I wanted to write this post partially as a journal to myself and partially as a motivational post. I started wearing Lolita Fashion officially in March of 2017. I was done with college and landed my first full time job. I met my local community, filled with people who would become some of my closest friends and splurged a lot in that first year, it was fun and amazing. Here in 2021, approaching my 4th anniversary, I’ve successfully launched my own Lolita brand with the intent of trying to build a new full time job. I can’t emphasize how much dramatically different my life looks because of this little hobby.
How can I properly express how much I love this fashion? Can I express it through a large wardrobe, full of pieces all self-indulgent and absolutely me? Can I express it through the days I spend just lounging around, smiling in a stupor as the glitters dance in my favorite pieces of plastic jewelry? Can I express it through the sleepless nights I spend scrolling through closetchild, fril, and mercari, window shopping and hypothesizing ridiculous combinations like I’m dissecting a complex math problem? Can I express it through the bitter defeat of a Lacemarket auction? Can I express it through the laughs I have with friends when we eat crepes and walk through antique stores? How can I express to others just how much I’m in love? We all wear Lolita fashion for different reasons and for me, it has always been love.
So why am I so unable to find peace? As a black individual, my life has no illusions. I’m very aware of how vilified my skin color is on a global scale. I see it through destructive societal systems, I see it through skin bleaching products, I see it through the lack of representation and opportunity, I see it through pettiness, through cruelty, through psychology. I’m aware and I’m plugged in, there are no illusions.
But Lolita fashion became a way for me to unplug. When I wear it, I feel so happy. I feel like I am the most beautiful person in the world. My feet hurt, my petticoat rides up, I’ve reattached my eyelash for the 5th time while trying to keep glue off my contact lenses, and yet I feel like the most powerful version of myself I have ever been and I fall in love myself more than I ever have before. Each and every time.
And even though I feel this way, even though I am full of self love, I am harshly reminded to plug back in. To be reminded that my beauty will always be ugly. To be reminded that my joy is meant to be destroyed. To be reminded to stay in a place of silence. I just want to wear cute dresses but racists just won’t let me. To let me means to let me discover that self love over and over again. To let me means to let me discover something that doesn’t thrive well in a system that vilifies. My expression of love counters every built function to hate. Regardless of how much pain I am forced to shoulder, regardless of the harsh reminders I am forced to confront, my love will always be stronger.
How can I properly express how much I love this fashion? I just want to wear cute dresses. And I will without apology.