In the first week of earning my masters degree, I decided I wanted to dress the part. I don’t know if you’re anything like me but my clothing reflects how I am feeling. If I am tired or overwhelmed, leggings and a sweatshirt. If I’m feeling sexy, I’m wearing something that shows off the curves I’ve learned to love. For my first week in grad school, I wanted to feel powerful. The night before my day of multiple classes I went through my closet and searched for pieces that made me feel confident. After some careful consideration, I pulled out a new blazer I had just thrifted, a pair of brand new chic loafers, and a sweater vest I splurged on in my favorite boutique shop. My outfit made me feel like Meg Ryan in my favorite movie “When Harry Met Sally”. I know what you’re thinking, the 1980s romcom light academia aesthetic is very specific, and to that all I can say is let me live my truth. With my new look, I was ready to take on the intimidating world of graduate school and make complex learning theory my bitch.
I sat down in class and then my peer said:
“Wow…uh…You’re really dressed up today”
She looked me up and down. My stomach dropped. Am I back in the 8th grade? My palms felt sweaty as my anxious 13 year old self resurfaced. I scoffed it off and said I came from a job interview then changed the subject. I am still mad at myself for lying. I wish I had said “I was excited to wear this outfit, and I feel confident”.
I have never worn that outfit to school again. This comment rings through my head everytime I wear this outfit. Has that ever happened to you? You wear a piece of clothing you love but then someone makes a small comment that completely throws you for a loop? Make you second guess yourself? The comment wasn’t malicious, but it made me feel less than. Years of confidence building slashed in one minute, over just one small comment? I refuse to let others' perceptions of me dictate how I present myself and how I feel about myself. I have grown into a strong woman, into a woman who won’t like small nit picky comments bring her down. I am reaffirming my personal style and my self expression. Come next Monday, I am wearing that outfit again and I am gonna feel damn good doing it.