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C is for Confidence | Aerin Flaharty

For so long I had lived in a bubble. Too scared to try anything new due to my fear of what people might say or think. These things are components that are not even considered anymore, one because it is all made up in my head and two because it just simply does not matter. Now, you’re probably wondering what this is all about. It’s about my appearance.

Ever since I was a little girl I have been infatuated with the world of fashion, but was always too scared to embrace it through my own skin. On days where I had a little more confidence, I would let my inner-self shine through. At the time, this was most likely represented by the most obnoxious item of Justice clothing to ever exist. And even though I would wear it on these days my ego had boosted, the clothing still lay in the back of my closet once I went to return it at the end of the day. This attitude pretty much continued into the rest of my life, something I wish I had changed sooner. I was always too scared to dress how I really wanted to and always so invested in how I would be seen. It wasn’t until the fall of my junior year that I had finally decided to change this mindset for the better.

I guess part of the reason that I decided to embrace my creativity in respect to my fashion decisions is credited to COVID. During this time, many people also changed their fashion as the world was starting to reopen. For some, this meant following along with current fashion trends, others cut curtain bangs, and me, well, I’ve always had the potential to wear what I wanted and what actually represented me, but I never did. The articles of clothing I started to wear were not new. In fact they had always been a part of my closet. The only thing that changed was my ability to wear them. What I am now grateful for is not this dreadful pandemic. However I am glad that it helped me gain confidence. Before this awakening, I stuck to two things. Leggings and sweatshirts. Don’t get me wrong, this go-to outfit has many benefits. It’s comfortable, it’s easy to find in your closet, and it’s so commonly worn. Every day, it was a battle for me to either stick to this outfit that had felt like home for so long or to try something different, something I felt existed only in my “outside of school” persona.

In light of COVID, I took this alter ego of mine and embraced it every day. I only decided to dress up on the weekends before the world was introduced to a pandemic, but with online school, I could wear my pajamas until my work was done and go on to wear something I truly enjoyed, without the fear of feeling uncomfortable at an in-person school environment where people would probably give me weird looks for dressing like I was attending a fashion institute. But when school did finally start back up again this year, I decided the days of me hiding my styling capabilities were over. I vowed to never wear leggings and a sweatshirt again. And by following my rule, I have increased my confidence and expanded my passion to continue my future in something fashion related.

The problem with this awakening is that I didn’t realize this objective sooner. COVID or not, I had the potential to get out of my head and into a sense of confidence. The thing about clothing is that you can be whoever you want to be with it. You don’t have to dress up everyday like I try to, but trying to be comfortable in your own skin is the most important thing.

Some people say, “school isn’t a fashion show.” I’d like to remind those people that the quad is just my runway. The world of fashion opens up opportunities to try new things and inspire others. It’s a wonderful universe where you can be whoever you want to be. So if one good thing came out of COVID for me, it’s that it gave me confidence.

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