Saturday, 28 March 2009

Identity crisis?

Disclaimer: sorry if you're not interested in this guff.

Recently I've been getting dressed in the morning and feeling pretty weird about the clothes I wear. The most frequent reason I leave the house is to go to college three times a week, and after thinking about Style Salvage's appropriation of the idea of a personal uniform, I would definitely agree that I have a personal College Uniform. Perhaps I overthink things, but there are a few things I've noticed about myself and other people when it comes to dressing for college. Firstly, when I get up at 7 or 8 in the morning, I look out of the window and more often than not observe that it's a pretty shitty looking day. I open my wardrobe, and look at my clothes, and I'll maybe look at a skirt; and then a voice in my head says you don't want to wear a skirt, it's freezing outside. Cold legs. Too cold for tights. The same thing goes for a dress - too short. You have to walk through not one but two dodgy neighbourhoods to get to college. Don't want any unwanted attention. Okay, I think, what about going with safety in jeans, but a nice pair of heels? You know your feet will hurt, says my voice. You'll be walking a lot today. You don't want to inflict unneccessary pain on yourself. Plus, heels click on the pavement, and you like to pad along quietly in your scabby old daps. Okay then, what about my nice new blazer? Too cold. You need a coat. Wear your duffle coat, it's warm. Fine. something nice underneath. The arms on your duffle coat, like all your coats, are too short for your lanky arms. You need something underneath. Wear your hoodie.

At that point (I promise, or at least I hope it's clear, that I'm not a nutty schizophrenic and that voice is just my Voice of Reason) I look in the mirror and hey, would you look at that? I'm wearing the same tomboy College Uniform that I always wear from October to April. Daps, jeans, jersey layers, and a duffle coat. And that's not the only thing which frustrates me. I get in to college, and apparently reams and reams of girls have got up that morning and they have NO VOICE OF REASON in their heads. They've arrived in flimsy skirts and thigh high socks, regardless of the 5 degree gale blowing outside; they clickety click along in their artfully bashed-up vintage heels, hips swinging, hair tousled by the pissing rain outside, while I stand gaping, bundled up, dripping onto the doormat with soggy feet and streaming mascara.

Leaving aside what I fully acknowledge as shallow JEALOUSY, plain and simple, of these girls who look so great, what I think I'm more jealous of is the fact that they know what they want. They know how they want to look; they know when they buy something that they will wear it, they'll make it look fabulous in with the rest of their clothes, and they know what they like. I don't know what clothes I like any more, and I don't think I have a personal style. My Uniform stems from practicality and an unwillingness to feel uncomfortable. I don't think I have any idea what I like. I mean, I know THINGS I like doing - if somebody asked me, "what are your hobbies?" or "what do you like doing in your free time?" I could answer - what I do is an easy question. But what does that say about the kind of person I am?

As a rule, I'm not much of a navel-gazer, but recently I'm starting to feel like perhaps I should know these things by now? Because it doesn't just come down to an aesthetic style crisis, but lots of other little things as well. I've talked before on the blog about my uncertain job future, but haven't really voiced my secret inner feeling that my job insecurity is compounded fully by the fact that I have no idea what I want to do. As it stands, I love my degree; but it's not like John, the nature of whose degree pretty much funnels you into a particular world of work, or Jeffrey, who, once he's graduated, is so well rounded and experienced that his skills and knowledge can carry him anywhere. My best friend Lucy floated around for two or three years after she finished school, trying out a few courses here and there, before she suddenly had a lightbulb moment and realised that if she doesn't try going to drama school she's going to have missed out on one of the one things she really loves doing.

I don't have skills, per se. I can't sew, I can't act, I can't design a building. I can think, but everyone can think. The more I worry about it the more I notice how much I have no idea about myself. Things which should be simple have become a challenge. What's my voice like - tone, pronounciation, accent? The more I think about it the more words seem sticky coming out of my mouth. Since when did talking become difficult? And for that matter, how do I walk? I'm not sure where to put the weight on my legs. Did I put my heel down first or my toe? I can't remember. Do I swing my hips? How do I eat? Do I favour one side to chew on over the other? What tastes do I like? And how do my friends see me? Is there anything about me that makes me, individually, me? Essentially, what kind of person am I? I feel like if I knew the answer to that I'd know what to do next, or what I even want to do next, or know at least how to go back to being the kind of person who knows what they want to do next. For now, I wish I knew where the fuck to start, and what to do with myself.

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