True to Your Heart (you must be true to your heart!)
So, as I was preparing to write this post, I ended up looking up “True to Your Heart” on Youtube…and then gaping at the computer screen. We were so LAME in the 90s. I adore MULAN, and I actually liked 98 Degrees (during my ‘N SYNC phase–though 98 Degrees had nothing on Justin Timberlake), but really? Were we REALLY like this at the turn of the millennium?
1. We all looked like hobos in the 90s thanks to our baggy clothes (what IS Nick Lachey wearing? A fireman’s jacket?!).
2. We danced like idiots with our toe-bouncing and head bobbing.
3. And if 4 baggy-dressed dudes suddenly followed me out of the subway, I would call the cops.
Back to the purpose of this post–which was all about being True to My Heart (so really, I shouldn’t make fun of the 90s since I loved that stuff while I was livin’ it).
Last week, I went shopping. I hadn’t been in over a year and with the rapidly approaching Comic-Con and book signings, I was starting to get anxious. Every time I looked in the mirror, I would cringe and see a Josie Grossie staring back at me (90s reference. Watch NEVER BEEN KISSED and you will know everything you ever need to know about me).
So I thought: I’ll go shopping. A new wardrobe, some make-up–this will make me Cool and Pretty and Appealing to future readers.
Off I went, feeling excited at the prospect of finally getting some non-90s clothes and maybe some makeup. My first stop was the swankiest, trendiest store in the mall–a store that usually intimidates me because everyone looks so effortlessly awesome and the music is always so cool and obscure that I don’t actually like it. One of those stores.
I waltzed in, determined to find at least a few outfits and go home in style.
One hour later, after trying on all the pretty blouses and skirts and dresses, I staggered back out to my car, defeated and depressed. Sure, all the clothes I tried were “cool”, and they certainly looked pretty on the rack…but they weren’t me. The attendants might “ooh” and “aah” over what I was wearing, and even I thought I looked pretty good…
But I didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel like me, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually wear any of those clothes if I bought them. Some people can wrap scarves around their necks in the middle of summer (I’m lookin’ at you Parisians) and they just look SO COOL. But I’m not one of those people.
So I left the mall, feeling a million times LOWER than I had coming in. I was Josie Grossie^10. I was pond scum. I was so hideous and lame, no one would ever want to read my book, much less get anything signed by me.
As I drove, my mind ran through some other Very Cool Stores I could stop by. If I went home empty-handed, wouldn’t that be the ultimate sign of defeat?
It was at that moment that lightning hit:
This is why western culture is so consumer-driven–always pushed to buy more yet always feeling emptier.
Advertising preys on our insecurities.
Duh, right? It seems SO obvious, and I’m sure I’ve heard people say the exact same thing before…yet it never hit home quite like it did at that moment. There I was obsessing over changing myself–over buying clothes that I didn’t really like JUST so I could feel cool. Over dropping loads of $$ on make-up and learning to apply it when I don’t even WEAR make-up.
It was as if the clouds parted, light beamed down into my car, and the angels sang.
If I wasn’t happy with how I looked, then the first thing that needed to change was my attitude.
Then, if I still wanted to buy new clothes, I needed to by things that were basic and plain–things that suited me.
Basically, I had to CHOOSE to not be Josie Grossie anymore.
Guys, I cannot express to you how much this simple realization affected me. I drove straight back to the mall, went to the old stores I usually shop at, picked out a few key (and very basic) items that I can mix and match in my usual Sooz-style, and I went home smiling like an idiot and feeling downright beautiful.
And you know what? Ever since that realization, my husband has said to me every day–sometimes more than once–that I look great. He’ll kind of cock his head, give a half-smile, and say, “You look cute today” or “You look really nice.” He has no idea that I went through this identity crisis–he can just tell that I’m different.
I’m still wearing no make-up, and I’m still dressing pretty much the same as I did 5 years ago or even 10 years ago (although certainly less hobo looking). That’s who I am, and I think I like that person. All it takes is some inner shine, and we’re all beautiful.
So sing it with me:
True to your heart, you must be true to your heart!
That’s when the heavens will part, and baby, shower you with my love!
Open you eyes, your heart can tell you no lies,
And when you’re true to your heart, I know it’s gonna lead you straight to me.
I’m being true to my heart, and though it’s not leading me straight to 98 Degrees (thank goodness), it IS leading me straight back to me. And at the end of the day, ME is a thousand times more beautiful than that girl in the magazine because ME is absolutely unique and unlike any person out there.
You tell me: How do you battle the insecurities?
July 2, 2012 @ 3:44 pm
I agree. In TV shows, they usually show how the characters/participants change how they feel about themselves from the outside in(through makeovers, etc.), while sometimes neglecting that there are people who do it the other way around– like yourself. It’s not always about making yourself beautiful in order to feel that way, rather, it’s about knowing that you ARE beautiful and being comfortable with yourself.
Interesting thing about advertising, actually! Did you know there’s a documentary about how Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays contributed to the rise of consumerism in America? For example, he managed to make people want what they didn’t need while making sure it was to his clients’ benefit. He also staged events that changed how people perceived certain objects (like cigarette as a ‘torch of freedom’ for ladies in a time when only men smoked openly). It’s this if you’re interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmha8GmPxE4
As for insecurities, I think what Tyrion told Jon would best describe how I deal with it: “Never forget who you are. Others won’t. Wear it like armour and it can never be used against you.” Although it’s a lot harder than he makes it sound, haha.
July 3, 2012 @ 4:14 pm
Ooooh, that is definitely the sort of video I would watch!! I’m bookmarking it now for my lunch time (I love to eat my sandwich and read or watch something!). 🙂
And you’re so right about those shows going outside to in. I’ve done makeovers and gotten new wardrobes but not ONCE have I ended up feeling prettier. The clothes wind up at the Salvation Army a year later and the makeup is never worn. Yet…pretty much every year, I try it all over again. Never again!! 🙂
Sometimes I think an outside-in transformation CAN help someone, but I do wish we saw more inside-out on TV.
July 2, 2012 @ 4:03 pm
Aw, Sooz!! I adore this post. <333 So glad you had a breakthrough and came out on the other side strong and confident! And with new clothes to boot! 🙂
Also: I'm hysterically laughing at the nineties attire. Nick totally looks like he's sporting a fireman's jacket. And I thought the same thing when I saw them stalking that chick out of the subway: RUN GIRL! CALL FOR HELP! (Lastly, can we please have a Drew Barrymore movie fest? I want to watch Never Been Kissed and Ever After. Stat.)
July 2, 2012 @ 4:20 pm
Ooohhh can I get in on the Drew Barrymore movie fest???
July 2, 2012 @ 5:38 pm
When it comes to Drew Barrymore marathons, the more the merrier 😀
July 3, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
I know, RIGHT?! They all turn around and start chasing her. I would be freaking the f*** out!!!
And YES to Drew movie fest. We should just do 90s movies in general because SHE’S ALL THAT is kinda amaaaazing. Although….they’re all Cinderella-ish stories, huh?
July 2, 2012 @ 4:24 pm
*sigh* The 90’s had the best/weirdest movies ever! Never Been Kissed was equal parts hilarious, painful and ridiculous. It will always have a special place in my <3
I get over insecurities by reminding myself that, usually, its all in my head. If I don't judge people constantly why would everyone else? If I like myself and what I'm doing people are likely to agree. Its all about a good attitude and keeping stress low 😀
July 3, 2012 @ 4:17 pm
You know, you’re so right. I always think that being super self-conscious is a little vain since it assumes everyone is actually LOOKING at you to begin with. I rarely, almost never look at other people’s clothes or skin, so why should I assume they’re looking at mine? What I DO notice, though, is confidence.
July 2, 2012 @ 8:03 pm
I love this post! It really hit home. I spent years desperately trying to be someone I’m not, and it’s just like you said—that moment you decide to cut it out and be true to yourself is downright liberating.So so SO TRUE.
And all of the 90s stuff just pushes this post from a 10 to an 11. I don’t remember boy bands being THAT cheesy, but I’m not that surprised to discovery otherwise. And Never Been Kissed? One of the best movies of the 90s. Yep. Gah, 90s movies were so awesome!
July 3, 2012 @ 4:19 pm
Michael Vartan was such a hottie. I was totally in love with him…
It’s odd because I think being alone all the time (writing full time…) made all my self-doubts and fears bigger than when I was actually interacting with the world more. Part of my new “I Love Me” change is to get out more!
July 2, 2012 @ 11:03 pm
“I’m not Josie Grossie anymore!” NEVER BEEN KISSED is still Drew Barrymore’s best movie! I agree about the 90’s. We did have some crazy styles back then, but at least we had fun during the time!
As for current fashion, nothing is more fashionable than being comfortable. I know the kind of stores you’re talking about, the ones that make you feel more crappy about yourself when you walk out of them than before you walk in? Oh yeah, been there, done that. Which is why I just avoid those stores. I get it, I can’t pull of certain styles. We all have our own fashion style, no matter who we are. When I turned 30, it was like a light went off in my head, one that let me know who I really am. Being able to compete/compare with other trends just didn’t matter much to me anymore. I never cared a whole alot about what was in style or not, but on occasion, I did try to keep up. Whenever I did, I failed at it. So now, I’m all about comfort. I’m so glad you found what works the best for you and just went to the stores you’re more comfortable in (there’s just nothing better than basic or simple…it NEVER goes out of style)! Those are always thes best, aren’t they? Sure the mall has those really hip, trendy stores with music blasting so loud that you wonder if everyone inside has a hearing problem (oh gosh, I just made myself sound really old!), but when it comes down to it, they cater to a SMALL percentage of us. And eventually, those people will out-age those styles, so does it really even matter in the long run? Probably not. So I always say to go with what makes you feel like you. Because if you try anything that’s not you, everyone around you will be the first to notice, but not in a good way.
I’m positive you’re gonna rock all your tour stops! And your husband sounds like a very smart man!
July 3, 2012 @ 4:22 pm
Yeah, if I try to keep up with Cool, I always fail. I have some friends who are soooooo trendy and urban, but it’s FUN for them. They thrive on fashion and color palettes and accessories; I do not. I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to just accept I ≠ those friends!
Interestingly enough, I find the people who get the most attention aren’t the perfectly dressed but the people laughing and smiling and enjoying life.
July 3, 2012 @ 12:49 am
Brilliant post! I’m just about to emerge from a cooking pot where everyone seems to be yearning for this one “look”, I guess. (Talking about high school) They all shop at the same place, they all buy the same things and it’s pretty brutal if you stray away from the mould. It’s not as bad in the later couple years, but especially being in an all-girls school, the peer pressure you witness is absolutely ridiculous.
I think to some degree that the people you surround yourself with are an integral part to transcending this pressure. And I’m with Lori – I have an extensive variety of different styles in my wardrobe, but I only really feel like myself when I’m in my comfortable clothes. Seriously.
July 3, 2012 @ 4:23 pm
Absolutely–the people around you can make all the difference! The ONLY reason I survived high school was because my geeky friends were always there to support me. Of course, all us geeks are now some of the most successful of our graduating class. 😉
July 3, 2012 @ 2:43 am
You ARE beautiful, Sooz! I’m the same way with a lot of things. First of all, scarves in summer are HOT. Why would you do that to yourself!?!?!? I don’t GET IT. *ahem* Also, I have never been a big fan of makeup. Half the time, when I did have to wear it for plays and what not, other people had to put it on me because I had NO CLUE what I was doing. But I don’t feel like myself with makeup on. My eyes don’t look the same, even my smile feels weird and looks weird in pictures because I don’t feel like ME. It makes such a difference to know that you like who you are and what you wear. We are definitely made to feel like we aren’t doing something right, when all we have to do is something people are telling us every which way– BE YOURSELF. But I think it really takes a moment like you had for it to stick in our heads. I mentioned this to Sarah before, but I hate my nose. It’s big and awful and I focus on it in every picture taken of me. When I was going in to high school, my mom said I could have a nose job like she did, but I turned her down. I may hate my nose, but it’s me. It’s who I am and I don’t want to change that. I think it’s one of the best choices I ever made.
Hooray for accepting who we are! Have a blast at Comic-con! I hope you post pictures!
July 3, 2012 @ 4:25 pm
Oh, we’ll post pictures for SURE!!
And you know, your issues with your nose are the same as my issues with my teeth. I. Hate. My. Teeth. They are gigantic, stick out, and are crooked. They are all I see when I smile, all I see in pictures, all I see in mirrors. I desperately want to get braces again, but I have no idea if that will help. It might straighten my teeth, but it won’t make them any smaller… I think I’m going to have to take a lesson from your book and just learn to love them since they ARE part of who I am. <3
July 3, 2012 @ 2:52 am
Awwww! I love how your husband compliments you! It’s so very sweet!
You’re right though, advertising can be pretty horrible. It makes us think we need things we don’t want. I remember going to the ‘trendy’ stores to buy a whole heap of clothes, and in the end, I never really liked most of them or wear them out.
Actually, thinking you need to wear the right clothes can really affect your mood and your confidence. When I didn’t have time and wore crappy clothes out, I’d duck my head down and avoid eye-contact and got did my shopping as quick as I could, praying I wouldn’t meet anyone I know. But when think you look great, you wouldn’t mind lingering just so others can notice how awesome you look.
This is a great post, Sooz 🙂 And OMG at the music video. I haven’t seen it for years!! I totally laughed when I realized your observations were completely true. A fireman’s jacket?! What is he wearing?! Totally made me miss Mulan though, it was an awesome movie.
July 3, 2012 @ 4:27 pm
You’re absolutely right that the right clothes can affect your mood. When I put on my favorite pants/shirt/dress, I always feel like a million bucks. Not so much in workout clothes…BUT, at the same time, I’ve lately tried to not be embarrassed if I need to run to the store in yoga pants and a t-shirt. No one is looking at me!! 🙂
July 3, 2012 @ 7:34 am
I didn’t think I could like you any better, and then I read this post. You’re awesome.
July 3, 2012 @ 4:27 pm
<3 <3 <3
July 3, 2012 @ 6:26 pm
YES!!! I love you for this post. What’s funny is– when we Skyped, I was like “she’s so beautiful! I love her clothes! ..her mannerisms! ..her dog!” haha So- it’s interesting how we view ourselves. We ALL have insecurities, and I think you’re right about the whole consumerism thing. Sad but true. I just got back from a trip to France, and when I was in Paris, I really tried to just love myself with the few extra pounds I never lost after baby #3… I just walked the streets of Paris embracing the curvy, Renaissance version of me 🙂 It wasn’t easy– but I’m working on having healthy as my goal now—(instead of just skinny).
<3 big love to you– have FUN with all this book stuff!! CAN'T WAIT for SS&D!!!!!!!!!!!
July 7, 2012 @ 10:33 pm
Awww. Thanks, Happy. <3 You're so right, though–we see ourselves SO differently from how the rest of the world does. And I gotta say–even though I always feel like a scrub in Paris–there's no better place to learn confidence than the City of Light. The women there are all different sizes and proud of it!
July 7, 2012 @ 8:19 pm
LOL! Love your analysis of the 90s and the music video. I liked that song and 98 degrees too. Gosh, I haven’t heard ‘True to Your Heart’ in a long time.
I don’t know why Western culture is so into consumerism. Maybe because advertising is shoved down our throats — on TV, the radio and in magazines. Yet, the Japanese are probably more into buying the latest gadgets and clothes than Americans. I just read the average Japanese teenager spends hundreds a week on clothes, gadgets and entertainment.
I have to say, I’ve been able to pull off wearing a scarf during the summer, but everyone looks at me as if I were nuts because it’s 110 degree weather. Sometimes, I see awesome clothes shops at the mall and think I’d love to wear some of those clothes, but like you when I put them on…they aren’t me! I wear makeup, but I’ve been wearing less and less. Maybe we tend to want to look like someone else versus ourselves? We should be happy being us! Again, I think it all has to do with advertising. Definitely watch Mad Men!
What is the advertising like in Germany?
Btw…love NEVER BEEN KISSED!
July 7, 2012 @ 10:36 pm
You know, advertising in Germany isn’t THAT different. At the supermarket, it’s the same magazine covers–airbrushed, perfect, impossible. And on TV, you’ll see very similar advertisements (pretty people enjoying a product and attracting other pretty people). THAT SAID, I feel like actual TV shows are less one-look-fits-all. You’ll see more normal looking people, more diversity in shape and teeth and color. At first, I honestly found it disconcerting–“Ew, I don’t want to watch normal people”–but now, when I watch American TV, I’m appalled by all the make-up and fake eyelashes and impossible-to-achieve bodies.
September 7, 2012 @ 1:41 am
… הזרקת בוטוקס – הבעה קפואה נוצרת בדרך כלל אלו נשים עם חזה קטן ונפול. 5% וכי שאר גורמי הסיכון הניתנים לשינוי השמנה, אחרי בוטוקס, רמות כולסטרול בדם , יטופלו. כך ימנעו תופעות לוואי מסובכות … True to Your Heart (you must be true to your heart!) – Susa…