but who was also part of the popular crowd (meaning: pretty and always wearing fancy outfits). I was confident.....I knew I could beat her, I just needed one more great jump and that would win me the first price. I focused, got set and ran towards that sand puddle as if my life depended on it. In the crowd: Everyone (well, maybe not, but this is what it felt like)! I get to the puddle and was just about to take my leap when my pants suddenly slide down from under that belt and instead of jumping, I have to keep running through the puddle and catch my pants as they slide down my legs and reveal my underpants (which btw, of course were not exactly from Agent Provocateur).  I don't think I have to paint you the picture of the immense laughter break-out that followed? Nope.....didn't think so. DEFINING moment.

2. The naked truth
I was confident in performance as a teenager, but not at all when it came to my looks. I was always wearing make-up as I was ashamed of what I looked like without and never went out without at least a bit of it. I also never showered with my class mates as I didn't feel comfortable showing myself without clothes. I had access to a private shower that I used throughout the Gymnasium time. Some of my friends tried hard to change this and worked on making me more confident.....
After a sports session, I hurt my ankle slightly and had to head back to the changing rooms before my class mates. Hearing the voice of some encouraging friends in my head, I decided I would use the normal showers and "take the risk" of someone coming back before I was showered, changed and made-up. So there I was, standing in front of the mirror without make-up when everyone suddenly came back. I felt nervous but thought "It's gonna be ok". A moment later one of my class friends came up to me, pointed at my face while laughing saying "OMG! I don't recognize you!! You look sooooo weird without make-up!! Guys, look at her!" and well.....that was that. Defining moment.

3. You take what you have
I had a crush on a boy two classes above me. I think I was in 4th grade....he was in the 6th grade. I wanted soooo badly for him to notice me, but again, my wardrobe wasn't exactly helping me stand out in good ways and neither was my hair cut (u n d e r s t a t e m e n t). I simply had to use what I had access too and sometimes, it got a bit.....well....toooo experimental. Like this day, it was the age of MC Hammer and I was taking hip hop classes to at LEAST be able to impress by cool dance moves (let's not talk about how cool they were in reality though.....or how cool they were not).  I found myself a pair of baggy pants! It was easy! I just nicked a pair of dad's pants - they were naturally too big! ...and off I went to school, feeling like I probably looked really cool and hip! Cool enough for this boy to finally notice me! ...and guess what?? He did!! ...just not in the way I had hoped. He saw me, our eyes met.....he's eyes wandered down..........and he said "Hey! I love your pants!" ...I felt warm....HE loved MY pants!!!! A moment later, he broke down into laughter, pointed at me and yelled at the whole school yard to come have a look at the funniest, most ridiculous pants ever....and of course they all came...running....pointing....laughing....and that warmth I felt got even warmer as my cheeks turned bright red and I ran into the school bathroom crying. Oh yeah......defining moment all right ;))

I am laughing, thinking back at these moments now, but of course, at the time my confidence level was so low I couldn't bounce these off.....and so when I started to make my own money, I spent it all on shopping, swearing to myself I would never put myself in a situation where I can't choose myself what to wear or not wear.

Little did I know that in the end, it doesn't matter what you wear. No fancy clothes ever made me feel good about the way I looked. I was still the same me underneath. I had to work on many other things, besides my wardrobe, to get the confidence that I am now possessing. The confidence to make no excuses for what I am buying or wearing these days....or how much I'm spending or not spending......and I honestly don't give a crap what someone thinks I look like without make-up..... 

Moral of the story: A nice outfit might bring you the momentary confidence to get through that interview and to land that job, or to go on that date, but it won't make you happy! I know that now... Confidence, at least for me, came from starting to believe I deserve good things....and since I started to believe that, good things have happened to me.....even when I'm wearing old cotton undies or parade around town without make-up!!

"U can't touch this"
MC Hammer

xox


PS. Don't feel bad for me loosing my pants that day..... The arrangers felt so bad for me that they let me re-do my jump and I got myself together (read: pulled those pants back up) and I jumped again and I won....not only that first price, but also a bit of pride back......true story that.

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