Thursday, 23 January 2014

Bringing Creative Back

I'm sure that, by now, I have established that I began college this year. And I probably have mentioned (once, twice, a gazillion times) that I'm studying interior design. Naturally, college is a new experience and it's bound to change me in some ways, right?

But the thing is, I'm pretty sure I have changed in ways I didn't mean to (in fact, I didn't even notice until yesterday!). You see, interior designers seem like pretty sophisticated creatures. Intimidating and powerful with their auras of perfection. Ambitious, talented and professional. Emphasis on professional. And sophisticated. I always think, if you want to find the most well-dressed, trendy and perfectly put-together girls on campus, come to the interior design studios.

Even in the midst of exams, even when we "dress down", we are still dressed up. Hair done, makeup done and accessories on, it seems we must be at our best even for 8am classes. And for a long while, I've been thrilled! Thrilled to be held up to high standards, thrilled to be surrounded by women who pay attention to details, thrilled to be among soon-to-be professionals. But I guess all the perfectionism took its toll on me.

Just like I pared my room down (a lot!) this summer, so I did with my looks. My wild, long curly hair was cut short, brushed smooth and tied back. My colourful collection of friendship bracelets and wrists covered in penned patterns gave way to a tiny pearl ring and some pearl stud earrings. My purple boots and blue sneakers were replaced with a sensible, neutral pair of each. And I began to wear makeup on a daily basis. All in all, I became as simple, smooth and professional as I could be.

But for a long time, I think it really took its toll on me. Probably one of the reasons I felt that this entire semester so far has been one out-of-body experience after the next. I just haven't been myself. My sometimes-messy-sometimes-neat but always a little zany self.

So, yesterday, I challenged myself to tone down the perfect fa├žade and add two (not just one) sets of beaded bracelets to my all-black outfit. Just a little self-prescribed medicine for some mild blues. And my goodness, did it work! Just feeling those bracelets weighing down my wrist somehow made me feel more weightless. A small step, sure, but I felt more like myself than I have all semester.

Isn't it fascinating how our appearances can have such a strong effect on ourselves. Yes, first impressions are made on others. But the lasting impressions are definitely on ourselves. I've decided to stop with paring down everything and just re-exploring my creative side! Time to bring all my bracelets, colours and crazy sketchbooks back! And you can bet I'm growing my hair out again!

I can't wait to see what my next phase of life is going to look like. Maybe it will be as creative and crazy looking as the last. Maybe it won't change much at all. But hopefully, it will be something new. Something that connects the put-together, smooth professional side of me with the slightly eccentric, really artsy side of me!

Here's to finding out!!

P.S. On the note of physical appearances, I'm happy that Dove released a new video! This one really emphasizes something I think we all forget: that our mothers really do pass on their ideas (insecurities and all!) onto their daughters. Also, it really helps turn a craze of 2013 (and probably 2014, too) into something more meaningful and positively powerful!


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