Let me start with the fact I love my parents, and I appreciate that I come from a conservative, sheltered background, but I’ve always been a bit…off. Though none of us can really identify what it is about me, my fam has alllllll noticed that I’m different from the rest of the group. I’m not a rebel; just incidentally unusual. Now that we’re older, my sister has opened up to me and said she admires me for always being myself (whatever that may be) and that she considers me a free spirit.
But let’s remember, “free spirit” is relative. By society’s standards, probably the most freeing thing I’ve done is get a little rowdy a college rager.
When I was a baby, apparently, people always thought I was a boy. Maybe it was the big, bald head or something. I don’t know.
My family always dressed me up in the cutesy OshKosh B’Gosh outfits; they pierced my ears when I was a couple of months old. Those gigantic headbands with the huge bow attached that screamed “My baby is a GIRL, and if you call her a boy one more time, I’m going to kill you?” Yeah, I wore those.
Maybe that was the start of how I learned to express myself.
I was a desperately shy kid. I was polite as I was taught to be, but I just preferred, when in the company of strangers, to not speak and bury my head in a good book. Social skills were not a strong suit.
But that didn’t stop the rest of my personality from developing. I needed an outlet.
First stop: clothes. I was a big tomboy coming up and those dresses weren’t cutting it anymore. I didn’t want them….ever. I ended up fighting my mom and aunt every time we went shopping until they gave in and realized that I wasn’t giving up until I got that matching denim Sean John set that was only in the boy section because “girls don’t ever get good clothes.” So there I was, beaded braids pulled into pig tails, pierced ears, and Rocawear tees with the newest Nike sneaks.
Thank God that phase is over……kinda. But clothes were the first step showing who I felt I was and what I liked.
Next: hair. I won’t go too much into this, because it gets really embarrassing after a certain point, but just know that I did just about everything I could think of with my hair outside of coloring it. Middle school was just, woof, rough. And yes, I did learn the hard way to NEVER CUT YOUR OWN BANGS!
I found out around age 16 that my dad doesn’t like short hair on women (which is weird because my mom had hella short hair like every summer), so I wasn’t allowed to get my hair cut until I was 18, and could take hair of the maintenance myself. So I waited; like I said, I’m not a rebel. Graduated high school, turned 18, packed for Tech, and 2 hours before the going away party, I got all of my hair chopped off. Everyone said they liked it…..except my dad. But he got over it.
Third: Piercings. Once I got to college, I started getting compliments on my style. Go figure. In fact, I think there was one point during the Myspace era that I readily admitted “Style is not my forté.” Chic wasn’t a word I think anyone could use to accurately describe my look. Nonetheless, I appreciated the nice words, but I was bored with myself. I needed to change something, alter the look. Tattoos were too permanent for someone with my personality, so piercings were the only logical choice.
I have 7 total. It’s my favorite number. They’re all on my ears; nowhere freaky. But still, it was a shock to my family. Piercings were a shocker. So I’m not quite sure how to introduce this new change to them.
Lastly: Tattoos. Hopefully, since I’ve already eased my way into the body art world, it won’t be too much of a surprise. I mean, my hair has been maroon and spiked into the air. Let’s be real. And also, I think my sister may have softened the blow slightly (at least for my mom) since she got a couple a few years ago.
I know that I was against getting one for the longest time, but I really want one now. I think it’s good for me. I’ve already started the process; the artist is drawing it for me now. I plan to get it on my right foot. So, with ALL that said, I’m very excited! I can’t wait to get it.
…..And it’s not such a bad thing that I’ll probably be moving away pretty soon.