A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog in which I explained that we shouldn't judge people for their personal "kinks." In it, I confessed that I have a particular love of dressing up. That photo above? It's one of my favourite pictures of me ever.
So, what is it about dressing up that floats my boat so much?
Well, in reality, I can be pretty shy. Actually, that's an understatement. I'm so shy, that I get nervous just phoning up restaurants to book a table. And don't get me started on how shy I am around members of the opposite sex who happen to take my fancy. My general chat-up "routine" is simply to stand in a corner, stare nervously at the object of my affections and panic at the idea of having to actually speak to them. Whilst mentallyimagining how perfect we would be together, because I am completely normal, I swear.
Weirdness is what guys go for, right?!
In fact, I'm so shy that I don't even particularly like walking past large groups of people on the street. Maybe it's because I was terribly bullied at school and I have a deep-seated fear of that kind of thing happening again, but whatever the reason, I'm definitely not someone who has bags and bags of confidence and despite a genuine wish that I'd pursued my dream of a career in musical theatre, catch me on the street and I'm liable to shuffle my feet and question literally everything I say, out of fear that I sound like an idiot. Unless I've had a drink or two and then I'm much more confident. And I do sound like an idiot...
Still, as shy as I am whilst wearing my normal attire, dress me up in some ridiculous outfit and it's like a different Emma takes over.
A costume (or even just a slightly unusual outfit, or, on the other end of the scale, a really pretty evening dress) somehow becomes a suit of armour. A person taking the piss out of me in my usual attire will always get to me, despite the fact that I wish they didn't. But a person mocking a costume barely scratches the surface. Their words simply bounce off me, unheeded. More often than not, I find myself simply laughing at them, the way I wish I could when I'm normally-dressed. If anything, I almost pity the people mocking, because damnit, they wish they could pull off an outfit like this...
Albeit without the water stain on their crotch. I spilt a drink. I'm both weird AND clumsy. What a catch!
When you spend a lot of your life wishing you were more confident, it's a wonderfully refreshing break from the norm to find yourself feeling invincible. To actually want people to stare at you, for a change. To wander around, thinking: "bring it on."
And that's exactly what I think when I'm dressed up. I'm suddenly not just me, anymore. I can be anything I want to be. The character I invent in my head can be as confident as I'd like to be in my daily life.
Dressing up gives me a chance to unleash a side of me that I don't bring out as often as I should. It's fun, it's adventurous and it's incredibly liberating. Any chance to dress up, I grab with both hands. Seeing the Manics? Let's plan an outfit! Raising money for charity? What can I dress up as?! World Book Day? Well, you get the idea...
There are people who think that dressing up is for extroverts, or that it's a silly, childish thing to do. But for me, it's an exciting and intensely freeing experience. One I love.
I don't care if I look silly. I don't care if people stare. I feel fabulous.
So, my advice to you all? Find something that makes you feel fabulous. It doesn't matter whether people laugh, or if you look a little strange. If something makes you feel confident and gives you that buzz of excitement... Go for it!
In four weeks from now, I'm off to see McBusted. I'll be dressing as a "punk-rock cheerleader." And yes, there will be photos...