I have always had somewhat of a love affair with collared shirts. I think it goes back to the age where I first started imitating my brother. He is 3 years and 9 months older than me which meant that anything he did was perfect. It also meant that as a young girl I liked some pretty bizarre things. The first day of fifth grade, which puts me about around 9 years old, we all went around the room and said our name, favourite colour and favourite song. While most had responses such as Spice Girls or Boyz II Men, I said 'my name is Kristina, my favourite colour is blue and my favourite song is November Rain by Guns and Roses' Yeah, not your typical 9 year old girl response.
Those kinds of A-typical attitudes continued on through out my younger years. It quickly translated onto my love of collared shirts. If my brother wore it then it mean I wanted to. I used only wear polo's or button downs. Why I thought that was a good idea I'm not sure. Looking back at some of the pictures I think really? I look like a boy! Not hard to see why since I based my style off of my older brother But I guess we all have our foolish moments. * The realisation of my lack of style resulted in a short hiatus from the wearing of collared shirts. The last few years I can count the number of times I have worn polo's and/or a button down on one hand.
Recently I have returned to my first love and have started wearing collared shirts again. Today I am wearing a light blue and white stripped, three-quarter sleeved, button down shirt. The top is a mock collar with a little ruffle around the top. Down the front, to about mid-stomach level are little ruffles along each side of the buttons. Very stylish and girly, quite a change from the manly collared shirt of my younger years. So girly in fact that one of the guys from my office said, and I quote, "you are looking very girly today"
Interesting thing is that is the only thing they see is the girly-ness of me. It is safe to say that the general population of the upstairs portion of my office thinks that I am useless. Now you might be thinking, really? useless? are you sure that is not just a Kristina exaggeration? Well, its not. I know this for two main reasons. 1) They treat me like crap all the time. 2) The one nice guy upstairs has told me that they think I am useless, and that they say so often. Not a lot of room for doubt there. At this point you might also be thinking, 'Well Kristina, are you really effective when you blog at work so much? Doesn’t that kind of make you useless?' And the answer is no, it does not. I do loads of work, when there is loads to do. But I do what is necessary, unquestionably. The reason they think I am useless is because I refuse to be their gofer/slave/secretary and do all the crap things they don’t want to do. (i.e. ‘can you be a doll and run along and post this for me?’) Also, because they are sexist and racist; they don’t like women, or blacks, or Asians, or really anyone that is not a white male who smokes enough to be mistaken for a chimney. At the end of the day it wouldn't matter what I did, they would still think me useless.
I am the 'girly downstairs' or the 'cute receptionist' (insert any other sexist, degrading and condescending comment here. I am sure I have heard it) So today, with ruffled shirt and 'girly' looks, the thought occurred to me. I don't care. I used to spend at least one day every couple of weeks crying in the bathroom. I avoided them at all costs, I would hide if I saw them coming, I acquiesced to one too many demands and complained to my husband on a daily basis about the horrid attitudes of the upstairs folk. But it doesn’t matter. It doesn't matter in the slightest since I can do nothing about it, but simply rise above it, hold my head high and move on. And it is definitely time to move on. Yes, I am a girl, but I am also unique. I was Slash from Guns and Roses for Halloween one year, I spent News Years Eve at a Poison Tribute concert, I met my husband watching rugby whilst touring around New Zealand, I could spend hours shopping every day and I am well read and well educated. The need for this self-encouraging pep talk? Because no matter what they say upstairs, or how much more I enjoy fashion and dressing up, it doesn’t take away from the fact that I am unique, I am different. It is probably true that I owe a lot of that to the years I spent following my brother around; but I have finally grown into myself.
I distinctly remember sitting on the plane on my way back from Europe in 2004. I was distraught to say the least. I didn't want to leave. I wrote in my journal that I couldn’t understand why I was leaving, why in the world I had actually gotten on that plane. I wanted to stay, I wanted to explore, and I was ready to break out on my own. Four years later, here I am. On my own (well, my own with a husband) living in Europe, being girly, working in the corporate world and still listening to Poison. And I love it. So welcome back love affair with collared shirts. I will proudly wear you in a girly fashion, knowing that I am not useless but in fact quite effective in any number of ways. I will rise above your condescending remarks and negative approach to life office people! I will act with kindness regardless for I know who I am. Why it took a collared shirt to help me move past the immaturity of my office, I just don’t know. But I am glad I choose to wear ruffles today!
* It must be mentioned that my foolish moments resulting from my brother were not just limited to close. Once he told me that he would come and play My Little Ponies with me. Around lunch time he told me to just sit in my room and he would be in shortly. So I did. And I waited and waited and waited. Finally, around the time the sun started to go down, my mother came in and found me sitting alone, in the dark. She asked what in the world I was doing to which I replied that since my brother had told me to sit here and wait that is exactly what I was going to do! Really what he did was simply remove me from the scene all day. He could play and do whatever he wanted without his dorky little sister hanging around because I was just sitting in my room, like an adoring fool.