As of the time that I’m writing this (10:04pm on Wednesday, March the 4th, 2015) I’ve just completed my second ever day at university. I’m sitting here thinking about it all. And it’s scaring the shit out of me. This whole ‘growing up’ thing is absolutely terrifying - I want it to happen so badly and I want to be all grown up and do adult things and pay taxes and cook all of my own meals and take full responsibility for myself, but at the same time I want to be 4 years old again and I want to be carried everywhere and I want to finger paint for hours on end and I want to make a mess and then throw a tantrum and have someone else clean it up for me. I’ve always dreamed of independence, but now that I’m starting to be introduced to it I’m not so sure that it’s what I thought it would be.
I personally think that the phrase ‘growing up’ doesn’t really do justice to the amount of energy it takes to fully transition from a teenager to an adult. You learn so much about yourself, about the society you live in and about the planet we live on along the way. You lose friends, you gain friends, and you begin to see the world from a completely different perspective. You start to question things. Your opinions change. You look back and grow to hate your early teenage self. You start to become a new person.
You don’t grow upwards; you grow outwards. There comes a time when you’re not just plodding through life like the upright trunk of a tree. You grow branches; the beginning of new learning experiences. Along the way, you’ll grow smaller branches simultaneously with the principal - a multi-dimensional learning experience that will eventually leave you feeling enlightened.
I love the person that I’m growing out to. I’m discovering things about my sexuality that I previously wasn’t open to feeling. I’m so much more confident than I used to be. I know more about my body and how it reacts to certain things. My anxiety has decreased immensely, purely because I’ve learned to organise myself properly so as to avoid certain things that I know stress me out and have a negative impact on my health. I’ve learned that I tend to act impulsively, and that’s not always a positive thing.
You have so much to learn about yourself, regardless of your age. You’re constantly going to learn throughout your life. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes - those are the times that you’ll generally learn the most. Don’t see your mistakes as a failure. See them as an area to improve; try to make light of every situation, no matter how bad it may seem. Take care of yourself. Have a bath every once in a while. Listen to some soothing music, take a nap, immerse yourself in a book. Don’t ever feel as if you have to be somebody, in particular. You don’t have to take a certain career, you don’t have to be somebody that you know you aren’t. Don’t ever feel as if you can’t do something.
There’s always a way.
It may take a while and it may take effort on your behalf but if it’s something that you truly want, it’ll all be worth it in the end. You’ll be okay. It’ll seem at times that you won’t, and times like those can be traumatic and can greatly affect the way you view your future, which can, in turn, affect the way that you live your future. But, you’ll be okay. Growing up is a superlative segment of your life. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes, but there’s always a way out of it. You can make it through the tough times. There are people around you that love you dearly. You have so much you can accomplish in your life, so don’t waste it worrying about things that you shouldn’t be worrying about.
We all struggle with being different in a world in which being as ‘different as possible’ is the new cool. It can be puzzling and frustrating pining after looks, styles, trends, meanwhile trying to be original, creative, and just yourself. Countless times people have come to me, asking ‘how did you develop your style?’ and, to be honest, I struggled with it for such a long time until I could say ‘yes, this is my style, and this is how you do it’. I’ve been through all of your phases; casual, goth, preppy, boho, high fashion, sophisticated, casual again, until I finally found that boho was my true, inner love…yet it didn’t have to be strictly that. I loved mixing in a bit of vintage and prep; just because you’re layered in stone jewels, doesn’t mean you can’t wear a collared shirt. That’s the beauty of defining your style, and hopefully these steps will help you develop a trend that’s truly you.
1. Find inspiration. First, it’s important to be open-minded and know yourself and what you like a little bit. Go through pages in magazines; circle what you love, and cross off what you don’t. Put an inspiration board on your wall, or make a Pinterest. Be honest with yourself; don’t cross off something because it’s sporty when you’re trying to be boho. It’s okay to have a mix. Narrowing down what you like and seeing it visually will truly help with developing your style, since you’ll be able to witness the common thread that runs through your likes and preferences.
2. Buy the basics. Hopefully after the first step (which is the hardest and might take the most time), you will have a sort of style in your head in which you want to go for. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the mall and buy every basic that fits your new style all at once, but if you’re trying to be edgy, go on a search for that perfect leather jacket and ripped pair of jeans. If you want a more high-fashion look, go for crisp collared shirts, leather skinnies, and pointy ankle boots, etc. Once you established having your own ‘must-haves’, it will be much easier to create outfits.
3. Accessories. If you’re caught between two styles, accessories are the perfect way to go about it. Like I said, I love myself some vintage, so adding boho accessories to a more old-school outfit is what works best for me, that way I can have my prep with some bohemian edge. If you’re stuck with wanting a polished outfit yet want a little spunk, pair those white, crisp skinnies with a pair of chunky, black studded ankle boots. It’s almost like college; majoring in high-fashion, with a minor in edgy. Those minors should be your accessories.
4. Put it all together. Once you’re confident in your style and wardrobe, don’t be afraid to have a whole trial-and-error type of thing between outfits; try on some jeans with your new shirt, see how it looks. Not everything is going to be perfect the first time around. By trying and seeing, you’ll find out what you truly like and how you’re going to go about your own style.
5. Little extra things. Having your own style doesn’t mean you have to limit it to just clothing; interior design and taking photographs are other great ways to re enforce the style you love the most. If you’re into minimalistic clothing, try making your room simple (only if you want to, of course). I’m not saying this step is by no means required, but if you’re in love with a style and want to stick with it, surrounding yourself in it is a great way to do so. By expanding it to other horizons (Instagram, your Tumblr, your room), it will make you feel even more inspired and even more inclined to find what you truly like. It’s like that saying; surround yourself with what you love, discard what is old and unnecessary.
I hope these 5 steps truly help with narrowing down a style for you, my friends! Don’t worry if you don’t get it right away; style is tricky, and it’s not something that might click right away. Just stay true to you, and most importantly, try not to copy everything exactly. The beauty of having your own style is just that; it’s your own. Add your own little quirks to it, and everything will be okay.