Thursday, August 27, 2009

The beret

There are times when I feel like I've got to escape from myself for a bit. Don't get me wrong, I love my life but sometimes I just need a break. I think it ultimately makes me more appreciative of who I normally am. I embrace my nerd self and all of my neuroses, as well as my slightly impulsive, creative side. Like Alice, I just have to follow something different, something unusual and take everything in. Regardless of what anyone tells you otherwise, there are labels attached to us, which those who know you forever use as a springboard when thinking about you. Let me diverge on a bit of story.

Every winter I am envious of the girls who wear hats, especially berets. My mom has always told me that I have face for hats but I don't wear them often enough to feel that I look good in them. In Vancouver, hats also seem to be reserved for a certain "type" of girl. One who piles on the layers. Pulls of the urban-chic look and generally looks as if she just walked out of an Urban Outfitters. Not where my style normally falls. My outward image is largely that of a hat-less girl, and all the inferences that follow. But last November I decided to wear one of my hats to a friend's gig. I was sitting there with Karoline and JM came a bit later. I waved at him and he looked confused. Apparently he didn't recognize me. When he reached me he said, "Oh I thought you were Gina's sister or somebody." Gina being one of those Urban Outfitters kind of gal. It seems natural that he might not have recognized me at first glance, but I couldn't help but feel a bit strange about it. It was as if hats were reserved for specific people. Like my wearing of one wasn't acceptable. I think it deterred me from wearing one for the rest of winter. That was a decision I now think was bad. I let other people dictate how I dress, which has never happened before.

What bothers me the most about that situation was that even articles of clothing have a predetermined wearer. Why can't I just be free to wear whatever I want? I think of clothing a bit differently than most people probably do. I see it as an opportunity to say something about yourself to the rest of the world. And if a beret happened to coincide with what I wanted to say then so be it. I am usually very independent and let very little third party smack get me down. So, as you might imagine, I found myself surprised (and bothered) by the fact that I suddenly took someone else's reaction to heart in such a way. Of course this beret was definitely off the beaten path of my usual wardrobe choices, but I felt compelled to wear it for a reason - it was how I felt that day.

In this particular instance, I can't agree with my earlier statement that this wardrobe divergence made me appreciate my normal self more. In fact, it made me reevaluate her. Had I become so monotonous and streamlined that even I couldn't believe in myself doing something different? Apparently so. I think the main problem with this is that we get to comfortable with one way of being and truly close ourselves off to other possibilities. If nothing else, I'd like to at least consider my options. I think there is also an inherent benefit to all of this as well. That you might be able to help others consider other facets of your being.

No comments: