Self discovery and finding out who you are and what you like are all a part of growing pains. It’s normal to feel unsure as a teenager about who you are, it’s totally fine to feel a bit lost. But for me, it was a real struggle, and I don’t even understand why, since I’ve always been into the same things, why did I let the opinions of others dictate the real me?
I found finding my style to be quite difficult, not because for some reason I was stuck between discovering myself. I knew the things that I liked and I know now what I like too, I knew my taste and I knew the type of crowd that I fit into. But I was easily influenced. Mostly by the people around me, or specific people around me and for this reason I found finding my style, and being true to myself, to be a challenge. I found it a lot more difficult than it needed to be.
Looking at it now, I think it’s way too obvious what my style has been. I’ve always loved comfort, I like oversized clothes and I like the shade black a little too much, even though lately I’ve been wearing brighter colours. I’ve always loved the alternative style, but because I was so worried about other peoples opinions, because I wanted to be “trendy”, I’d force myself to stray away from the things that I genuinely liked, and I’d dress the same way as the closest people to me, as if to mould into being the same person as them.
I don’t know why I’d do this, or why I had said people in my life, because ever since I moved on and away from them, I’ve had no difficulty in knowing who I am, buying things because I like them and not just because they’d think that I was cool for doing so, and it’s so funny how I’ve totally strayed away from certain brands and shops too since then.
With a lot of assurance off my closest friend, and a lot of YAAAAS being exchanged over messenger when I sent pics of my outfits, I started to feel confident in the decisions I was making as far as what I was wearing on my body was going. I started to feel less self aware and like shopping for clothes was less of a hassle (and less expensive too), and like my true self was starting to show a little bit.
If I could go back in time, shake myself, and tell myself to stop trying so hard, I would.
I was totally miserable, I didn’t find fashion fun – and I was studying it for goodness sake. All the fun I have had over the years with my look had gone. I wanted to be that shameless thirteen year old who wore jackets with thumb holes in them without feeling any embarrassment again. I wanted to be the fourteen year old who looked silly wearing cotton fingerless gloves in August just because I liked it. The fun I had with fashion, dressing and my entire look had been sucked away. Because I was letting someone else dictate the type of person I should be and the type of person I should look like.
I also think social media around this time was obsessing over the Korean street culture look. I was seeing it all over instagram and I was feeling a little bit out of the loop and like I didn’t want to miss out on a good trend, because let’s face it, the Korean youth really know how to dress, how could I not feel fascinated by them?
Fast forward a few years later though, I only buy garments that I like because I like them, I only follow instagram accounts because I relate to them and have things in common with them, I only dye my hair because it’s what I want to do and I only put outfits together that I feel good in.
It’s made such a huge difference to me, both with my confidence and with my self esteem. I feel good about myself, and I feel like those 2 years of struggling to discover myself was wasted time, because deep down I already knew who I was and I already wanted to be myself. I no longer dress to please other people, I no longer stress about impressing somebody because if they like me, they’re going to have to accept me. Which the people in my life do.
This was an important lesson for me to learn, and I’m glad I went through this experience, regardless of how negative it was. Discovering yourself should be fun, and dressing to please yourself should be the only option. I’m twenty years old and I’m still to this day, discovering myself, but not in the same essence.