One Unexpected Challenge of Being a Fashion Blogger
For one reason or another, people often stare at me when I’m walking down the street. Not for the good reasons that you’re probably thinking of. Throughout most of my life, I have always felt like a bit of a misfit. I am on the taller side as an Asian girl (5 feet 6 inches) and I love wearing high heels (usually 3 or 4 inches), so I often end up staring at the top of other people’s heads on the street. Of course, I wear the bright colors of LIZ LISA in a mass of black in New York, so staring is a given.
My mom taught me at a young age that it’s not polite to stare no matter the circumstances. Apparently, I am the only person who was taught this lesson because most people have no trouble fixating their gaze on you and refuse to back off even if you look right back at them. Some people like the attention, but I absolutely hate it.
I put together a somewhat simple but kawaii fall outfit for this blog post. A striped knit top, denim dress, and short booties. Not outlandish by “normal” standards, right? Or so I thought. When we arrived at Central Park and started taking photos (where many tourists are taking photos I may add), people stopped and stared at me and my husband, the photographer with the most uncamera-like camera (an iPhone), like we are some kind of horned and winged extinct species in a zoo.
I am not really a shy person. (I am posting my photos online, aren’t I?) Most of these people are probably just really bored and are looking something to entertain themselves. What rubs me the wrong way is I feel like they’re criticizing me. The staring makes me feel judged and fills me with self-doubts, and I can’t focus on taking good photos. At this particular photoshoot, I got so frustrated with the constant staring that I stormed off and found the most secluded hiking trail in Central Park and proceeded with our work there.
Why do I perceive these looks to be negative appraisals? As a child, I was picked on a lot for different physical attributes. Either my nose is too big or my face is too round. People look at you to laugh at you; they don’t look at you to admire you. And most of them don’t have many nice things to say. When they say something, it’s usually to criticize. It’s a part of the culture that I grew up in. It’s a toxic culture that promotes the message that you’re not good enough. You wouldn’t believe the mean things that my own family have said to me.
I learned from these childhood experiences that the words you say have consequences, even if you don’t feel them. Growing up in that environment taught me to be kind, tolerant, and encouraging to others because I have experienced firsthand how damaging mean words and behaviors can be. They breed monsters in your mind that will haunt you for a long time after they are said and done, like the way you perceive why other people stare at you.
In that case, it’s up to you to defeat these monsters. They are really stubborn ones, so they may come back from time to time even after you have vanquished them. If you don’t fight them, they will always be there and manifest themselves in various aspects of your life.
It’s something that I struggle with, but I confront it every time we take photos for this blog. In many senses of the word, producing Everyday Kawaii has helped me grow.