In life, everyone has their own issues or problems and their very own coping mechanisms – it’s just the way us humans work. From biting nails or journaling, to meditation and our so-called ‘lucky items’, there are plenty of ways in which we find ourselves doing in order to cope with whatever problems we may have. For me, fashion and jewellery have been what I have relied on during all of my hard times.
Looking back, I’ve always been one for dressing up and looking pretty. Whether I was dressed like a Disney princess or just throwing on glittery outfits and heels to go nowhere in particular, I always wanted to be dressed well – casual was never an option for me. I was very much a care-free child who liked dressing up, but as I got older and became a teenager, it all started to change.
From the beginning of high school, I started experiencing anxiety and low self-esteem. I’d wake up in the morning for school with a pit in my stomach and I’d begrudgingly get dressed in what I (along with every other student in the UK presumably), thought was a hideous uniform. A chunky black blazer with small shoulder pads, a dull grey jumper, accessorised with a red and blue diagonal striped tie, and a knee length skirt just made me look like a building block.
I wasn’t popular, I hardly ever spoke up in class and god forbid I ever had to do some sort of class presentation. I simply stayed with my few close friends and did the work without bringing any attention to myself. I’m sure many of us found our teenage years were hard and high school to be a tough, judgemental place. The way that I viewed my teenage self was low anyway; when I looked in the mirror, I did not see a pretty girl, I sadly saw myself as a chubby and shy girl. To me, wearing an ugly uniform did not make me feel or look any better.
The one thing I did have at school to make me feel better were some silver, sparkling oval-cut zirconia stone earrings that I received as a birthday gift. Whenever I found myself anxious or scared of something, I’d check to see if I was wearing my earrings and I’d hold onto them for a while or keep touching them throughout the day. This is something that I still do, and I most likely will do for the rest of my life.
Outside of school was a different story, I felt that bit better about myself because I had control of what I was wearing. I could wear the dresses I liked, heels and of course, bigger and better jewellery; I gained more confidence. Of course, I didn’t just feel that way just because I was at school, outside of school I still had some ongoing anxiety and body confidence issues, but there was something about wearing pretty dresses and my earrings that just made me feel good and comforted. Outside of school, I never wore casual clothing and to this day, I still don’t.
At college I finally got the confidence to wear what I wanted to wear: big chic coats, skirts, dresses, blouses, always a heeled shoe and do I even have to say? A pair of diamond earrings. For me, college was a much better place. I was able to express myself in a way that high school didn’t allow. Wearing the clothes, I felt most comfortable in gave me the confidence to speak to new people, to do class presentations and just feel that more comfortable in my day-to-day life.
After finding some confidence and getting on with college life, my life got turned upside down. A very close family member became very sick; I felt as though my whole life was ruined and I couldn’t see how I could ever get through that tough time. My anxiety came back stronger than ever. I’m a closed book-type of girl, so I just did what I knew best- dress like nothing is wrong. To me, if I looked like I had everything put together, then I was okay. Perhaps it was my fear of letting people know what was really going on, or I just wanted to feel normal. Wearing my big coats, black heeled boots and my diamond earrings helped me act and feel more normal during that difficult time.
Throughout life, I know that I’ll battle anxiety forever and encounter more hardships; I know that I’ll carry on wearing the same style of clothes and earrings and just simply hope for the best. But in a world full of chaos and bad news, is my attachment to jewellery and fancy clothes even that bad?
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