Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tutu's bring freedom

Yesterday I wore a pink tulle skirt to class. With cowboy boots, and grey fishnet tights. I thought it was a fun idea–which it was–but in addition to this, I wore it as a kind of experimentation for myself. At the moment of it's purchase, I did not intend on using this skirt in a study for myself or my capstone, but some things are unpredictable.

I initially bought this skirt based upon two reasons:
1.) I have always wanted to be a ballerina
2.) I want to overcome my fear of self-expression

Recognizing this, I knew that it would be a challenge for me to wear this as part of an outfit in public, and was therefore hesitant to purchase it as an addition to my wardrobe. I then thought to myself, "Well WHY"? Why did I think that I should be afraid to wear it? I liked it. It made me happy. When I had it on, I felt fun and also beautiful. Isn't this what clothes should do for the wearer in addition to serving the original purpose of clothing one's body? I deliberated over this purchase for over an hour. More than 60 minutes of my life were spent in contemplation, struggling to take a stand for myself against my personal criticism and venture onto the mysterious path of self-expression. I was battling no one's judgement but my own. This choice, to others quite possibly, would not have been a large decision or a cause of stress, but I was overwhelmed. Why did this decision feel like a defining choice in my life?

I felt as though it was a moment of truth. Would I cave to perceived judgments of society that I expected to experience if I chose to publicly wear this tutu, or would I boldly embrace this construction of fabric and communicate to the world a layer of who I am?

But what exactly did I feel it would communicate for me? It was my freedom. Freedom from self, freedom from judgement, and a step towards accepting who I am. Why do I then dress as I do? I realized that I often wear what I feel to be "responsible". Nothing flashy, nothing bold, lots of neutrals. I have stated before that I was in fear of losing myself as I almost forgot how to play, and recognized, as I was contemplating my tutu purchase, that I communicate this separation from self and resistance of fun in what I wear, in how I "design" myself each day.

Okay. So I understand that we are not defined by our clothes, but I realized, after an hour had passed, that I have a problem in the fact that I felt confined by what I thought other people might think of me, how THEY might define me, if I wore something I liked. I would be vulnerable in my apparent playfulness, and people might judge me. This, terrified me. Was this the heart of my newly realized fears? This fear was so strong and so real to me, that it was affecting the decisions I made for my life. If I was having such trouble over a skirt, where would it end? When would I free myself from my perceived ideas of others, and stop making decisions based upon what I thought others were thinking and make a choice for myself? Do others think about this? Do all people think about what others are thinking, and make choices based upon their perceptions? All I know is I did, I did for a very long time.

But then, I bought a pink tutu...

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