The battle over my taste in clothing has been going on since I started picking out my own clothes. Being a Catholic School girl, I had to wear a costume every bloody day of my life (traditionally, they're called "uniforms" and so when I got to wear my own clothes, I was woefully unprepared, but raring to go, boy. I was going to wear the HELL out of some clothes, dammit, and no one was going to stop me.
I'll never forget, in the fourth grade, back when oversized t-shirts knotted at the side and leggings with stacked socks were the rage, begging my mom for an outfit to go with this trend. She relented, and that's how I once went to dress-down day at my school wearing three pairs of slouchy socks, a t-shirt that said "Breakdancer" in glitter letters, and LA Gear high tops. AND mis-matched chunky earrings. Of course, I still had to wear my awful, ghastly glasses, so the entire thing was a bust but MAN did I feel cool. Even when the combo of three pairs of socks plus tied-too-tight LA Gears made me lose all feeling in my feet.
As a kid, I wanted to make A Statement. I figured that I was horrifically unpopular anyway, and that maybe if I dressed unusually, people would pay attention to me. And Oh They Did. In the "cruel and unusual punishment" kind of way. But everything changed when I turned fifteen.
In my fifteenth year, a lot changed. I started dating a longhaired musician from the boy's school down the road. He was a senior, and I became tight with his friends very quickly, which is still a mystery to me, because I probably said three words the year I was fifteen. My theory was that if I didn't SAY anything, I couldn't say anything STUPID, and therefore would save myself the embarrassment that would surely lead to offing myself from The Shame. But the dudes liked me anyway.
This was also the magical year that was 1993. OH, 1993. How I loved you. How I STILL love you, because you gave me the courage to do things like wear Doc Martens and a motorcycle jacket with my school uniform. To borrow (forever) Metallica and Pantera t-shirts and start DIY'ing my clothes in order to have the perfect pair of long, ragged shorts that were, of course, paired with Doc Martens. And then there were the ubiquitous flannel shirts. Do you still have your flannel shirts? You bet your sweet bippy I still have mine. 1993 was the year that took me from this:
Heeheehee. Oh god, I thought I was so bad ass. But that was the POINT. The girl in the first photo was starting to go crazy. She had bipolar disorder and no one knew it. She was a fragile baby girl who just wanted to be safe and taken care of. The girl in the second picture could do that. And she did. She put the scared little Danielle in a high, high tower, safe from all the bad things, and she became Miss Banshee. And then the fun began.
My mother asked me again tonight about my "costumes." About how I'm 32 years old now and isn't it time to stop? I assured her that this was not the case. Miss Banshee and the clothes she wears, that's ARMOR. That's flak jackets and helmets and steel toed boots. And if I'm going to be in public, you best believe I'm wearing my armor. I mean, look at this chick. Would you mess with this chick?
That's Miss Banshee. She's not to be trifled with. And there's a very good reason for that. Because deep down inside, and sometimes, if she's being terribly, terribly brave, on the outside, is Danielle. She looks like this:
So I wear costumes. And I enjoy the hell out of it. I love Miss Banshee. She's as much a part of me as Danielle is. But sometimes she has to come out at take care of little Danielle, up in her tower of safety. Miss Banshee guards her.
And she looks fabulous doing it.