Fashion: A window into my life


My mom had a passion for fashion; she wanted to become a model.

It’s true… I wear girls’ clothing sometimes, but let me explain.

My sense of fashion roots from my late mother, Jane Ann. While she was a strong, selfless mother, she was also a confident and inspiring woman. She believed in what she did and wasn’t afraid to stand out from the status quo. For the time she was with us, she was always changing her style. I can remember she would have blonde hair one day and red the next.

She grew up in Springfield, Il. and was a great musician. She played piano and sang, but as she got older, she aspired to be a model. That was her dream, but reality took a toll on her and she found jobs working bars. Fortunately, being a bartender is where she met my dad.

As years went by from my mother’s passing in 2007, I lost important values that would’ve been passed down from her. Since I was so little during her death, I never felt a true connection to her. I went through elementary and middle school a shy boy who was afraid to show who he was and chose to blend into the crowd.

As I anticipated leaving the awkward and hormonal stages of middle school, I was eager to burst from my bubble and discover myself in high school, but I wasn’t yet sure the best way to do it.

I tried so many new things in search of my identity. I joined the cross country team, I was a member of theater, I became an active participant in all things spirit-related, and I started making music to post publicly on SoundCloud.
It wasn’t until sophomore year rolled around when I discovered a huge part of who I am. I went to go grab my viola in the orchestra hall locker rooms. I was dressed in dark blue jeans, a pair of dirty vans, a boring t-shirt and greasy hair.

One of my closest friends, Lauren Ellis (12), eyed my outfit and said to me, “Why do all guys dress the same? There is no variety with their outfits.”

With that I said, “You know what… you’re right. Why can’t guys dress differently? Why can’t guys dress like girls?”
We laughed it off and went on with our days. It wasn’t until I went home and gave it some more thought. How come I feel pressured to dress so plain? What is scaring me away from standing out? Why can’t I try to be the change to this ever-so conforming society?

I woke up the next day more awake than ever. Though wearing women’s cut clothing isn’t the norm, why shy away from it? If I like the way something looks, why not try and pull it off? Questions kept flooding into my mind, and I became tired of pondering and wanted to start doing.

I started to spend a good amount of money on clothing. I’ve spent at least $600 dollars on clothing and shoes alone over the past two years. While I did blow through a good amount of cash, I don’t regret much. I bought all of these items hoping to boost my confidence and others self-esteem.

Everyday before school, I get excited to bust out a new outfit, show off a new pair of jeans that may be considered out of the loop, or wear shoes that you’d see girls wearing, but never guys. Everyday is a new battle to break through the status quo for me.

I wrote a song junior year that perfectly depicts the importance of doing, in this case dressing, as one pleases. These lyrics describe past problems that I’ve seen my peers and I face.

“We manipulate our lives to make it go our way. We hide behind a mask of lies due to all that shame. We pose for something new and controversy then we post it on our Instagram to make our feed look pretty, We don’t do it for ourselves, we do it for the likes, we do it for the comments that may subside. Then our mentality starts to become a sitcom where we’re dressed up in this fake clothes and this fake personality we’ve created to manipulate reality.”

To this day I still see fellow students fall under the same spell. I don’t dress outrageous for attention. I dress to shine light on a very important issue. We tend to obliviously fall under the environment we live in because life can become easier, but I want others to start to challenge the norm. Don’t let stereotypes define you. Conform to unconformity, not your environment.

As my journey through high school comes to an end, I am glad to have broken from the once shy kid I was. I have found, through my choice of fashion, that I should never be afraid to be who I am regardless of my environment.

Due to fashion and my love for creating music, I have felt closer to my mother than ever before. I am grateful I have the chance to continue the legacy of her everyday. I live my life for her. I put my heart on my sleeve in hopes to spark a change from the very threatening stereotypes that high school may bring. Due to cliques that form, people can feel locked down or left out very easily, so everyone should strive to teach peace and inclusiveness.

It wasn’t until senior year I truly saw peer pressure take over the minds of many close friends, and even myself. We can become so oblivious to all that happens around us, and we can forget to have our well beings in the best interest.

I encourage everyone to continue their lives eager to challenge the status quo. Choose to wear what you please. Don’t take judgment from others as reality. Conform to unconformity, rather than letting the status quo become your standards. Be the change you want to see in your environment. Don’t become that shy, lost boy I was; rather, become the eager, full of hope human everyone should aspire to be.