Where it all Began
I was 14 years old in the awkward stage of puberty, without a single ounce of confidence. I was and had been unhappy with my life for about two and a half years in the aftermath of loss. I did not know who I was or what I wanted and honestly I am still not completely sure. But, my love of writing and fashion brought me closer to figuring those things out. Before I developed my confidence and a love of fashion, I walked through the halls as a freshman feeling lonely, depressed, and like an outcast. I hid myself from the world behind a sweatshirt and leggings. I found security in wearing what was socially acceptable because I did not want to be judged. In some ways, hiding allowed me to escape a portion of the judgement teens face and fear in high school. That fear of judgement was extremely present in my life until I met my best friend, Emma. It was during the winter break of my freshman year of high school and our moms had become best friends. Emma had/has loved fashion since she was young, creating unique, edgy looks. Her outfits were far from the norm, but she flawlessly embraced them. From the beginning, I was inspired by her confidence, acceptance of herself, and fearlessness to be what she wanted. As we became closer, I shared my emotional struggles and insecurities, but she would never fail to build me up. Throughout my time with Emma, she took me under her wing, assisting me with my outfits and encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone. I always felt unsure when I would walk out of the dressing room because my lack of confidence told me I couldn’t pull it off. More importantly though I was scared what people at school would say. However, my time with Emma left me feeling inspired to change my own life and the way I perceived myself. Therefore, I began focusing on fashion. I would spend hours on pinterest and fashion blogs/websites, learning about the hottest trends. For the first time in a very long time I felt excited about something. It was then when I finally became so utterly sick of hiding from the world, from being unhappy, and from being an outcast. As a result, I concluded that I was going to be judged no matter what; instead, why not do the things that make me happy. In that moment, I stopped caring about all the irrelevant aspects of my life which I had burdened myself with. More specifically, I stopped caring about my social status, others’ perception of me, unnecessary drama, and being what others wanted me to be. I became me, Kelsey, and in doing so I learned to love her. Fashion became an outlet of expression for me. It was an opportunity to prove to the people I resented who I allowed to cut me down that I was different now. I wanted them to know that their words and actions no longer impacted my life. It was my way of rebelling against society’s norms. It is evident that students too often lose who they are in the midst of trying to be the person society tells them is acceptable. I want to help those students at SHP to escape the cycle of conformity through my unique fashion sense. But most importantly, I want those kids who feel the same way I did two years ago to know that it’s okay to not be or dress like everyone else.
By Kelsey Burns ‘20