BY ALLYSON MORIN
In early July I took a train to NYC for a vacation with my mother and sister. We stayed in a gorgeous room at the Double Tree by Hilton with a view overlooking the sparkling lights of the city by nightfall. We had a great time, ate a lot of great food, and saw Wicked on Broadway (it utterly blew me away).
This isn’t a story about any of that. This is a story about my fanny pack.
A fanny pack is a hands-free bag that fastens around the waist with a clip. Mine happens to have a rainbow pattern. Go big or go home.
I picked it up for cheap at one of those odd shops in the city. It cost $7. That $7 propelled me into the world of hands-free capabilities. I can no longer imagine a life in which I carry things in my hands. What am I, an animal?
The pockets sewn into women’s clothing suck, if there are any pockets at all. With my fanny pack I no longer needed to worry about my brick of a cell phone falling out of a shallow jean pocket. I didn’t worry about theft or forgetting it on a bench like a purse. It does its job well. Plus, there’s so much room for snacks.
Someone once told me, “If you like something, like the hell out of it.” I genuinely like my fanny pack. It’s brightly colored and allows me to carry the bare necessities (my cell phone, ID, car keys, and room key) with me on my run. It is a utilitarian option but that doesn’t mean it needs to be boring.
I wore it all throughout the NYC trip. I wore it on a trip to Virginia to visit my boyfriend. I took it to two concerts and it has seen countless mileage on runs. It’s the sort of thing that can work with every situation.
The trick is the confidence to own it.
At a concert with my family, I paired the fanny pack with a long colorful skirt and a white top. I remember my father looking me up and down and muttering, “Where did I go wrong?”
Well, wherever he went wrong must have been exactly where I went right. I realize I look a little silly with it, but that makes me smile. I am so sick and tired of limiting myself and what I like to fit in with whatever everyone else is doing. When I’m out in the world doing all the things I have to do I might as well enjoy the things I get to do. I refuse those Monday blues. Life is too short for beige.
I firmly believe that happiness isn’t something that happens without a conscious decision to get there. My outsides reflect my insides. I choose to look a certain way and surround myself with things that make me feel happy. I’ve cut off all my hair, experimented with clothing styles, picked up hobbies, had unconventional piercings, taken on new jobs, and changed up my makeup countless times. I’m a stylistic chameleon. I look professional when I have to be but always I look like myself. I’m not afraid to take a leap into new territory. At the end of the day hair is just hair, clothing comes off, and makeup meets its end by a wash cloth.
Sometimes things work out great, other times not so much…like yesterday while running with the fanny pack a few girls yelled an offensive comment out the window as they drove by. I’ve been told by some extended family members that my short hair (less than two inches long for most on most of my head) is “unfeminine”. As if the hair on your head is the only thing that makes you female. I just happen to like short hair. With my incredibly thin hair the style is easy to maintain and makes my bone structure look great. I–in fact– have felt more feminine, more confident, and frankly more attractive since I cut off my hair. I wouldn’t have known that unless I tried it.
So I’m sticking with that damn fanny pack.
And why shouldn’t I? Who says you need to be afraid to try something new? If you go through life always taking the safe route, you’ll get by… but you won’t get anywhere interesting. I won’t be who you want me to be if that isn’t who I am.
I aim to feel 100% uniquely myself… whatever that is today.