Sunday, March 11, 2007
i was a single white female...

Yes, I was guilty of copping someone else's style a la Single White Female (you know, that 1992 movie with Jennifer Jason Leigh). It started in college. Picture it: New York City, August 1995. I was (I thought) a self-assured 18-year old with a passion for writing, music, and literature. I was independent and a free-spirit --I had just moved from Los Angeles and haven't lived with my parents for two years. So when I moved into the dorms on Broadway and 116th Street, I wasn't even homesick. I did, however, miss my high school boyfriend like crazy. We had plans for the future, he was going to move to NYC to be with me, and we'd already worked out our lives. We'd move in together, I'd be a writer, he'd be in a band, we'd have day jobs until we hit it big, and that was that.

Or so I thought.

Enter reality (aka college). My freshman year roommate was a gorgeous, vivacious Korean chick named Christine. We got along great. We decorated our rooms together and shared everything. It was evident from day one that she was a popular, social butterfly. She immediately made tons of close friends, had 10+ messages waiting for her at the end of the day, and our room would always be visited by people --wanting to chat with her. Although I made a handful of really good friends (whom I'm still friends with present day), I wasn't the cool person that she was (or rather, the cool person I viewed her to be). She and her friends listened to hip-hop/pop music and I didn't. They smoked and drank socially, and I didn't. She went clubbing and and enjoyed the NYC nightlife, and I didn't (not yet at least). I suddenly felt like I've been missing out on life for some reason. It wasn't that I was jealous nor did I want to be her. It was more like she was the independent, self-assured person that I thought I was. As it turned out, I totally felt out of it. I lost my sense of self, and I didn't know how to deal with it.

The first thing I did was expand my wardrobe. Prior to college, I had my own unique style. I shopped at a lot of thrift stores (before it became fashionable), wore lots of dresses and skirts over tights and jeans, wore lots of black, and was considered to be artsy and creative. I only had 4 types of shoes: my trusty Doc Martens and 3 others pairs of black shoes (mary janes, workboots, and clogs). But compared to my roommate, I felt dated. I started to buy clothes like hers (trendy with a twist) and even asked her which stores she recommended. I also loved her jeans so I asked her to buy the same kind of jeans she had. So she had her mom buy them for me. Then she cut her hair short which I really liked. But I wasn't about to cut mine. A few months later, however, I basically ended up with a short hair style similar to hers (it was actually a lot shorter than I told the hairstylist, but what can you do). I picked up smoking, worked on my alcohol tolerance, and started to go out as well. I began to make Filipino friends (as I didn't have a lot of close Filipino friends in high school) and hung-out with them a lot. These new Filipino friends also had the same pop-culture tastes (read: mainstream) as Christine did. I boxed up all my old CDs: gone were The Cure, The Smiths, The Clash, and in with The Fugees, Biggie, and other hip-hop/R&B artists (most of whom turned out to be just one-hit-wonders: Queen Pen, anyone?). I felt like I had so much catching up to do since I wanted to fit into "the scene."

I didn't even realize I was copying Christine until I overheard a conversation between her and her friend Nicole. Nicole basically said "look, she's copying you. You guys have the same jeans, she cut her hair like you, and she's always looking at your clothes. I think she's trying to be you! Hahahah..."

Ouch. But like I said, I never wanted to be her. She just happened to personify what I thought I should be in order to feel like I "fit in." What Nicole said put things in perspective, but by then, I already had adopted this "new me" and I was letting go of "old me." College has a way of hazing you whether you are trying out for a sorority or not. I decided to go with "new me" and became one of the crowd. I broke up with the boyfriend (which is another story altogether) and started dating this Filipino guy (who turned out to be such a big-time asshole --again, another story altogether). I went to parties with my new Filipino friends, danced away to hip-hop music, and became your normal, average college chick. Inside though, I felt like I closed the doors on my old personality.

Of course the choices I made more than 10 years ago made me who I am today. Now, I've reconciled "old me" with "new me" and realized that "real me" is an amalgam of all my traits, passions, choices, and tastes as it evolved over the years. I realized that most of me never changed all along. It's all just under the rubric of "growing up." I'm still a music geek (and a fan of all genres), still a bookworm, still have a passion for writing, and back to dressing the way I want to dress. I learned that you should never compare yourself to anyone.

I am who I am. And I most certainly am not about to cop someone else's style. I like my own, thank you very much.


POSTED BY KAT AT 3/11/2007 09:26:00 AM |


Blogger Kai said...

Well I guess the fusion of new and old you makes up who you are now, and you're cool, so I can't even imagine you copying somebody else's style whatsoever. But anyway, I've always been different, in every way possible (from being fat to my weird music taste), so I don't know. I think copying is lame, while honing your own is awesome.

3/12/2007 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger Riss said...

Great post Kat. It's funny the phases we go through in life.

(Amen to the music thing though, that seems to be the main thing I've kept from each of my random phases.)

3/12/2007 11:55:00 PM  
Anonymous evi said...

i think every now and then we unconsciously reinvent ourselves. it is a way of getting to know who we really are and what we really want to be.

3/13/2007 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger Wil said...

I didn't have too many Filipino friends in high school either....or college....even now. Fil-Ams are just such a different breed from the Pinoys I know from the Philippines. it seems to me anyway. Christine sounds like a cool chick though. I'd probably copy the male equivalent of her in college, too. hehe

3/13/2007 02:09:00 AM  
Blogger Dexie said...

every kid in this world who tries to copy all those Popstars in Hollywood should read this. having your own identity is one thing all women should have. being inspired is good. but copying someone else is just not an ideal thing.

3/13/2007 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger marie said...

I think your story was just a part of ones growing up to maturity and eventually one finds the true self in her. Nice post Kat.

3/13/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous chase said...

Bravo! I love this post. Ive been like updating myself year after year. Sometimes now I couldnt even remember my old self

3/13/2007 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger MrsPartyGirl said...

i love this post, too! i agree, our personality evolves based on our inspirations, experiences, and maturity. just keep all your passions burning inside you. i'm sure, years from now, you may have a different style because there's much more to learn out there, but you will still be the cool chick you are right now. :)

3/13/2007 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Alternati said...

I love this post and I've seen the SWF movie as well.

I've been there. I truly wonder why "fitting-in" is as much a human necessity in college as, say, oxygen was. The cliques here extended even way back thru highschool. And it's these cliques that had me dancing to backstreet boys music. Gawd, I could shoot the highschool version of me. But then again as you said... that is part of who you are. I still listen to "I want it that way" when I want to feel nostalgic. haha... (Our little secret. :P )

3/14/2007 07:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Kat - I didn't ever fit in, and I was never cool, either. Maybe it's because I was in the chess club ... :P

- Steve

3/14/2007 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger Talamasca said...

Did that Korean gal resemble loud and bitchy Sandra Oh? You know, Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy? If she did, then yeah, she deserved the Single White Female"d" status. But good thing you haven't developed some sort of homicidal tendency. Haha.

OMFG our music preferences totally jive. I've been sooo into rock and roll and that kind of thing since I was a teenager. :-)

Oh and thanks for blog crashing! Come back anytime! Ok buhbye. :-)

3/15/2007 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Solaida said...

Tis amazing to hear that the hip cool independent chica that I know who has almost everything one could want actually felt like she didn't fit in at one point in time in her life???

Ever stop to wonder how many people actually sweated your "old" you while you were busy changing and discovering your "new" you back in those days? hmmmmm

I like you just the way you are: **KATRINA** =)

3/16/2007 01:12:00 AM  
Blogger Toni said...

This is very well-written, Kat! You are a very talented writer.

I think we all had at least one point in our life when we had to conform to what we thought then was right, i.e. "the scene." The great thing about experiencing conformity is that you more intimately discover how different you are from the rest of the flock. All it takes is the courage to let your truth shine. It's very much worth it.

And that experience has made you the independent, strong-willed Kat that you are! Bravo. :)

3/16/2007 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger kat said...

Kai: we're very similar...i've always had the "weird" tastes as well, which is what prompted me to "conform" so to speak in college. but i realize my error, and now i'm back to having not-so-mainstream tastes.

Riss:my ranging tastes in music act like a timeline..

Dexie: thanks! but i think we all have to go through a few phases in life before we realize that.

Marie: yes! very true indeed!

Chase! reinventing is always great! it's like finding new things about yourself!
Evi:: well said! you sum it up quite nicely!

Wil: haha...yeah christine was very cool indeed!

Shiena:aw thanks! and i think you are right.. we are constantly changing (but somehow our true character always remains constant).

Alternati: "i could shoot the high school version of me" bwahahha! high school was my high point... but i can certainly shoot my sophomore-year-college-version of me! but then again, it did add to my musical tastes so i can't be that bad!

Steve: we you really in the chess club? you smarty-pants you! and i don't believe for one sec that you didn't fit it! look at how many really good friends you got!

Talamasca: hahah! she was no Sandra Oh, but still just as cool! and come back anytime as well! we can talk shop about music!

Solaida: hm...i guess it's the old "the grass is greener on the other side" mentality, huh? but we all go through little phases in life that bring us both good and bad --part of the good is that i met all you guys! thanks for the love!

Toni: oh thanks so much for the compliment! yes, sometimes it is hard to hear your own voice when you're singing along with the crowd, so to speak. it does take courage and time to learn who you are. i'm so glad i'm done with that drama!

3/16/2007 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

I can't imagine you (or
Girlie for that matter) copying anyone else. I always felt you were original! I'd rather copy someone, though, than try to get people (who don't even blink at you) to like you. Believe me.

3/16/2007 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Analyse said...

i love this post. keep cool kat!

3/17/2007 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous chase said...

That is true! Reinvention is just like evolution

3/17/2007 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Bugsy said...

I think that what is important is you are happy with what you are today in which case, the bad decisions or poor choices you made in the past no longer matter.

P.S. Made the same comment yesterday but can't find it here. :)

3/19/2007 04:51:00 AM  
Blogger vina said...

i don't really like reading long posts, but this one i read in its entirety :)

3/20/2007 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger tintin said...

I read this a while back but was pressed for time to comment. I never went so far as to copy anyone else but certainly thought everyone else was way cooler than me. I was so weird. I still am but now I embrace it! And now I think I'M cool. :)

3/21/2007 12:24:00 PM  

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a wanna-be rockstar with mediocre guitar skills | mom to rockstar baby | guitarist in a band | 30 but not grown-up | this is all about my musings. music. motherhood. and mayhem.

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