Buying clothes was such a battle around here. First off, the sizes are different, and even if you think that the sizes are the same as the US sizes (say, it says “medium” on the label), believe me, they’re not the same. You’re in for an epic session of trying stuff on. But the worst thing, by far the worst, was when I had to go shopping with friends.
Shopping by myself was kind of easy. I simply never bought anything because everything I saw was too revealing. Simple as that!
Now, despite my friends’ knowledge of my background, they were unable to internalize what “modesty” meant for me. They didn’t get it, and even when I explained why something was not okay, they didn’t see why it wouldn’t be ok.
I remember a shopping trip with my best friend who picked out some things for me (because I was unable to find anything that I thought I would be able to wear). She had picked out a cute pink shirt that has some flowery ruffles on the shoulders. I tried it on and felt terrible. It had a revealing neckline – two fingers below the collarbone. I told my friend, who was waiting in front of the curtain for my signal, that I couldn’t wear this. She was surprised to hear that I found the neckline too deep, but because I’m so skinny, she didn’t per se question this – she wanted to see it. So she lifted the curtain just a bit, which caused me to hiss at her viciously and pull the curtain closed with a violent force that hurt her hand, all while screaming “What are you doing?!”. I was convinced that once the curtain was lifted, all men (in the H&M women’s section, lol) would immediately stare at me. Kind of like zombies in a movie, when they smell blood, you know?
When I think back to those times, I usually don’t remember the negative feelings as much. I rather feel regret at not buying a particularly nice top, or dress, or skirt. I once didn’t buy a dress that I was convinced showed off my back too much. Now I sometimes wish I had bought it, because it was unique and pretty. Ah well.
It’s funny how similar yet different we all are. After reading Melissa’s post on clothing, I realized that I’m not like that at all. I love things that are typically considered “feminine”. I think the most important area is make up. I wasn’t allowed make up growing up and have developed a sick passion for it ever since moving to Germany. I love dark eye make ups and red lipsticks. I love looking vampy, or “femme fatale”. I love changing my hair – colors, cuts, styles. I don’t believe this is due to my upbringing, I think it’s more of a rebellion sort of thing. But in a way, Melissa and I are still the same. We don’t care about what others may think. Being yourself, doing things that are fun to you, make you feel good, even when it’s not conforming with norms is really what it comes down to. I like to showcase my obscenely red lipstick at 2 PM. Screw your social rules. I’m happy with it, and if you’re not, you are free to look the other way.