There was a day in the summer of 2016 where I threw out all of my pink clothes. I hadn’t worn most of them in a while and, even if I had, this summer was one of reinvention. I just knew I was to no longer wear pink.
On my birthday every year, I archive posts from my Instagram that I think embarrass me. Before archiving existed, I deleted them and kept no copy.
In my storage container, I have a notebook filled with magazine cutouts of diet ideas, weight loss plans and How I’m Going To Look One Day. I called it ‘Project Summer’. I was the queen of the fad diet trial period.
And I was once a person for New Years resolutions. In the year I set them, getting a Valentine was high on the list. I blu tacked all my resolutions to the wall and I refused to let down public expectation. I had a Valentine that year. He didn’t last long after that.
I liked eyeliner throughout all of 2015. I wore as much black as possible. I listened to songs with lyrics as dark as the ink they were written in and wrote songs to match. I made my living from my purposefully unhappy identity. I took down all the wall photos again.
The summer of 2016 – that summer of reinvention – I wrote a list of goals that contained “no6. Lay low. Try to stay unnoticed”. I found myself asking if boys would like me better if I talked less. I spent money on buying remarkably plain clothes. I grew out my fringe.
And I quickly realised that abandoning identity was dumb. Willing myself into invisibility was dumb. Skimming magazines for trends and fads was dumb. Not speaking so boys would like me was the work of idiots.
So I started wearing pink again.
I was my own Valentine for a while.
Deleted less photos.
Refused to abandon my intelligence in conversations where what I said could matter.
Wore eyeliner whenever I felt like it and didn’t let it determine my mood.
I cut my hair short.
Got that navel piercing I said I’d only get if I had a flat tummy.
Refused to flatten my happy tummy.
Threw out the magazines.
Owned every word I said.
Started the act of identity again.
At the end of last year, I wrote my niece a list of things I hope she knows while she’s in high school. If she learns anything from the dumb things I’ve done, I hope she learns to make brave choices and love herself for them. I hope she takes photos of herself in extravagantly ridiculous outfits, learning to love the adrenaline packed inside blue eyeshadow.
I hope she is unphased by the chaos that surrounds her. I hope I can be like that too one day.