How Chokers And Crop Tops Helped Me Take Myself Less Seriously

There’s a fine line between taking life seriously and taking life too seriously. Even though I’ve always wanted to be the chill girl who can miss her train and not care that she’s going to be fifteen minutes late and not have a voice in the back of my head start whispering ‘this is why you’ve accomplished so little since college,’ it’s hard for me not to get strung out on the details.  Like my porcelain skin and my big eyeballs, I get my high-strung nature from my mamma.

Even when I started smoking weed in college and became a total low key pot head (how typical, right), I was still high-strung, just you know, less often. Despite what all the “experts” around me suggested, my problem couldn’t be solved by recreational drugs alone because the problem wasn’t just that I had high stress, it was that I was just taking life too seriously, myself included.

“It pains me to say it, but I was a textbook basic bitch when I moved to New York.  Like the good faux-hipster I was, I shopped religiously at Urban Outfitters, had a closet full of cute, floral dresses, and would spend at least fifteen minutes trying to get my eyeliner on perfectly in the morning.”

After graduation, I did what most theatre majors do: I moved to New York, printed out a box of headshots, and promptly got a job in food service. In my case, I was a barista in Times Square. It was about as awful as you could imagine. I had to wear a uniform shirt with a monogrammed cartoon face of our owner on it, with a matching hat, and a pair of dark-colored pants.  If you forgot and showed up wearing a pair of jeans, you got in trouble.  Somehow, even though four years had passed, I found myself in high school again, where wearing the right clothes was everything

Not that I would have worn anything that much cooler to work anyway.  It pains me to say it, but I was textbook basic bitch when I moved to New York.   Like the good faux-hipster I was I shopped religiously at Urban Outfitters, had a closet full of cute, floral dresses, and would spend at least fifteen minutes trying to get my eyeliner on perfectly in the morning.  Even in the way I dressed, I was high-strung.  I thought that if I could just look perfect, my day would be better.  In a way, having to wear a uniform was the best part of that job.

“After months of acting like a moody cat, I sat down and realized that so long as I kept being this person, I’d never become the kind of girl I’d always wanted to be. I needed to loosen up and put on a f-cking crop top.”

I worked in Times Square five days a week, for eight hours a day. Since I was new in the city, with a circle of friends that I could count on one hand, my friends at work became my family.  The job was complete shit, but my co-workers meant everything to me.  I hadn’t felt this close to a group of people since high school, so of course I had to ruin it by falling in love with one of my co-workers.  And not just any co-worker, but my boss.  Who had a girlfriend.  And was also, you know, my boss.

I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that it was a disaster. And when we imploded, my life imploded too. As horrible as that job was, it was my rock. Work had become my life, and overnight it was filled with people who called me sluts behind my back, and spent the rest of the time giving me the silent treatment.  Obviously, I had to quit.

In the months that followed, I did a lot of soul searching…and by soul searching I mean getting stoned, crying in my room, and taking long walks with no destination.  I couldn’t let go of the feeling that my whole life was ruined.  I’d spent 6 months at a shitty job, fallen in love with a shitty guy, and I honestly thought I’d never recover.  I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t acting, I wasn’t hanging out with my friends, and I wasn’t having any fun.  After months of acting like a moody cat, I sat down and realized that so long as I kept being this person, I’d never become the kind of girl I’d always wanted to be. I needed to loosen up and put on a f-cking crop top.

“At the end of the day, it’s never about the fashion itself.  A crop top is just a few yards of fabric and a choker is just a piece of plastic.”

Fashion can be transformative.  Even though clothes don’t fundamentally change who you are as a person, they can make you feel better about yourself.  And they can make you feel different.  And they can make other people look at you differently too.  That’s the reason why our style is constantly evolving – because we’re constantly evolving and want the image we broadcast to the world to reflect that.

I’d always wanted to be the kind of girl who wore chokers and crop tops and left the house wearing whatever eyeliner was left on from the night before, but I’d never had the courage to let go of being perfect.  Loosening up my style helped me to realize that a perfect life doesn’t happen to you just because you wear the perfect clothes.  Or at all, because the perfect life is just a myth that’s enjoyed solely by fictional characters in heartwarming stories.

At the end of the day, it’s never really about the fashion.  A crop top is just a few years of fabric and a choker is just a piece of plastic.  The right combination of accessories isn’t going to get you your perfect job, or land you your ideal boyfriend, but it can change the way you feel about yourself.  And that’s sort of everything, or at least all you can ask for.  I’m still high-strung, but I spend a lot less time crying and obsessing about details.  I call that progress.  Life’s too short not to be the person you want to be.  Stop taking yourself too seriously, and put on a f-cking crop top.

Find Maria Pasquini on Instagram or Twitter.

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