By staring at my photos from summer of 2018, I was haunted back to one of my most intense memories... A photo shoot where my appearance is truthfully presenting my state of mind - I was protesting for my own existence and being rebellious from the "social norm" at the time.
The figure of a perfect woman, a happy wife, a loving mother and a sweetheart role that society expects from women had quietly carved and shaped me so that the Haliun of the past faded away. What the public wants from you comes in a complex condition and is indirectly spoken through language.
One of the SILENT SOCIAL PRESSURES I faced was MOM DRESS CODE: plain loose shirt, skinny stretchy jeans, maxi dress, flats and totes. The thing about the mom dress code is - it's advertised, supremely socially approved and expected. When I was not wearing the code my guilt and bravery had to battle with each other for 'to be or not to be'. Plus one extra layer called DEFENCE MODE I used to put on. Back then instead of enjoying my son's precious moments I was busy self judging and comparing myself to other mothers. Sigh... Time has changed since I gave myself a title and a job.
Under the label of a stylist and a blogger I have received the privilege to dress however I pleased.
Here I am wearing black and white shoes, loose fit denim, waiters' like button down and 50's style sunglasses. None of them were really matching and neither looking fabulous or representing any kind of trend. This was my way of saying "SO WHAT?!" 2018 was for me breaking the shape and the figure I adopted in the past. Also, overcoming my fear of being and looking different in certain groups.
Upgraded Haliun governed by her one dimensional mind exploded like "yeah! It's show time!" People loved the image I created online and offline. For a while, appearing bold and wearing freely was fun. Strangely, I was still not feeling fulfilled or justified.
What am I trying to prove here? To who? What's the point?
The hunger of seeking validation from outside made me feel disgusted about myself. It took a while to figure out I am THE ONE who is not accepting myself as who I am. Many, many days and months of crying, self talking, personal journaling, revisiting my past issues, reading selected books, being in nature and isolation allowed me to face my inner conflicts. My epiphany included: consuming priviledged "freedom", rebelious acts, defensive moves, making noise about judging or cheering other identities and justifying who you are today, which are ALL unnessary once YOU accept yourself.
Furthermore, my realization about how social conditionings effect our behavior and make us believe that's how you are supposed to be, as Aldous Huxley exemplifies in Brave New World: "All conditioning aims that: making people like their unescapable social destiny" (Huxley, p.16). Just like fish don't know when it's wet; If recognizing the condition is hard then escaping from it even harder. But the inner calling is so strong you can't stop it.
Studying about existance, economy and the capital system connected dots from my personal journey to my marketing background then into my passion for fashion. Insightful enough, this shows how much we have alieneted from ourselves and how deep we have been exploited through science. How that information becomes the tool to orchestrate the masses, to sterilize, to divide, to unite, to mix and to confuse. It all makes sense now why I felt like an error and lonely. Why I was scared the most to dissapoint others and trap myself in. Also, the reason I stood out for my sake and I shall continue being me.
Two years passed since this photo shoot. From my personal experience, individuality opposes the social norm; I didn't break or change any "norm". But actually I found what's ordinary to me. Through my protest, similar minded people noticed me - we resonate.
In this chapter of my life many people (strangers) extended me an olive branch. Through them, through common sense, through the mutual belief, through the collabration, through the compasion, I overcame my fear and started to have a faith in me. To those who were a part of this journey, you have my unending apprietion.
Hope this story will help in your journey.
People help people!
Photographer: Baljma Ganbold
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper Brothers, 1932.