How Recent 90s Fashion Brought up Old Scars that Needed More Nurture

When I first noticed the 90s creeping back into our mainstream culture, I resisted it hard. I remember walking through Target seeing crop tops, jean skirts, scrunchies, and those plastic black chokers and I immediately became uncomfortable. I didn’t understand until I got home that I was NOT mentally or emotionally prepared to be reminded of the 90s. I, as many, many people did, experienced a lot of trauma in the 90s which I’ve been working on in therapy for some time. Friends shirts, clear mini bubble backpacks, and plaid skirts with a slit on the side (a la Clueless) all overwhelmed me with images of my childhood, particularly the not so good ones.

I resisted the 90s style for so long. I remember wearing clothes that my classmates mocked me for, regularly. And now those styles are trendy and cool and available at your nearest Target. I didn’t realize how deep of an issue this is for me. It revitalized the moments when I felt most alienated and scared. It reinvigorated the embarrassment I felt when someone would tease me and the entire class would laugh at me. I never really felt like I belonged. I wasn’t invited to birthday parties, cool sleepovers, or even to sit together at lunch. Only one person showed up to my eight year old birthday party though I had invited my whole class as well as people from other classes. I remember holing up in bathroom stalls to eat my lunch because I couldn’t bear the anxiety of asking to sit next to people at the lunch-table when I knew people would say what they always did: they laughed, looked at their gaggle of friends and said someone was already sitting there. Which they weren’t.

Now that I’ve realized where that anxiety and trepidation originated from, I’m a bit more open to “Spice” colored lipsticks, baggy overalls, and yes, even fanny packs. I purchased one not too long ago to try it out, but I still feel like some asshole wealthy kid will make fun of me. I just remind myself that is no longer me. It was a part of my story, but it’s not my current story. It’s so empowering to pump myself up with the knowledge that I have evolved from that lonely, Xena-yelling-on-the-playground, nerd. I’m sure those kids who were mean had struggles of their own at the time, and almost certainly do now. I’m still nerdy as HAY-ELL but with a lot less fucks to give.


2 thoughts on “How Recent 90s Fashion Brought up Old Scars that Needed More Nurture

  1. It seems to take all of us a long time to learn that we can’t accept other people’s perception of who we are. We need mostly to get to know who we really want to be, and then do what it takes to be the best possible version of that person. You seem to have done a terrific job of forgiving the people who were cruel to you as a child. As Michelle Obama famously said (I paraphrase here) “Where they’ve gone low, you’ve gone high.” Congratulations!

    1. Mae Goes West

      Well thank you for writing that. I understand that their behavior towards me was most likely a product of how awful they felt themselves. It was wonderful to grow up and realize that being “cool” or “popular” is so passe. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading!

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