Yup, this is the best title that I can come up with. It kind of reminds me of a Tyler Perry movie title, but hey it really sums up what I going to talk about today.
My experience: A black girl living with heart-tinted lenses to blind out all the black around her. Does it always work? Well no, but it is worth the try. When I started this blog in 2018, I was lost, sad, and void of personality. Now before someone leaves a comment saying you are too hard on yourself, or “OMG Gemz that is so harsh”, one: I know, and two: the truth can be harsh. I had no idea what my sense of self was or what I truly needed out of my life. Not to say that now I do, but at least I am closer. In all the years of filling up my days daydreaming of imaginary lives, education, and pressure, I never took the time to actually figure out who I am and what I wanted. Or rather there was never really time to think.
This blog was my first ever attempt to do something for me that had nothing to do with my parents’ education or obligations. Writing made me feel whole and if I dare say happy, but I still found that I was missing something. A puzzle piece if you will. And at that moment, I found Harajuku fashion or kawaii fashion. I was amazed and inspired by all the girls and guys I saw wearing bright colors and patterns and looking genuinely happy.
They were in a community that loved what they wore and understood their mindset. And truthfully, I wanted that. I wanted to be surrounded by people who understand me and wouldn’t look down on me or feel ashamed of me because I want to be authentically me. I wanted to feel wanted and ultimately, free. And so, I started to do research and follow the beautiful girls and guys in this expressive style and slowly started to make my “transition.
Was the transition easy you ask? No, no it was not. Honestly, if it was not for the boom of alt fashion thanks to Tiktok, I think I would still be struggling to find clothes that actually fit me. But I also find that it can be rather difficult to branch out socially as a kawaii girl. Whether it’s the call to be kawaii enough or the controversial yet non-controversial conversations of Are we sexualizing a culture that we know nothing about or are we allowed to even dress kawaii or even my favorite by far: Is the term kawaii a slur.
Battling all this on top of trying to navigate who you are as a person can be tiring and at times sad. my least favorite of all this is knowing that I would have to deal with this ridicule more all because of my skin color. No matter how much color I adorn it will never drown out the color that seems to mean so much to others.
“Because you are not Asian, you shouldn’t dress that way.” “You understand that you appropriating a culture right?” ” You are totally Asian fishing at this point.”
Why should these be comments I anticipate receiving on posts? Why do I have to endure other people’s cruelty just for wanting to represent myself in the way that feels right?
And let us not forget the fact that I am not skinny, so I know the fact that someone will eventually comment about my weight. All of this weighs me down sometimes when I dress. I know some people would say “don’t let it affect you”, but it does a lot.
I am someone who happens to have many layers, some I am still learning about as life goes on. I cannot be contained in a box or a category, and I know that can be frustrating for some.
My fashion reflects my need for freedom- freedom to be unapologetically me. My fashion is not meant to entertain but rather to uplift! I want my fashion to bring people joy when they see it. I want to fulfill that missing piece of identity that I lost along the way.
This journey of self-expression belongs to me and only me.
Will my fashion stay like this? Who knows. But I know that no matter what I will still consider myself a kawaii girl. The term kawaii holds a deeper meaning than arbitrarily meaning “cute”. The word itself represents a whole community and culture! If it wasn’t for this community, I would have never been able to find the outlet of expression that I have now. I am now able to heal from past traumas and be true to who I am. Being kawaii is not just a phrase- it’s a lifestyle! Speaking for all to see with a message of undying love and positivity to share.
Again, is being a black kawaii girl easy? No. But would I have it any other way? Never! I enjoy being who I want and expressing what I want. That I believe is the truest magic.