I often feel disappointed, though this is not particularly obvious as I hide behind a tough exterior. I’m naturally tough but I, again, often add a layer of extra toughness. However I’m also, ever one to remedy a situation and think of alternative ways to counteract a problem.
So when it comes to clothing and styling, the situation is no different. In some ways more disappointing and triggering as I’m confronted with the recurring themes of self image, body positivity, self esteem etc. Put plainly I’m forced to see myself in my truest form, with all my issues, every single time I get dressed. Of course this is largely true for the vast majority of people, women especially, who are constantly under the scrutiny of the male gaze upheld by literally everyone, whether consciously or not.
Now this exposure will sting differently, depending on where you are in your personal journey. With me I’d say I’ve still got a way to go with ‘self acceptance and self love etc.’ , so I deal with striking a delicate balance between embracing how I look and hiding my difference, which is exhausting to say the least.
I love fashion, and love styling people to feel and look their best, but secretly struggle to do so when it comes to myself.
I think the issue stems from my proximity to ‘normal’. As in I can hide my skin condition seamlessly, and you’d be none the wiser. Unfortunately I battle with feeling left out or disqualified from fashion as there are many pieces I feel like I can’t wear. And as I said because I’m not at the place where I’m comfortable to ‘wear my scars’, I begrudgingly perform ‘normality’ and chastise myself for not being able to truly participate in it. Baring in mind I have no control over my skin condition, this behaviour is problematic.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m dancing with a reality that is seemingly close but I still can’t quite obtain. Maybe it’s because skin conditions are tied to a root idea of uncleanliness. Maybe it’s because there’s absolutely no representation of people that look like me in fashion. Maybe it’s our world’s obsession with perfection and anything that slightly deviates from its narrow parameters might as well be dead. Maybe it’s all the above and more, at the end of the day the effects of this mentality are real and unsustainable.
I’ve said all this to say that, rather than dwelling on the feeling of being left out, I naturally and deliberately put my energies into shopping and putting looks together creatively, without losing my sense of style. I focus on feeling comfortable in who I am by finding pieces that express me, practically in a non ‘airy – fairy’ way. From layering, to patterned tights, I’m able to construct looks that represent me and ensure I feel beautiful, as I continue to do the more laborious and intricate internal work.