Saturday, September 10, 2016

Identity: You.

I couldn't quite place my finger on it. I thought that after being in London a few weeks, I would acclimatize and become, as they say, a "Londoner"; however, I instead found myself in a rather peculiar position.

I wasn't feeling myself.

It only hit me recently. I've been so distracted, and so busy running around, but there was something always just a little bit off within me that I couldn't ascertain. But then the loads of observations and happenings began to fall into place.

First, it was the distress at not having my entire closet here. Living in London only a short while, I was limited to only a few suitcases and even that wasn't enough to bring out the full elan style. I brought the classics, what I could wear with multiple pieces, and left most of the showstoppers and vintage at home. But then I realized, after living here a few weeks, that if there's anywhere to wear the showstoppers and funky clothing, it's London! So every day, I walk out the door not quite feeling the full charge of elan because I feel incomplete without a full wardrobe to choose from.

Silly, I know, but whenever I'm not feeling 100%, my outfit shows and my demeanor is just a little bit off.

Then I noticed the beauty everywhere. I have never been to a city that has such a broad and eclectic array of beautiful and unique people. I found myself comparing myself to them, losing a little piece of myself whenever I deemed in my head that I wasn't pretty enough, or stylish enough, or confident enough.

And then there was the boys. All around me, stylish and handsome men. It is the mecca of attractiveness and even as I put myself out of my comfort zone, I found that I got little in return. My friends all around me continued to get numbers, attention, flattery, and I was once again the tall shy girl in middle school, an invisible wallpaper figure wondering what was wrong with her. I felt lonely and neglected and felt as though I were missing out on an experience that so many girls around me were having.

Horrible! All of it. How did I go from 100-0 real quick?

I was having a little bit of an identity crisis, wondering what made me unique, constantly comparing myself, and feeling just short about who I was.

But you know what it was? Change. I just moved some 4500 miles across the world to live in a different city, a different country, and a different culture. I remember my teacher Fifi telling us this on one of our lectures. She said that this experience will change you. She said that every day, you will grow just a little bit differently, from the experiences you have, to the people you meet, to the walk you have to school, to perhaps a new observation that you never thought of before.

Turns out, I'm not the only one who feels this way. When I spoke up about it at dinner last night (quite an adventure indeed, as all of our drinks were kindly paid for by the gentlemen sitting behind us), I found out that some of my friends were feeling the same way. It's totally normal!

And so I'm sitting on the tube this morning, on my way to a fashion photography class, and of course Rupi Kaur's milk & honey would have the perfect quote for each of my recent feelings.

For the lack of confidence in myself & my silly closet: accept yourself as you were designed. how you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.

For the beauty and comparison: we are all born so beautiful. the greatest tragedy is being convinced we are not. we all move forward when we recognize how resilient and striking the women around us are.

For boys & loneliness: you are your own soul mate. if you are not enough for yourself you will never be enough for someone else.

For change & accepting the new: you deserve to be completely found in your surroundings, not lost within them.

To top off the amazing revelation I've had, in my fashion photography class, our subjects were our classmates. And as we were photographing each other, I was just stunned at how beautiful and exquisite these girls were. Now this is the celebration of each other that needs to happen more! Looking at them, laughing with them, and celebrating each other is far more healing on the soul then hatred, jealousy, judgement, or comparison.

Back and forth we went and when I left, I felt exhilarated and at peace. Change is good and the struggle to move along with it is a learning process, one that will expand who you are and change you all for the better...

What an honor to be around such extraordinary women...

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