Looking back now, I can’t say exactly when I made my decision. Small wisps of feelings and nagging whispers of thought had been floating through my mind. However, one day when I woke up, I knew I did not ever have to compare myself to anyone. I had decided that my best friend could wear whatever it was that she could afford and I would wear whatever I felt comfortable in.
“Umbrella skirt? Six hundred! Camo t-shirt? Four hundred! Cashed out? 1k!”
Why did I get so annoyed whenever I heard these remarks? I mean Olwethu meant well. She really meant well. No doubt, she might’ve taken it a bit uphill with the live calculations, however, it was not my place to get offended.
For the longest time my heart would beat with envy whenever Olwethu announced that she’d set off to get the dress that she’d been eyeing at The Fix. Since I did not have rich relatives and forking out a hundred’ bucks from my mom was extremely unlikely, I’d come up with a million reasons as to why I’d never, not in a million years, take the dress home.
Olwethu on the other hand, was not being spiteful. She was just sure to flaunt all that she had. Why couldn’t I do the same? Why was I not proud of what my parents afforded? The clothes I bought were not torn or faded. They did not carry an odour with them. They were most definitely my size and they were brand new from the box. Why would I feel ashamed then? Why would I feel bad about not having the latest trends? Why would I compromise my friendship all because of clothing status? I decided then and there that I too would flaunt the stylish bright pink dresses mama got for sale at the corner shop. Like an astronaut returning to earth after a very long time, I snapped out of my bubble to find that I did not ever have to compare myself to anyone. I was different and that is okay. I was not going to feel bad about something I had no control over.
It took self-searching, self-comparison and self-confidence to realise that I did not have to dress like her. She’d buy the costly clothes from the high class boutiques, whilst I’d look pretty in my cute dresses from the back of the taxi rank. It was better this way. She would not tell me how much her new outfit cost, and I would not feel ashamed of buying “cheap clothes”. We would both look amazing in our outfits of choice, and I would never have to feel bad about not being able to afford the clothes she wore.
Tell us: Are you comfortable in the clothes you wear despite the price tag?