It may come as a surprise to some of you, but there are some things I am terrified to wear. Not many things, but some. Despite my ridiculous love of all things polka-dotted, they are something I have to force or remind myself to actually put on. I know I like to talk about my jeans-and-hoodie phase, but I've always had a rather eccentric sense of style, yet there are still some things out there that scare me to death to actually wear.
Dress- Thrifted, Cardigan- Target, Bag- Vintage, thrifted, Shoes- Old Navy
This dress is one of those. I bought it sometime in August or July even, with the intention of chopping it up and remaking it into something. It's 100% rayon, wonderfully soft, and I figured it would make a cute sundress. I didn't even try it on at the store because I really didn't care if it fit in it's original form. However once home I put it on and kind of fell in love with it. The only alteration was to remove the linebacker-esqu shoulder pads! My only thing about it is that it feels a little bold -even for me. My style as taken a very big change in the last few months, and I don't think I'm quite so bold in my clothing choices anymore. Even before, there were some things that I was terrified to wear, but now I feel like the things I choose are not quite so in your face. The eccentricities of my style are more subtle, softer, and are much less BAM! look at me! Maybe I've matured in my sense of what is cute/pretty/looks well on me versus what is just plain cookoo. Long story short though, I finally broke out this dress the other day.
Because of the boldness of it I wanted to keep everything else very simple and kind of toned down. I avoided adding my signature red but instead went with these maroon/rosy shoes and matching lipstick. These are some of my favourite shoes but they don't seem to match much in my closet. I even tried to tone it down with my hair. I've also realized that the rag curls I'd been doing each night were verging on costume. Besides I like my hair long and loosely curled. The faux bang thing is pretty exciting for me because this is only the second time I've gotten these to work! In the end I'm super happy with this look. It's the first outfit in a long time that I felt wonderful in from head to toe!
The funny thing is though, that as soon as I put everything together, the dress wasn't quite so scary. After months of hanging in my closet, looking at me with doe eyes, tempting my old brash style, I realized that the only reason I had been scared to wear it is because I had told myself I was scared to wear it. The dress is not scary at all. In fact it's probably one of the most flattering dresses I own. I hangs nicely, is a surprisingly good colour on me, has a flattering cut and at the end of the day was still very comfortable. And even after I removed the "softening" accessories, it still wasn't scary. It was just a dress, with a slightly bold-ish print, but one that I could totally pull off. I received more compliments on the ensemble than I have in months. Not that I haven't looked nice, or worn outfits that I really, really loved in those months, but maybe, just maybe, wearing something that I was scared of actually made me happier? Made me sassier? Made me hold myself differently? Maybe doing something that scares me, even if it's self delusional fear, makes me a better me.
I find that this is probably the best commentary for where I am in my life right now. I'm scared, and dreading tackling the things I'm scared of. I think in many ways I'd rather be a quiet shy person, than my true nature of someone with a megaphone for a mouth and zero inhibitions. I'd rather be a sweet, gentle person, rather than the slightly cynical, takes no crap person that I really am. I want to be timid.
Which is just plain stupid for me. I'm not timid, nor am I shy. I am the girl in the checkout line who holds everything up because the cashier and I have become best friend in the last minute and a half. I am the girl who will walk up and just start talking to you for no apparent reason. I'm the girl who after a five minute conversation you know pretty much my whole life's story. I stick my tongue out at my teacher's backs, and I can't wear stockings without getting a run in them. I'm not graceful, nor am I all too very elegant. I'm not afraid to get dirty. I'm the girl who puts popcorn in the microwave for too long at work and then when it starts to smoke because it's on fire, I try to blow the smoke back into the kitchen so it doesn't set off the fire alarm. I'm the girl that set off the fire alarm and the whole building was evacuated while I was still at the scene trying to blow the smoke away. I'm a klutz, I'm accident prone, I'm a little rough around the edges. I'm oddly patient, yet terribly anxious. I've seen all the wonders in life, and all the horrors. I've watched people die, and I've watched people be born. I've had to stand up and be strong. I had to learn how to cry in front of people. I'm the one people go to when they need a shoulder, and I am really freaking good at talking people out of suicide. I've been depressed, and elated. I'm terribly lazy, except for when I get a burst of motivation and surprise everyone. I don't know all that I can do, but I know I can do it all. I like to say that there are two different people in me, Bold, I don't care what you say Ashley, and Sweet, oh don't worry about me Ashley. But truth be told, they are really just different facets of one person who has been fearfully and wonderfully made to be an utter ball of nut-casery and confusion. And I like it. Guys, I like me.
Is it weird that wearing one dress made me realize all this? Probably. Though I think the truth is that it wasn't just the dress. It was many other things that made me question why I was ever afraid to wear the dress in the first place. Was the dress a metaphor? Was it a self fulfilling prophecy? Or was it just a dress that I happened to shy away from because of other things going on in my life? Who knows! But I completely believe that the things we put on our body are a representation of who we really are. Every single person who reads this will understand that what you wear is deeply connected to your self esteem, self image, and self love. I mean when we're having a bad day, we go for ugly clothes to fit our ugly mood, unless we say "No! By George, I am going to at least look great today!" And we all know that our day turns around. How you present your self on the outside reflects how much you like yourself on the inside. When I dress sloppy, I feel sloppy. So maybe wearing a bold dress just brought out my true nature, but the facts are these: I like being me and I wouldn't want to be anyone else. And everyone deserves a few days of feeling pretty awesome, of having no fears, of being happy just to be themselves. Today I'm pretty stoked to be Ashley, even if my eyes are too small, and my nose is too pointy, and my feet are too big. They're my eyes, nose and feet, and I love them. If for no other reason than because they're mine.
So dear polka-dotted dress, I'm not afraid of you anymore. In fact, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.