Hands up those of you who can say you’re the same person as you were five or ten years ago? Same morals, sense of humour, same friends possibly even the same spending habits? Well while our integrity may still be the same we can agree we’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t changed over the years.
Five Years Ago
This time five years ago I was single. I’d recently come away from seeing someone who “on paper” was unlike anyone I’d ever dated.
His family were wealthy, his expensive flat in one of North London’s most desirable areas. He hung out with hyper-privileged boys who partied hard (their bathroom habits were very 1980’s) and girls who’s hobbies included Daddy’s bank account (but bizarrely still wore fake LV bags). It was fun, it was interesting. It got me thinking about status.
Could I, in my last season shoes, be accepted in this circle of logos and Tiffany statement jewellery? I’d worked hard to get where I was, my London flat didn’t come at ‘mates rates’ and whilst spending on the latest designer IT pieces didn’t make me happy, friendships, people and traveling did. “Is that from New Look?” I was asked of my long black coat. No actually, it’s DVF but unless it’s got a stamp all over it it’s obviously not relevant.
I never said anything.
OK, it wasn’t as superficial as I’m making out. Among other things he made it clear he wanted to be a millionaire before the age of 30 and this work ethic I admired. At dinner I’d be told of his friend who’s Dad was worth £500m and unfazed I’d chip in with my funny conversation I’d had with a client that day. It was a good balance, it wasn’t pretentious and I never lost my ‘identity’.
But long term could this have changed? Are we as a generation of young women happy in relationships of wealth and association? Are we longing for status, marrying in to a world where we can kick back, pop out a few kids and live off the land (so to speak)? I guess the answer to that question would define you. For me, I need stimulation, I need a goals in life. I’d never be a ‘kept’ wife and I think I’d want to kill myself if I turned into a North London snob. I need my own hobbies, I need my writing time. I need a life of my own.
My own identity.
Identity. Reputation. Status.
Surely these are all just synonyms for ones character, a being, us an individual human?
Proving Our Worth
Like millions of others, I love fashion. In fact my entire life I’ve loved clothes and shoes. I remember the first time I bought something from Topshop (some 90’s combat trousers in the style of All Saints) and the first time I bought a pair of high heels. I felt it ‘reinforced’ my identity – even though I was about 16 and everyone I knew owned the same thing. Sad? Yes. Warped perception of society? Not really. Back at school, if you didn’t have it were you on the same level? Does it take one person to buck the trend and suddenly something else is in vogue? This is the teen version of acceptance. It’s pressure, it’s surface value, it’s stressful.
Flash forward to today and as I look on Instagram at bloggers and fashionistas I notice trends. Right now it’s affordable Gucci. Nearly everyone owns either a belt, bag or shoes (or all and I’m just as guilty). Do we as bloggers and fashion fans truly love the plain Gucci pieces? Or are we buying it subconsciously because we feel it’ll enhance our status? A quick glimpse onto a photograph and we spot the green and red stripe or the GG logo instantly. What’s your perception of that person? Have we become a generation who buys Gucci to prove our worth? Even to a bunch of strangers online? Ask yourself how do you feel when you buy an iconic designer piece and why are you really buying the latest must have piece? Are we portraying an edited life on social media and creating our own reputation?
The Girl In The Pumps
That said, I do of course speak about a select group of people.
As human beings we are each unique, each entitled to our own opinions and views. Some people are judgemental and outspoken whereas others are more care-free and easy going.
If I were to define my identity I’d say I was driven, curious and interested in writing. I can’t quite define myself as a ‘writer’ because I fear criticism from other, more established writers, particularly haven worked in media alongside some of the best writers in the UK.
I wouldn’t call myself an ‘influencer’ because I feel I’d be putting myself on the same lines as those with a million subscribers. I’m a blogger. Isn’t it funny, when asked to define my identity I’m conscious of reigning in the positives so as not to come across as big headed and full of myself.
Has defining our identity become much more difficult than it used to be? Now that I’m older (and a wife) it got me thinking. What does marriage make us?
Can that girl in the room with the new Aquazzura Milano pumps (to die for) really be a wife and mother of one? Is it possible to be the same person that we were pre-marriage?
Am I now someone who’s voluntarily opted to dedicate their life to looking after other people, putting myself second and making sure my husband is happy? I think it takes a strong person to maintain an element of their pre-marriage life. For me, it’s important to have an hour to myself everyday. Whether that’s sitting in Starbucks alone with my laptop, popping to my local shopping mall or even having a glass of wine with friends (ok a bottle, who am I kidding?). Losing your identity is something that many new mums worry about, me included.
Overall I want to live my life not defining myself. Those who live life on a quest to find their identity may spend years in a state of confusion. If you think long and hard, the answer to that common (dreaded) interview question “describe yourself” could be complicated. Even as I started writing this post I could see my notes becoming convoluted. I set out to write about defining my identity and status but status changes all the time. Whether it’s wealth, social standing or networking, a status can be moulded by you. Helping out at that charity dinner, helping other bloggers with contacts, even winning the lottery. As they say, money can’t buy you class or happiness.
How would you define yourself?