Being your most authentic self is key to living your best life. For almost all my life, I felt like I was living in the shadows of who I thought I wanted to be and other opinions of me. I made so many mistakes following behind folks and searching for their approval that resulted in I totally losing myself. It started when I was in grammar school when my everyday ambitions were to be popular. That wasn’t happening so I decided that I would hang out with the popular girls and maybe then I would accelerate to “it” girl status and be popular. As we all know every clique of cool kids has a queen who leads the flock. It’s just weird science. This queen bee’s name was Diamond. We were a posse (the eighties were so cool) of six, and she was the head chick in charge. Our everyday shenanigans literally were like a scene out of the movie Mean Girls.
We had to dress a certain way to be “down,” and we could only do things and wear things of Diamond’s approval. It was a hot mess, and my identity was thrown out of the nearest window. I thought this behavior was okay because it was important to me to be liked and accepted no matter the cost. This cycle was toxic and draining while every other day someone was bullied or was thrown out the group for insubordination. We fought amongst each other (except for Diamond she never fought) in the group, but I was the one who was fighting the most. I guess because I was the smart, boring nerdy girl out the group, so I was picked on the most. I had lost myself in the fifth grade and didn’t even care to know it.
High School: I repeated the same cycle of my mistaken identity by trying to fit in with the queen. Her name was Nina, a drug dealer’s girlfriend who was pretty, fly, and had lots of money. Yep, Nina replaced the last queen bee in my life, Diamond and Nina and her clique were even worse than the girls in grammar school. Nobody would mess with her and her friends. People just tried to mimic them, and I was one of them not loving myself and wanting to be like the fly drug dealer girlfriends in my school. But I wasn’t that. I was an honor roll student who loved to be in plays, let alone date a crack dealer.
I dressed nice but not like them with their high-end designer clothing, shoes, and bags. My mom couldn’t afford the thousand-dollar designer bags as catholic high school tuition on the Upper East Side in NYC was so expensive for a recently single mom of two. So how did I try to keep up with the Joneses and maintain being someone else this time around? What did I do because it was cool? I jumped off a bridge like everyone else and fell in love with a neighborhood drug dealer and that sh+%* changed my life and not for good either (but that’s for another post). **Inserts shaking my head emoji
College and my twenties: Same shit different day. I started hanging out with some other girls who were fashionistas like myself but got caught up in wearing more of my friend’s style of clothing then rocking my own and worrying if I was fly enough. Then one day, the ish hit the fan. This was the first time that it hit me that I had realized I was a fake and had lost my true identity. Check it out. One cold winter night, we were going to an exclusive party. I was 28 at the time. We all were leaving from my house, and it was like seven of us. One of my friends, Stephanie, saw me pulling out my coat from my hall closet and she said in a condescending tone, “oh no, you aren’t wearing that, right?” My friend Stephanie was referring to my fake fur coat but let’s use the proper term, faux (pronounced like this “fow”) fur coat. Now at that time furs were all the rage and I had a full length real one and a faux one, and I actually liked the faux one better! It was a funky, chic coat. But that day my authentic self-disappeared like a thief in the night.
Stephanie ran and got our fashion-conscious friend who happened to be the new, Diamond and Nina on steroids. Her name was Misha and told her about my personal style snafu. The Queen, a.k.a Misha came storming to my closet and said, “Let me see.” Here I was 28 years old, showing her my damn coats, and she shook her index finger and quickly said, “no way. Do not wear that fake coat.” All of us are wearing real furs you will look crazy with that on.” Stephanie and Misha walked away from me while I was still standing near my closet, looking dumbfounded. Was my coat ugly? It wasn’t fly enough? My self-esteem tanked.
So, what did I do? I went with the queen’s suggestion and wore my authentic fur coat and proceeded to go to the party feeling like crap. I will never forget that day. I wasn’t even the same while we were driving to the party I was so quiet. That exchange had really bothered me and the fact that I wore what someone else told me to wear made me sick to my stomach. When I got to the party with them, I had the worst time because all I could do was play over and over again how I played myself listening to someone tell me how to dress. I wasn’t true to myself or my personal style. I was led astray from my genuine fashion sense all because I was following behind people who I thought were better than me, which proved that I wasn’t secure in myself.
Today thank God, that is not me and I have grown from those incidents. Now I wear what the eff I want! Also, not one soul on this planet can tell me what to wear or judge me to my face about my personal fashion choices. How did I get to this point? I gained some self-esteem. See my previous post here on how important it is and how it can heal your life. I learned to like myself, love myself. I know who I am and I like who I am becoming. Everybody has their own style and should be proud of it and not be style shamed. If I want to wear faux anything then that’s my prerogative and the Diamonds, the Nina’s and the Misha’s in the world can’t say a damn thing.