Section: Exploring Avenues for Personal Development and Professional Achievement
Some people will probably look at this PDP and wonder, “what could someone POSSIBLY get out of this? I do this almost every day!” And that, my friends, is exactly why I did this. I know none of you really saw me in high school, but I wore sweatpants every day, never wore any makeup, and always had my hair pulled back in a bun. If there ever was a day that I motivated myself enough to wear jeans, my friends would gasp in shock and at me if I was okay (note: I am not even kidding here. They actually did this.) Most of the time, I though it was funny, but part of me was kind of hurt by it. What was wrong with the way that I dressed?
I always felt decently confident in the way that I looked. If you saw me walking down the street, though, you may think differently, with my baggy sweatpants and my constantly pulled back hair. Subconsciously, I may have been afraid of people looking at me on that street, whether positive or negative. Or maybe I’m just really lazy. Regardless, I decided that for two weeks I would dress up every day. That means I would do my hair, put on make-up and wear nice clothes for two weeks. Disclaimer: for me, nice clothes includes anything that isn’t sweatpants. So, jeans with a nice shirt were fair game.
Side note before I get more into my experience: the weeks I did this PDP were October 30th through November 6th, and November 13th through November 20th. I had originally intended to do two consecutive weeks, but I misjudged the date of Hijab Week and had to break it up into two weeks. Oops.
Now, back to the story! Before I began this, the only difference I though I was going to notice was that I had to get up earlier. I was mistaken. Once I walked out the door on the first day, I notice that people were looking at me differently. Even people that I knew looked at me in a new way; they noticed that I looked different, looked older even, and complemented me on it. Honestly, it felt pretty nice to be noticed a little.
While it was nice to be noticed a little bit more, I couldn’t help thinking about why I was getting so much attention. I mean, yeah, compliments are nice and all, but aren’t other aspects of my persona more important than the way I dress? I think my personality is pretty great if you get to know me; so why should me wearing sweatpants everyday drive someone off from getting to know me? I think this PDP taught me more about society and their values than anything else. We all fall victim to ‘judging a book by its cover’ before we get to even know them. People are drawn into the way others look; if they fit what they are looking for, then they become worth your time. If I wear sweatpants all the time, then I do not exactly fit that model that society places on us.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I did gain a little bit of confidence in myself from this activity. I realized that I can look good in other clothes besides sweatpants, and it felt really good to have fantastic hair every day (I always feel great when my hair looks good). Doing this activity made me realize that I should dress up a little bit more; but it also made me realize that I can’t do it every day. It’s just not me. I value comfort more than anything, and if I am not comfortable in what I am doing, then I’m not being true to myself. And being true to myself is the most important thing I (or anyone else, for that matter) could ever do.