|The pants in question|
Early last year at Saint Vinnies in Grafton I found a pair of bright orange jeans. At first I pulled them off the rack to laugh at them. Because they were such an outrageous colour. But I feel in love with them instead. The cut was loose and kind of old fashioned but they fit me. They were Ralph Lauren too. There is a ‘labels’ rack at Vinnies but the old ladies tend to shelve items from Millers and Suzanne Grae there. Sooner or later someone will explain what ‘labels’ actually mean. That will be a sad day. The out-dated designer jeans cost me $4.
The thing about these jeans though was that they were more than just outrageously coloured leg-wear. These pants were conceptual. I loved the idea of being the kind of person who wore orange pants. I could never really work out what kind of person that was but that wasn’t really important. I wore the pants and pretended that I knew. And sometimes that I was.
Last week while running late for uni I found myself having a minor wardrobe crisis. I was sick of my jeans and didn’t have time to go to the effort of stockings. Riffling through my cupboard in search of alternatives I found my orange pants. I hadn’t worn them for ages.
Walking across uni to class I realised something. The slightly clashing combination of orange and purple wasn’t much of a step up from the turquoise tights I’d been wearing the day before. The slight feeling of ridiculousness that had always overhung me on days when I pulled these on was gone. My pants weren’t conceptual anymore. Suddenly they were just pants. Because, without realising it, I’d become that thing I’d spent so much time contemplating.
I am the kind of person who wears orange pants.
Maybe this seems like a pointless rant about clothing. But its rather a lot deeper than that. I’ve always believed that confidence is an act. No-one is naturally confident. You get that way through practice. If you pretend to be on top of the situation then other people will believe that you are. Sooner or later you even start to believe yourself.
Some things I’m quiet good at. I’m now quite good at sending random stabs in the dark via email and bracing myself for rejection. I’m quiet good at starting conversations with friendly looking randoms (although it still makes me awfully nervous). I’ve learnt how to politely tell someone I’ve forgotten their name. I’m even learning to make small talk with check-out chicks.
But there are lots of other things I can’t do yet. I’m still terrified of stupid things like loneliness. There’s still a little part of me that, when someone looks me up and down while I’m wearing my orange pants, worries that they’re judging me.
At the moment I feel as though I’m ahead of myself. As though I’ve become this elusive person I’ve been aiming for too quickly and large sections of my identity are jogging to catch up.
As always, I’m basically making it up as I go along.