Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mouse Girl

may 1 1

One of the reasons I like clothes and outfits so much is because they can speak for you. As I shy person, I often look to my clothes to do some of the talking. If I'm feeling down, I'll throw on a cozy sweater and jeans. If I'm excited, I'll wear a new sun dress. If I feel angry, like I want to kick someone, I'll wear some tough boots and my jean jacket. I don't speak up for myself very often, is the point I'm trying to make. With my clothes, at least, I can determine what I want them to say about me. Lately, though, I've been noticing more and more people speaking up for me, and it's honestly been freaking me out. My family has always done it. I'm the "baby" of the family, and have gotten used to the fact that people are going to baby me until I have babies of my own for them to baby. Baby, baby, baby, no. But I've started taking notice of people answering questions for me, making statements on my behalf, before I get a chance to do it myself.

What was worse was when I noticed that people outside of my family were doing it. I was out to dinner with people from my job, all older than me except for one person. One of them said to me, after I had eaten half of my food, "Well, what are you going to do with the rest of that, huh?" To which another person replied, "Oh, she's uncomfortable eating in front of people." Is it true that I'm uncomfortable eating in front of people? Yes. It's an inconvenient fact of my life that I explained to my two bosses the first time we went out together, so as to make the fact that I was obviously uncomfortable less awkward. Throughout the night, I noticed this pattern of people making statements for me: "She has a blog. She read at the open mic. She doesn't like eating in front of people." Now, these are all facts about myself that I have no problem sharing with people. But, just as in choosing my own outfits, I like to choose what I tell people. Having my own words bumbling out of other people's mouths is disconcerting. This has nothing to do with the people I work with, who I like very much, and it has nothing to do with my family, who I love dearly.

It's not something I ever really thought about, but it must have to do with me. It's not because I'm young, or because I'm "the baby." For some reason, I shy away from speaking up for myself. It ranges from all sorts of little insignificant moments, like raising my hand in class to asking a question at work, to bigger things, like upholding my standards for other people because I fear I'm asking too much, that I don't deserve what I want. In response, it seems that people speak for me, and most of the time at least, it's probably to help me. "She's shy, so I'll say what she probably would say in response to this situation." I know it's well-intentioned, but it's something I want to change. I write posts about self-worth all the time, though it's been a while since the last one. And this idea, of appreciating myself, and knowing that what I think and feel is worth shouting about, is something I want to embody, not just keep talking about. I'm not going to set out some plan for myself, like "speak three times in class, then go to an open mic and read for five minutes in front of strangers," but I will set an ultimate goal, which has been and still is to value myself enough to not feel like my words are foolish, to trust myself enough to give a voice to my own ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Blouse: Chloe's (which I wanted to wear once more before I sent it back to her!), Sweater: Forever 21, Jeans: Levi's, Boots: UO (old), Bag: JCPenney

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Until tomorrow,
Nicole

11 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, I can relate to what you have said here so. Much. I'm shy, too, which sounds cray cray but it's true. There's nothing wrong with you being this way, of course--to me, it sounds like you do it out of courtesy, perhaps to not make yourself seem a burden. You're just polite! :)

    This is a super cute outfit. I adore the texture of that cardigan and the little fringe details on those boots are precious like you. :D :D

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  2. I, too, am struggling with the idea that my thoughts are worth voicing. It's a struggle I often face and one I often write about as well, but it seems like a constant battle I fight with myself. I wish I had a blouse as amazing as that one to wear around town, though.

    feathersandbirds.blogspot.com

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  3. I saw this outfit post on tumblr post and came over to read because I loved the layers and the knit of your cardigan. I'm glad I read this post, though. While I don't feel like people speak for me, I am definitely more quiet. I feel like I choose my thoughts too carefully sometimes and it's mostly because I'm trying to be polite. I care more about preserving face and letting other people do what they're going to anyways. But I definitely think that you are strong enough to develop your own personal voice! You have great ideas as evidenced by the writing on your blog and there's no shame in sharing them out loud.

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  4. I so needed to read this right now. I've been struggling a lot lately with the same thing- I'm not good at speaking up for myself and I do anything to avoid confrontation to a fault. I too have thought of my clothes as a way of speaking for myself, because although if I get talking I can talk a lot, I really don't like sharing or talking about myself on any sort of personal level. I always want to hear every little detail about a person I find interesting, but I'm extremely hesitant to share any details about myself.

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  5. i can understand the desire to speak for yourself (or to not). and even though those statements are true... they're still not from you. i think its better to recognize those things, than to be unaware or uncaring.

    also, thanks for the comment :) i had a moment of celebrity worship since you're one of my favorite and most read blogs!

    -anna-

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  6. Wow. That sounds really infuriating! It's like they are talking FOR you. I agree that it probably was well intentioned but...yeah, that would annoy me. Props to you for being proactive about it instead of just pissed.

    In other news, you look awesome and I adore that last picture.

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  7. I love that top and how the collar goes with the sweater.

    Wardrobe Quarry

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  8. I hope you see that you have valid and meaningful contributions to make in all parts of your life, you know. As for this recent realization, maybe you can take control of it again by redirecting whatever statements people make for/about you? Not deflecting them, since they're factual, but taking the moment as a chance to assert yourself as the only authority on you.

    I don't like others to speak for me so I always make sure to do it first. And it has nothing to do with my extroversion and everything to do with wanting that control. <3 At any rate, now you realize it doesn't sit well with you & I trust you'll find a way to make the situation suit you.

    Oh yeah. You have amazing layering and I want that shirt!

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  9. Shades_of_MonetMay 8, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Oh man Nicole...I so just want to give you a hug right now :-) (Hopefully that didn't sound too creepy). I'm very much so the same way with the shyness and speaking up for myself...though I've gotten much better than I used to be. Even still, it's bothersome to me that I'm just so darn fearful of silly things like that. I'm always worried about inconveniencing people, or coming off as annoying or whatever and I really just think it's a silly notion that I made up in my head (it's odd how we do this too ourselves and create something that isn't true). I definitely let the clothing speak for me too. I'm glad I happened to be catching up and came here first b/c I really needed to read this. Hope you are doing well darling lady. Best wishes with all your end of semester work. xx Marisa

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  10. I don't know why but this outfit reminds me so much of Erin of Calivintage :) you look gorgeous, I especially love the blouse (what a lovely collar!) and the sunglasses.
    It's always annoying when someone else makes statements about you, even if they are true...I mean, why can't they let you speak for yourself? Who do they think they are to have the right to speak for someone else?

    Life is a romantic poem

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Thank you so, so much for taking some time to comment on my blog!