“You have the personality for it,”
He said, cautiously aiming the camera as he snapped the next shot of my awkwardly positioned self as we continued our photo shoot for the Ragfinery Fashion Show, an annual up-cycling contest up in Bellingham, Washington. This was my first ever photo shoot with an actual photographer, and let me tell you, I was talking at least 500 words a minute in an attempt to hide how nervous I was.
At the time, I had entered the up-cycling contest on a whim. Buying different pieces of used fabric to a bright red used dress, littering my side of the dorm with black and white scraps while blasting Halsey on my phone, and shaking as I took my first steps into a ballroom full of people in elaborate costumes. It made me realize a lot of things and it was a time for a lot of firsts. But the biggest thing, was that it was the first time I really began to take my life into my own hands, and shape it.
Ragfinery Cirque of Couture (2017) Photography thanks to Artificer Cascadia
We talked about how I had wanted to become a fashion designer and how he thought I could do it because I “had the personality” for it. Maybe I do, or maybe I don’t, but it got me thinking.
What about my personality has that kind of draw?
Do I really have that kind of charismatic energy about me?
I honestly don’t have an answer for that still. Throughout middle school, I met a lot of different kind of people and it really opened my eyes to how so many people experience different events, and how those events can be much harder than what I’ve experienced.
However, because they went through much rougher lifestyles, my problems were often invalidated.
“You’re lucky,” or “at least you don’t have to go through what I go through every day” were all common expressions.The thing is, they were also very valid. They were right. It forced me to look beyond myself; it made me realize that many people experience worse things than I do, and that those people aren’t just in the news. They were next to me. They knew me. And I wanted to help them.
But the problem was, how?
The hard part about helping people is that most of the time what happens to them is not only is the situation around them out of their control, but it’s out of our control as well. It gets to a point where you realize that, stuff happens. The first step to helping others isn’t coming up with a concrete solution, but I’ve found that most people just want to be understood. In addition to that, we all experience things through different perspectives and small things to one can end up as major issues to another.
However, since we all want to be understood, the hardest part to helping others with personal problems may be the fact that they’re not us. They don’t always do what they do because of why we do the things that we do. They don’t get sad and moody over what upsets us.
People say that, I “have the personality” for it, or the “mindset” for it. But, I think it’s a lot more than just an ambitious streak. It’s not just the positive revelations and determination, but coming to terms with our moments of clarity.
Eye contact still scares me. I have huge stage fright and my anxiety goes through the roof every time I get approached by someone new. But I’m also outgoing, social, and impulsive. Naive but jaded, energetic and courageous, yet terrified and inconsistent.
The painful moments where we realize that we’ve messed up, how life can suck, how things didn’t go as we expected. It’s about taking these moments, and using them to shape ourselves up as people and run with it. We’re all filled with so much different potential, but yet, we’re the things that block out our potential the most.
People opening up to me, and for some reason, liking me?
It’s overwhelming even. It blows my mind beyond comprehension and makes me always wonder why. Regardless of what reasons they may give me, it’s never enough.
Alike how we need to understand others to help them, I guess the most important step to helping ourselves, is to truly understand ourselves as who we are. Yet, how we see ourselves can be so negative and far from the truth.
How do we figure ourselves out and deal with it in a way that makes us happy?
With being everyone’s “best friend,” we need to have enough confidence in ourselves to lift others up. To effectively help others, you don’t need to be put together at all. You can be lost, you can be hurt. It’s okay to not be okay. But to see where others are coming from and lift them up, we need to pieced together enough in a way so that we won’t compare ourselves to other people. To recognize others as equally important individuals is so much easier said than done since we tend to see others as either above and below us when we’re feeling down.
To truly proceed, maybe there’s nothing to “fix” about ourselves, but really, everything to accept about ourselves both wonderful and atrocious. By accepting who we are and staring ourselves face to face, the painful revelations are the catalysts that add to our character development.
How has your character been developing?
Until next time,
Special thanks to Sammy L Photography for the amazing photography!