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Every morning I wake up and check what the temperature outside is on my phone. I hop in the shower and while showering I wonder what the appropriate outfit is for the weather outside. I mentally catalogue what is in my closet (solid tank tops, a few dresses, one pair of shorts). I think about the weather again.
I hate getting dressed in the morning. Is it okay to wear two different shades of grey? If I wear a red shirt with blue shorts and white sweater will I look oddly patriotic? Is this tank top a weird length? Does anybody out there know if this dress I have owned since ‘02 is still acceptable? What if people stare?
Before you know it I am standing in front of my closet and filled with self-loathing because it shouldn’t be hard. Why is this so hard?
There is a set of skills that I perceive other women as having that I do not. The ability to know what to wear is among them. So is knowing how to put on makeup, or wear “accessories.” The whole idea of Fashion makes me very uncomfortable.
I often wonder what the exact moment was when I discovered the feeling of self-consciousness. It’s odd - I remember being ridiculed for being Chinese in grade school, and I remember being made fun of for having glasses and for having “weird” food in my lunch. And I remember thinking life would be so much easier if I was just pretty. But the first moment of self-consciousness. I think that it might have been the shiny jogging suit.
In the second grade, I had the great privilege of getting to pick out my own outfit for school. I had a closet full of things that second graders wear. Overalls were pretty big back then. So were dresses with tights. But I had something very special I wanted to wear. It was a shiny two-piece jogging suit. The fabric was a highly advanced nylon-polyester blend, pearlescent in color and luminescent to the naked eye. Zeus himself would be honored to rule the heavens in this jogging suit, with Hera in a matching suit at his side. Fabric of the Gods.
The shiny jogging suit came from a recent family trip to Hong Kong, which is where all cutting-edge fashion comes from. I had surely never seen something like it in my lifetime, and the plan was to debut this small piece of the future of fashion to my second grade class. I might be very popular that day.
I carefully put on my shiny jogging suit. It slides on so easily, fits like a dream, and best of all, the top matches the bottom perfectly. I am giddy with anticipation, imagining what it must feel like to be so admired.
My parents drop me off at school, and I boldly walk through those double doors, on top of the world. I slowly head down the hallway toward my locker and check to see who might be looking.
And then it happens. I see that everyone else is wearing overalls, or dresses with tights. I look at my outfit and I want to die. I’ve made a horrible mistake. I want to spend the rest of the day inside my locker, hide my difference from everyone. I want to take it all back.
So I guess the question remains: what should I wear today?