When I was about 13 I had this strong, almost supernatural feeling to stop wearing black. I don’t know why I felt this way, but I think it had something to do with how I was feeling, and how I no longer wanted people to see me. I realized that looking at color made me so happy and I wanted to be able to give people that happiness, too. I vowed to myself that from then on, I would never again buy anything black. I would only wear color so that when people looked at me, maybe the bright colors I was wearing would bring them some happiness in a possibly grey day.
I went a few years this way and eventually got to a point where not a single thing in my closet was black. It didn’t matter if it was raining outside or not, I continued dressing brightly. Eventually the religiosity of it wore off and I started buying black every now and then, but for the most part, I still tried to wear color.
It wasn’t really until I moved to San Francisco that I started feeling uncomfortable with the color I wore. It’s not even like I was that colorful, I didn’t dress like a rainbow, but my colorful sweaters and dresses, let’s not forget the dresses, made me feel out of place. I’d walk down Valencia Street on my way to work and always felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. I loved (and still do love) the Mission so much, but I didn’t have my bangs cut too short, wear socks with birkenstocks and have a half sleeve tattoo. There is nothing wrong with dressing this way at all, some girls rock it so well, but it just isn’t me. Perhaps because I’m such an introvert and hate drawing attention to myself, I didn’t feel free to continue wearing my color. I wanted to blend in and go unnoticed. My color didn’t feel like it was bringing others happiness anymore, it just made me feel like I didn’t quite fit in.
I had my days. I had my days where I’d leave my apartment wearing bright blue jeans, a green sweater and polka dot scarf and was all hell yeah I feel great! And then I had my days where a grey sweater with grey jeans felt like the more appropriate and cool thing to do. The thing is, regardless of how anyone else was feeling (and who knows if me wearing color made people feel happiness anyway or not), it wasn’t making me feel happy anymore.
I think this is my general feeling of my time in San Francisco. It just didn’t feel like me. It felt like I was trying to walk in a pair of shoes that weren’t the right size. When I was with my girlfriends, I felt like me. I felt like those 5 ladies actually saw me and knew all of my colors. There was no sucking up because so and so worked here or name dropping or egos or fancy wine. It was just us being ourselves. When I was with them, I was allowed to wear whatever the hell I wanted to, be who I really was, say the things that were really on my heart and laugh and say all the inappropriate and improper jokes I wanted to say. San Francisco felt like putting on a mask, which is strange, considering so many people move there to take off their mask.
I remember when I was living in New York last year (I know, I’ve moved A LOT, but my philosophy is that life is too short to live in once place–more on that later) I met this wonderful girl who showed up wearing the most beautiful jacket I had ever seen. I dressed traditional New York, all black everything, because I figured that that was what I was supposed to do. And then this light walked into my life. Her hair was dyed bright red, she was wearing a vintage floral jacket with every color of the rainbow in it, colorful pants and flowy cream top. She instantly became my dream girl and I thought to myself, when are you going to start being yourself again?
I think in general I have a hard time finding my own, authentic voice and place in this world. It used to really bum me out, but now I’ve just accepted that perhaps that is who I am. I am a quiet, sensitive, introvert who thinks deeply and doesn’t care for small chitchat and would rather spend her Friday night alone thinking about the meaning of life and writing. But I’m okay with that, and that took a really, really long time.
I bought these mustard yellow pants the other day because I decided that I want to start wearing color again. I’m so sick of trying to be that minimalist pixie dream girl when all I really want to do is wear a rainbow dress and throw confetti all over my walls. But this time I’m not wearing color to make other people happy, I’m wearing color because it’s me. It’s the real me.