A story

August 10th, 2011 § 18 comments

Hello friends, can we get serious for a moment?  I can’t keep a straight face, but I promise I mean business.

Are you ready?  Because this post is about mascara running and having a big booty and untamable red hair and skin that freckles instead of tans and clothes that wrinkle when worn and feelings that get hurt easily.

Not specifically, but you understand.

Are you in?  Here goes…

Saturday afternoon, I was in a pretty damn good mood.  I’d had a fantastic Friday evening and a lovely morning with friends.  I set off through downtown Copenhagen to breathe in the energy of fashion week that buzzed through the air.

I was wearing new faux leather shorts (the first pair of shorts in many years to touch my legs that weren’t meant for sleeping or running in).  To top it off, I was wearing my favorite red lipstick (aka my secret feel-better-instantly medication).

Maybe the shorts were a bit much, but I was doing my very best to pull them off.  I stood tall, walked with confidence, and probably shook my booty more than necessary.  But goodness – I was wearing shorts!  This was a big deal for me (even when putting aside the fact that they were leather), and I was very excited.

My first stop in the city was to see K at the bar where he works.  He complimented me as usual, made me feel great, and sent me on my merry way through town.  Then I stopped by the store where my new shorts were from, and said hello to two dear friends who work there.  They too complimented me, and made me feel wonderful and happy.

“Yes, perhaps red lipstick is a bit too much for the afternoon,” I joked with them.  “But it’s fashion week – and I’m hoping to run into all the street-style photographers!”

With excitement and confidence, I said goodbye and left the store.  Shaking my booty too, I’m sure.

Little did I know that I was psychic.  Less than 10 minutes later, there they were.  The holy grail of Scandinavian fashion photographers – Daniel and Caroline from Stockholm Street Style.  I froze on the street, and peeked over my copy of the Dansk Daily paper at them as they emerged from a small shop.  I stayed cool, pretended to read the paper though my hands were nearly shaking, and waited.

Daniel noticed me first, and nodded in my direction.  I could have burst with excitement, but somehow I stayed in one piece.  Caroline looked at me, took me in.  The short redhead trying to pull off leather shorts and look nonchalant at the same time.  She shook her head – ‘no’.  They walked on, and my heart shattered across the pavement.

I wish this were the end of the story. Boo hoo, they didn’t take my photo.  Fair enough – leather shorts are trendy right now, maybe they’ve already shot this look?  And black and white together?  Red lipstick?  It’s been done.  I’m not pioneering new fashion frontier here.

But unfortunately, while I tried to pick up the pieces of my broken heart, the SSS team walked another 10 meters and asked a different girl if they could take her picture.  A super tan, very skinny, long blonde haired girl with frayed cut-off denim shorts and a Balenciaga bag that cost more than my rent.  They held her expensive shopping bags while she posed on the sidewalk, and I felt as though a slap had flown across my face.

They may as well have screamed, “This is what we’re looking for, and you are not it!”

I walked all the way to the metro station before calling my mother.  We’d barely said hello when it all came out.  I sobbed and sobbed on the phone.  Sobbed because I was embarrassed, because I was disappointed, because I was in shock.  Sobbed because I wasn’t blonde and tan and wealthy.

I sobbed because no matter how much confidence I had gained by losing 30 lbs, by starting this blog, and by having friends and family who support and encourage me – I could still have my self esteem instantly smashed into the ground by people that I don’t even know.  This realization was by far the most horrifying.

My mother dried my tears (amazing how she can do that so easily long-distance).  She reminded me there are always going to be people who won’t see you for who you are, but what do they matter next to all of the people whose opinions you truly care about?  Did SSS’s rejection of me mean more than the glowing compliments from my friends and loved ones throughout the day?

The truth was, it didn’t.

So I cleaned my face.  I bought fresh flowers just for me.  I waited for K to come home from work, and then I took him outside and let my favorite photographer document my outfit of the day.  Pleather shorts and all.

Because you know what?

That’s right.  I’ve been there, done that, and agonizing over what I don’t like about myself (or what I’m convinced other people don’t like about me) is the biggest waste of time and energy imaginable.  I’m not saying I’m perfect, and that I won’t sometimes wish I was tanner, thinner, richer.

But I am going to be happy knowing that nobody else gets to be just like me.  Curvy, pale, red and freckled, with the impossible courage to wear pleather shorts in public and consider red lipstick to be a perfectly reasonable mood enhancer.

And oh well, so I won’t be featured on Stockholm Street Style any time soon.  Instead, I have an in-house photographer who takes beautiful pictures and loves me just as I am – not to mention my very own lovely and amazing readers, friends and family who stand by me through thick and thin.

And these things, to me, seem like far more lucrative investments for my heart than the opinions of street style photographers.

Thank you for listening dears…. always  xxx

§ 18 Responses to A story"

  • Alex,

    You are a fantastically amazing and beautiful person and Stockholm Street Style would be lucky to ever photograph someone so wonderful. I’m glad you didn’t let them ruin you’re mood for too long.

    Lots of love from thousands of miles away,

    Katie

    • Alexandra says:

      Thank you Katie!! I can’t explain how nice it is to hear that from you. I felt pretty pathetic for letting it get to me like that, but I realized I’m only human and even the little things can have a pretty huge effect on my confidence.

      Thank you for the support!!! Sending lots of love back! xxx

  • Tanja says:

    You silly girl, I think you’re way cooler than Paris Hilton, mkay. Just the other day I told my sister about your lovely red hair and showed her your wonderful pictures from your blog. <3

  • julie says:

    dearest alex ♥ trust me.. i know about low self-esteem.. no doubt about it. i can perfectly see your point, and been in situations like it. it’s tearing one down. but we need need need to see the bigger picture, and to put true value into those things that makes sense to put value into. we can put a lot of value into a lot of things, but as you conclude yourself; does it make sense to put that much value into for instance people who judge you on your very outside, who only cares about money and where it can get you? we need to approach more simple: we are here together and yes, it is about puting value into each other, not take it away from them on superficial grounds. that is amazingly stupid considering the world we live in where the majority is suffering one way or another. refering to the place where i am these days, i really get to see how little people can live from and still manage to hold up a smile; and remember, the more you own, the more you have to lose, and the more you become afraid to lose it. we are here together and should put value into the little things – not how much money we have, not how much xtra padding we have or the color of our skin (….).

    again, i know this scenario very well: alex, you don’t completely realize how much value you have and much you mean to and do for the people around you, but try and trust it. and keep on going with that beautiful job of yours. <3

    when we put value into money and status we automatically divide people, because we cannot be at the same place everybody, and people will alwyas compare themselves to each other. we divide people and a lot will feel bad – we need to put value into those other things.

    • Alexandra says:

      Thank you Julie, for your honest and valuable insight. I agree wholeheartedly that we need to remember what is truly important – and it isn’t money or tangible goods. Your comment here emphasizes why this experience was such a shock to me: I had absolutely no idea that such a small, insignificant action could cause such sadness and destruction within myself so instantly. I was humiliated at the time, and I’m still embarrassed to share this story as it seems so frivolous, but I needed to admit that I am so far far from perfect. I need to actively remember and value what is truly important to me, so that I can remove myself (my feelings, my soul) from those things that are absolutely, irrefutably, NOT important.

      Sending you a whole lot of love, xx

  • julie says:

    you are so damn right. spot on.

    sending love straight back – and: ‘perfection will not come’, for none of us, for no thing. we can be perfect for some people, and we need to find those people.

    (and sorry, i really REALLY don’t want to seem superior, at ALL! my opinion is exactly, honest, but also humble and hopefully it is being understood in that way.

    //all the best

    • Alexandra says:

      Truer words were never spoken! They are the only people that matter. Your humble, honest opinion is always welcome here – thank you so much for being you 🙂

      Love love love, A

  • Pilar says:

    I have no idea what the Stockholm street style thing is but you look stunning babe!! If i ever meet those Daniel and Caroline, i will punch them right on the face 😉

  • So glad I was able to get your call up in the woods and talk to you. I’m with Pilar – but maybe we could just throw a pie? Whipped cream of course!

    love you lots,

    Mom

    • Alexandra says:

      Me too! I should have remembered to add that to the story – “I called my mom, woke her up in her tent in the middle of the woods, and then proceeded to break down in tears!” Very dramatic 🙂

      Love you! xxx

  • Carla says:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your post. You shouldn’t feel embarassed about writing about your experience – I think it’s great you shared it as I’m sure so many people can relate to how you felt. Sometimes I think it’s too easy to get hung up on your insecurities and not look at the bigger picture and what really matters, like our health, happiness, friends, family and partners. There are lots of things I don’t particularly like about myself but if I catch myself feeling down about it, I try to remind myself that everyone has insecurities and what you think about yourself is not necessarily the way others see you – quite the contrary in fact. I think most people are their own biggest critic especially since a lot of the time people are striving for a state of perfection which is just impossible. I can see why you felt the way you did that day but then I also look at the pictures and think you look great and that lipstick really suits you! So keep wearing what makes you feel good and forget about these fashionistas, just remember all the support you have from the people around you – they are the ones that matter the most. Carla 🙂

    • Alexandra says:

      Thank you for sharing this Carla – I couldn’t agree more! We are all our biggest critics, and it’s important to shut out that voice when it becomes destructive. Humanity isn’t perfect – we all have flaws and imperfections that make us unique and interesting. This experience sparked something in my mind, and I’m so glad that I could share it so that we could all talk about this here.

      Thank you again for your very sweet words!!! xxx

  • metsa says:

    Hello Alex! I’m reading your blog!

    So good to see you again and you’re even MORE beautiful than the last time I saw you two years ago in Copenhagen!

    Keep up the good work with your fashion taste (it’s so inspirational!) and this blog. Can’t wait to read more of it 🙂

    Serla xx

    • Alexandra says:

      Hello Serla!!!

      Thank you sooo much! I’m so excited that you’re reading, and thank you for your kind words!!

      I miss you, and hope to see you again soon! xxx

  • Sidsel says:

    Alex… SS took my picture twice – and they have never put it on the blog – that is even worse! Well, its the same!
    You look amazing, and I am so proud of you and the diet <3

    • Alexandra says:

      That’s ridiculous!!! Though you’ll never guess – the blonde Balenciaga girl’s photo hasn’t appeared either. I suppose we’ll just never be able to understand what’s going on in their minds…

      I have always loved street style photography, but I’m growing to realize how strange it can truly be. When you take a photo (or don’t take a photo, or take a photo and don’t publish it) you are making a statement of approval or disapproval, whether you mean to or not. Street style isn’t modeling – these are people’s own choices, their very self being “judged”. Are we less fashionable, less beautiful, less special if they don’t choose us? Of course not.

      But is that easy to forget? Definitely.

      Thank you love – you’re the sweetest!! xxx

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