A very long post:
Last night my friend Jaclyn asked me to speak to her young women's group on "finding who you are & being okay with your own personal style" I had a great time meeting these girls and their other leaders. It was my first time speaking to a group in depth about my life growing up, feeling insecure, and other personal issues.
Then when I went to bed last night I couldn't sleep... my mind was flooded with all these things I forgot to talk about and wish I would have remembered...and then basically went back and relived my some childhood memories, finally falling asleep around 5am...
Some pictures of me when I was little ... feeling often like an ugly duckling and many times awkward, comparing myself to the other cute girls around me at church & school ....not being okay with who I was and knowing my self worth. I think this is a normal thing to feel when you're young but too bad you don't know that when you're young huh... :/
I'm a little older now in these photos and had pretty much grown into my personality [which I believe has maintained consistency to this day] extrovert, loyal friend, loves to make people laugh... but still not feeling totally okay with myself... i.e. looks and how people perceive me.
When I entered high school that's when I really started to figure out my personal style, it took a long time...but it's when I officially started paying attention to what I liked and didn't like. Again, this is normal for most teens I think. Through most of my childhood and teen years I had pretty long hair...and never thought anything of it except that it was a constant issue of how to maintain
that wild thick mane of mine... wearing it in a bun or ponytail was always my go to....
Well, it wasn't until the end of my junior year of high school that I realized how much impact hair can make on the people around you and in yourself.... I was in beauty school through a program my high school had set up...and one day I decided that I wanted to chop all my hair off. With out asking my parents for permission [I was 17 and thought that my hair was mine for some reason] I chopped it all off at the beauty school that day... the haircut wasn't the best, but I loved it. It felt like a weight [literally] had been lifted off my shoulders, and I felt like a new girl inside... 1/2 of the people around me in my life at the time, did not have the same feelings and because of their own insecurities started to treat me differently.... meaning, they weren't as nice. :( Had I known the repercussions that would have followed after cutting my hair, I may not have gone through with it...but my personality by then was very independent and one that didn't care what other's thought...yet, I still struggled inside with my own inner/outer beauty. What a weird dichotomy.
A couple months later we had moved to Alpine Utah [what I like to call Mormon Hollywood] as planned and that was when I really started to have fun with my hair. Bleaching it, coloring my bangs different colors.... nothing unusual now, probably still is in Alpine, or at least looked down on still...but again, it was interesting to see people's reactions. I never have been the type of person to do "crazy" things to get a reaction, but i'm sure I came across that way. So for the next couple years I had my short hair...and honestly most of the time, it was a haircut that I could never really get comfortable in because I myself wasn't comfortable in my own skin.
Two years later I move to New York, a couple weeks shy of turning 19 and it was a year later that I started growing my hair out again. The 9 years I spent in New York were some really good ones. Good for the reason that I truly found out who I was inside and out. This is what our twenties are all about, right? And then I enter Parsons School of Design, and in enters my self worth again. Feeling more confident but definitely insecure, not knowing whether or not i'm as good of an artist/designer as I thought I was. One thing that I knew for sure though was that I was never going to be a high fashion designer [I admire so much those who are!] I knew early on that the styles I was attracted to had some sort of folk art/heirloom quality. I have always loved anything Native American just because of their craftsmanship and the way they utilized simple patterns...anyways, i'm at Parsons seeing everyone around design these gorgeous amazing pieces...and then compared to my stuff... it felt dowdy? :/ I questioned inside CONSTANTLY whether or not I should give up what really speaks to me, and do what my classmates are doing...or just stick to what I know truly makes me happy. Well I stuck to what I loved and then came Senior Year and my thesis presentation. My collection was based off the book "The Ox Cart Man" illustrated by Barbara Cooney you can see the collection HERE I was so nervous to present my teen collection, because I was not presenting my with class in front of the childrens wear panel but in front of the evening wear panel due to me being out of town the week before. So when I say evening wear, I mean these dresses you guys were stunning! Just beautiful, and then there's little old me and my children's book collection talking about my wool ice skating skirt and hand knit dress... I was feeling INSANELY nervous. My name gets called and it's my turn to step in front of the panel [and about 500 other people in the audience]and talk about my collection. Each student had 9 min. to talk and you could go on if the panel liked you....well most of the panel really seemed to like me and my collection, because I was there longer than 9 min. I do remember this one older gentleman though just starring me up and down and never saying a word, he was so intimidating and still to this day I sometimes wonder what he was thinking.
But I remember one specific question that was asked from Mickey Boardman [editor of Paper Magazine pictured below] and this was his question: "I adore your collection, but how do you fit in here among people who are doing high fashion?" said in his hilarious feminine twang. :) Isn't he so cute!?! I wish I was related to him! :-[)
I don't remember my response [luckily though I do have my whole presentation on video] but I know it made the whole audience laugh. After everyone in that group had presented the panel then votes for who their favorite was which then gets put into the voting for the opportunity to show your collection at the gala dinner. I didn't show at the gala and I knew I wouldn't anyways, that would have been fun...but was never a goal of min. However, after the presentations were over, Mickey Boardman and another lady [I wish for the life of me I could remember her name] who was a contributor to Vogue magazine rushed up to me afterwards to give me a hug me and tell me how much they loved me, my presentation and my collection. This little experience has been one that has definitely shaped my life going forward. One of things they both said to me was that they were excited to see where I go with Roxy Marj and hopefully that I will continue designing and staying true to myself! :) I'm sure they have forgotten all about me and those impressionable words they said, but I have never forgotten about them.
It's little moments like that that we have to cling on to for dear life and TRUST the people who see our value and self worth even if we don't at the moment. I left Parsons and New York City feeling good about myself and what was to come. However, moving here to Utah brought on a whole new idea of self worth which i've talked about here on my blog before....
But back to my hair... I basically came full circle with deciding 6 months after getting married [almost 2 years ago!] that I wanted to cut my long hair off. I went shoulder length this time to be "safe"....but then 4 months later I decided to take it short again. :) This time I truly loved it, and what made me love it even more was how much Jesse loved it. I gotta a lot of interesting reactions - ones that were all too similar back to when I was 17 ...However, this time... I knew and still know my inner beauty. I feel confident with myself now that if even I was to get into some freak accident and my face burned off that I would still be myself and love who I was... Our self worth is constantly challenged every day when we have media in our faces 24/7 telling us what is beautiful. It's really hard to focus on the inside when everything around you is focusing on the outside. I've learned through my experiences though that if you can take care of the inside first...then your outside just seems to naturally take of itself...and soon...you will start to feel whole. :]
Lastly, I made this little print for the girls last night to take home - it's a picture of me when I was 18...wearing a wig and paper glasses obviously... I remember laughing so hard after seeing this photo... it's a good reminder to have fun in life, and be comfortable in your own skin. :)
a little video that makes me pretty emotional inside
*p.s. I apologize if some or all of this didn't make any sense. I've never claimed to be a good writer [I have obvious syntax problems] but I am a document-or of my life, and this is the best I can do when describing my thoughts and telling stories. :]