13 November 2011

Pink Meets Sparkles: A Story of Friendship and Frills

This was easily one of the best parts of the day shared with the best ladies in NYC! =3 I'm really glad we got a group shot!

When I was growing up, my family moved around a little bit. The moves themselves were nothing extraordinary, just to one suburb from another, then back to the original suburb seven years later. In retrospect, however, some could call the points in time at which they happened pivotal for social development. In short, while I dabbled in many different groups of friends, I never felt fully “in” one of them.
There were always jokes I would never understand or stories I was not there for so while we all made our best efforts at friendships, I felt perpetually in the background. College was slightly different, and I made some very important lifelong friendships there, but I still longed for that feeling I missed out on in primary and secondary school. To be honest, I nearly gave up on it. I forced myself to temporarily come to terms with that part of my life having passed. Little did I know that would all change when I found Lolita Fashion.
For some, these frilly dresses are much more than fashion (as I am sure I have iterated in previous entries and will again in future ones). They can involve, if one so chooses, a highly social environment which can be as terrifying as it is wonderful. One of the first things I saw when I was getting involved with my local community, the Chicago community, is Lolita in Translation by University of Chicago students Lokchi Lam, Christine Lim, Elena Guobyte and Jasmine Heiss. 
When I watch it now, I am a little embarrassed to say I tear up a bit. The reason for this is because more than wanting to one day have the beautiful clothing that these girls do, I wanted to be their friends. Today I can say that all but one are my friends, (I never had the chance to meet one girl because she left the community around when I entered,) and two are my very close friends. More importantly, they are my friends with or without the ruffles. I don’t care what they wear; I just love them.
This is how I feel about all of the friends I have met through Lolita, and I can finally say that I feel like an integral part of a community. To feel accepted, wanted, and loved are some of a human’s most basic emotional needs, and I hope that every young woman or man going through the kind of struggles I had can find what I have now. It’s usually a process, but I believe with enough effort and support, anyone can find it
Note: I say “usually a process” because everything I previously thought about the steps one has to take to “be included” was totally turned upside down when I visited Victoria Suzanne of Parfait Doll and three of her (amazing and lovely and terrific) New York Lolita friends. Firstly, I am thoroughly convinced that Victoria and I were somehow separated at birth despite the fact we are almost exactly a year apart in age. You know how when you first meet someone it can be really awkward and nerve-wracking? That wasn’t what happened at all. We couldn’t stop talking.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Before I continue, you may be wondering how two supposed strangers end up spending a weekend together. Well, like many, I was a reader of Victoria Suzanne’s blog formerly known as Lolita Charm, now Parfait Doll. I thought it was adorable and added her as a friend on Facebook. I had a feeling that she was someone I could connect with on a deeper level and after some time, I sent her a message relating to something that we will be team-blogging about in the near future. I was delighted that she replied and discovered she was indeed experiencing similar things. We soon learned we had several more things in common and have been corresponding ever since. When I learned I had some time available for traveling, I let her know right away, and we planned a weekend of pink and sparkly fun!
Since I had never been to New York City or the East Coast of the United States in general, it was fun to do a lot of the touristy things like see Grand Central Station and Times Square. Touring around Manhattan with four other people whose interests intersected with several of mine and who were familiar with the city was very awesome. It felt like I was reuniting with old friends rather than meeting new ones. (We even all ended up having matching hot pink cameras; it was so weird!) Some of the places we visited were Kinokuniya, a Japanese book store with stationary and other cute goods, Sanrio, Toy Tokyo, The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park, and Thai Restaurant, Room Service. Had I gone to New York City by myself, I don’t think I would have found even half of the cool things they showed me. 

in Stone Flower at the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park

This may be just me being emotional, (you know, if you haven’t realized I’m a sentimental lady by now, ha-ha,) but I really feel like I gained some friends for life. I am THRILLED to say that my doppelgänger and I will be rejoining forces again much sooner than I expected, and I will get to show her around my neck of the woods! 
I hope this little story of mine will help give one of you out there the courage to try and make friends with someone you have a good feeling about. It is important to respect others’ boundaries, privacy, and to be tactful if you decide to contact someone---both in real life and on the Internet. Not everyone will be open for friendship, but I think it is worth it to take the chance. Never give up on trying to find that friend and confidante you may be looking for. 
I almost gave up, and look how much I would have lost! When you can love yourself, accept love from others, and treat life with kindness, you are a truly beautiful person. You deserve all the wonder the world has to offer, especially the companionship of a person in whom you can see pieces of your reflection. 

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