Somethings we just associate things with other people. Maybe your mum always wear Chanel perfume or perhaps your best friend religiously sports skinny jeans. One of those things for me is leopard print.
Every time we walked past leopard print, without fail my ex-boyfriend would point out to me that his ex loved leopard print. I nodded politely the first few times but then it became irritating. I’d see leopard print heading our way and preemptively brace myself for the reminder. That’s how leopard print became Olivia.
I wasn’t a huge fan of leopard print before, for no reason other than all my life I’d been told that it was trashy. It was associated with older women with no class or taste. My mum used to walk past it in shops and shudder.
A few weeks ago, I passed a pair of leopard print boots and they didn’t sing her name to me. They looked funky, loud and fun! Everything that I’ve been drawn to in clothes lately. I went to reach out for them when suddenly the voices returned. You’ll look like Olivia… Your mum will think they’re hideous… You’ll get mistaken for a 50 year old hooker…. And in listening to them, I swotted them away and took my manic waving hands with me.
The boots didn’t leave me though. The voices went away but the boots kept mentally resurfacing when I’d piece outfits together. I could see them going with everything. I could imagine how good they would make me feel wearing them. I wish I’d just bought them at the time. It made me realise I have a lot of voices like that (in a none schizophrenic kind of way). I still have the same irrational, restrictive thoughts pop up every now and again. This can happen with all sorts of things, foods I still refuse to try, movies I’ve already decided I hate.
I’ve realised the problem isn’t leopard print, it’s me. I’m allowed to change my mind about something and form new opinions. It’s still me and it will still be me when I wear leopard print. So, I will be buying a pair of leopard print boots and if you see me in them, ask me how I feel. I’m pretty sure I won’t say I feel like Olivia…