Dress code: big city vs small town experience

I used to live in a big city. Yes, the big city with lots of people, traffic, and general noise. I never really knew that city, and never felt like I belonged. When I came to a small town, I tried to fit in. Everyone needs to belong somewhere, so for me it could as well be the first small town I stepped my foot into. I walked around trying to get to know people, and be like them, because I was a no one and did not belong. I became good at imitating locals and could as well pass for a small town person. Or at least that’s what I thought was happening.

My today’s trip to a nearby city shattered my ideas about where I belong. As I was walking through the mall, I was feeling surprisingly comfortable with crowds of people around, which is, of course, normally not the case for people from small towns. A second later, I caught myself trying to smile at the people passing by – my smile being met by blank faces. A thought occurred to me, what if I, indeed, am a small town person. Everyone was wearing what a few years ago I would have called daily casual – and what I would call dress-up clothes now. I was wearing my casual – which meant a black tee a size and a half bigger than I am, and a random pair of black rolled up pants – with guys’ flip flops on my feet, because they are comfy. I felt out of place, lost, and could hardly believe what has happened. A few salespeople asked me whether I was not from there – meaning, not from a big city. To them I was a country person – some weird freak who should have been hiding in her village instead of coming to the gathering of people called the mall. And I was not pretending. That’s who I was. That’s who I am. And I have to admit, I am sad I lost my big city culture. I used to be able to pick out a stunning outfit in a few minutes and enjoyed wearing nice clothes. Now jeans and a sweatshirt is the limit to my creativity. I don’t see the point of wearing nice clothes, neither do I want to spend time trying to buy nice clothes. I am indeed a small town person. Not just pretending. How the hell did that happen? How did I lose the skill I never realized I had?

The funny thing is, I don’t belong to the small town either.

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Facing my life

In the last 24 hours I somehow faced my past, my present, and my future. And somehow I handled looking at it all without getting frustrated, depressed, sad, guilty, or whatever other feelings thinking about those might bring. Today, every second that I had to deal with something, like a memory, an idea, or the way my life is, or my options after graduation – whatever it was, I looked at it and I allowed myself to openly think about it and feel it. Some of the stuff I was looking at was scary, and some of it was painful. Some of it made me feel good about myself. Some of it was hopeful, and some – inevitable. A lot were facts that were just there – they did not deserve my stress, or my time – and they used to get a lot of both. I was surprised how I managed to face that all like that. It felt weird, but it was interesting and made me see new things in myself and in people around, as well as in my past, present, and future. I am starting to feel hopeful that I will get out of the hole called my past, and maybe, just maybe, will learn to enjoy my life for what it is.