Riffing off Lady Gaga’s tribute to the late David Bowie, which was a riff off her Superbowl anthem performance; which was a riff off her entire music career – I had to ask myself, in a world that seemingly celebrates individuality, slaying and #FIERCE: Why are we still so afraid to be ourselves?
I know folks on all points of the spectrum that ranges from monotony to Gaga. There are those who act prim and proper – I often wonder, is there a secret jester in them just waiting for the day they feel confident enough to let it out or are they just sadly, born boring? And then there are those who err on the side of extra, to which we have yet to find an antidote for, who are so self-involved and absolutely fascinating, in a train wreck kind of way (Kimye). And then there are those who, like Gaga, somehow make us so goddamn jealous of her balls to be who she is: a hundred thousand different people and no one in particular.
As the famous Italian playwright, Luigi Pirandello, imagines a world in which identity is protean, defined both internally and externally; a paradox that gives the self both confidence and doubt; how we see Gaga may not, in fact, be how she sees herself. In fact, how I see Gaga may not be how you see Gaga, either. Which brings me to my point: the person you think lies within you can never truly be communicated verbatim to the rest of us. There will always be an interpretation. A distortion of the truth marred by our own individual life experiences and perception.
Can we be OK with that?
Fashion week is a prime example of a moment when individuality is on display for all to see. In comes a hyperbolic performance of what one thinks is a cute outfit met by either a unanimous paparazzi pizza party or complete disregard. Regram or return to sender? It’s judgement day the minute you step out your Uber; and I never know how to play it. Do I go for it or play it safe? Do I wear the big fur hat or do I just put my hair in a loose chignon.
When I looked in the mirror the morning of this outfit (and this should be a caveat to the “did you look in the mirror before you left the house” diss) I saw a fun take on ski-chic attire paired with a casual pant that says, I don’t take this outfit too seriously. Normally, I wouldn’t do two puffs in one outfit – the one hanging on the bag and the one straddling my head – but I thought: fuck it, it’s fashion week.
Would the people on the outside understand my look, let alone admire it? If the basic woman who tried to stealthily Snapchat me to her friends in our hotel lobby was any indication, the answer is no. If beauty is really in the eye of the beholder, I was about to behold outfit shaming. Which didn’t at all happen, really, except for entirely in my head. ‘There she goes,’ they’ll say, ‘the peacocking pariah.’
I was afraid to be myself. I am afraid to be myself. Though, I doubt I’m by myself in this. I could wear couture on Sunday, if I lived alone. Couldn’t we all?
Ultimately, I wore the hat with confidence. Turns out, it didn’t matter what people had to say about me because I could’t hear a damn thing from underneath it. And perhaps, that’s the most valuable lesson of all. Some might get it; some might hate it; and others might not be interested at all. But to pretend to be something you’re not just to fit in? Why that is sin sin sin. BLASPHEMY. Commercializing what you’ve already got? That is genius and one day I’ll dedicate a post to that as soon as I figure that out.
Next time you find yourself second-guessing, prioritizing what others may think of your display of individuality over the very act of being yourself remember that no one will ever really be able to see exactly what you see in the mirror. And frankly, when is that ever not a good thing?
And if you wanna copy my identity, shop my look here:
BCBGMAXAZRIA Spring 16 Runway jacket // BCBGMAXZAZRIA snakeskin clutch & furry hat // One Teaspoon jeans // Zara white turtleneck // Chinese Laundry Julius peep toe booties // Maripier Morin x BonLook sunglasses // Zara pom pom