Be stylish. Don’t overdress. Wear makeup. Be confident enough to not wear makeup. Love your natural hair. Always make sure your hair looks put-together. Love your body no matter what it looks like. Be sure to lose some weight.
These are just a few of the ideas and standards that most women/girls (and men, with a few wording adjustments) face daily. It’s flat out confusing and frustrating and something that I’ve really been struggling with this year. You see, I’ve lived in the same city since I was 3 years old until this year. Almost everyone I graduated with I had known since at least middle school, if not Kindergarten. When you’ve spent that much time with the same group of people, you become accustomed to portraying yourself as who everyone has learned to see you. It’s easy and simple because you know who you are supposed to be and you know how everyone defines you. Then you leave that city, and most people have to make some sort of adjustment to whatever their new surroundings may be. For me, the adjustment was more than just learning how to handle a new lifestyle and workload; I had to adjust to the fact that almost every person I would come in contact with from here on out would not know nor care who I was in high school. I was no longer the violinist or the lacrosse player or the introvert or nerd or anything. For years, I knew that who I was was a girl who never wore athletic shorts or t-shirts in public and did her hair every day and typically put on a full face of makeup for school. I wasn’t ever super athletic (I mean I played the lacrosse position that ran the least and was at the very bottom of my swim team freshman year), and I was always expected to be pretty close to the best at violin. I never really challenged people’s views of me, because there was no need to; it was easier just to be who people thought I was.
In college, or at least at Mizzou, nobody cares about anything you did in your past. For the first time, it felt like I had a completely blank slate to start out with, and that was kinda scary. At first, I tried to be who I was in high school; I wore real clothes every day and never wore a ponytail and did my makeup because that felt the most normal for a while. Then I started realizing that all of these different ideas (see the first section if you skimmed over that part bc I probably would’ve too) were present all over campus and completely acceptable. I no longer knew who I was supposed to be because there weren’t any expectations.
This entire year has been a shaping experience to say the least, and this is touching on the most superficial part of it. I learned very quickly that I contradict every single group of ideas that most people face; I love clothes and fashion, but I typically prefer to wear athletic shorts and Chacos; I absolutely adore makeup and what it can be used for, but on a daily basis I only wear mascara; my hair is stupid and crazy but some days I can appreciate it, and although I love my body I also wanted to lose some weight. I couldn’t just pick one of each section like a lot of people can, and as weird as it sounds, that caused a lot of internal issues for me. I am a walking contradiction in every aspect of my life (trust me it’s more than just this stupid stuff and you don’t want me to go into all of it because that would take fo ‘eva) and I didn’t have an acceptable way to be anymore because literally everything is acceptable here. Put simply, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I haven’t until lately.
I’ve been trying to figure out why as a society we applaud people for doing all of the above things when they contradict each other. If you don’t fully understand what I mean, find a girl’s Pinterest stream and count how many times you see red velvet whatever recipes followed by workout tips followed by inspirational quotes about loving yourself followed by a smoky eye tutorial followed by natural beauty anything. It’s humorous. This had me baffled for so long and had me trying to figure out which area I fit into when it donned on me that we applaud all of the above because we support people being exactly who they want to be. We encourage people to do exactly as they wish (well, to a point) in almost every aspect of their life and I think that’s pretty awesome.
So in conclusion of this big long kerfuffle (I never mean for these to be as long as they end up oops…), I’ve decided that I’m going to just follow my gut, whether it’s telling me to wear Norts or a nice sweater because that’s who I am and it’s okay to be a walking contradiction.
In other news, this picture made me laugh so hard in my 500-person math lecture that I had to put my head down and focus on breathing like a normal human, so enjoy.
Oh and in regards to the title, (props to you if you’ve read this far by the way) the joke is, “Dang girl are you a pizza at a Chinese buffet because I’m not feeling it right now but I see you over there doing you and I respect that.” Ha, get it?