Sometimes I Think Things: The ‘P’ Word

Occasionally, I like to write serious things.. that are maybe a little bit challenging, funny, thought provoking etc (or maybe I THINK they are!) 

I thought I would share this article I wrote a while back as it is about being yourself, both in personality and style. It’s just a short one, it’s not fancy!

I originally wrote this piece for the zine I co-edit with my good friend Charli of Ruby Valentine. Our zine is called ‘Slimeball’ and is totally free. We explore monthly themes through creativity and regularly accept submissions from others. We love seeing how everyone else interprets the themes! 

If you would like any current/ back issues of Slimeball or if you would like to submit work please get in touch with us via our facebook page!

Here’s my article: The ‘P’ Word

The dreaded four words of my teenage years, the sentence which often solidified feelings of being misunderstood.

IT’S JUST A ‘PHASE’.

It’s the kind of comment that’s made by a parent in front of family friends at some kind of awkwardly enforced get-together, a comment which serves more to make the parent feel better than to actually explain anything. During my teens this little gem was whipped out to laugh away various risky subjects such as whichever bright colour I had chosen to dye my hair that week, why I insisted on wearing neon trousers or why I was being a complete bitch to my little brother.

I always felt like the ‘phase’ bomb was a way of making excuses for what I now know just to be teenage curiosity. Parents eager to tell the world I wouldn’t be like this forever.. it’s a temporary thing, i’m not a delinquent just yet.

Whenever ‘It’s Just A Phase’ was used, It would only serve to make me more determined to be that way forever, just to show them. Often I would verbally respond ‘We’ll see about that’ and argue that it would last. I wanted to be forever the rebel girl, with my ripped fishnets, terrible punk band, green hair and sulky face.

When I hit my twenties, I realised somewhere along the lines my aesthetic didn’t fit. I had morphed for years, moving organically from the 70’s tribute punk, to a less high maintenance punk look, to a jeans and t-shirt student, then a faux rockabilly style influenced only by a desire to be ‘cool’ before finally settling into this very eclectic mix of 1960’s vintage and ridiculous Harajuku inspired fashion, which is totally cool with me.

In that moment of realisation I also felt a swell of pride. Sure, the way I look might have changed, but my pride came from knowing that really… none of it was a ‘phase’. It was all me, It IS all me,and I still FEEL the same, I’d still describe myself as a rebellious individual, someone who challenges life, expectations and confines. I am still determined to ‘show them’, whoever ‘they’ present themselves to be.

What outwardly may be seen as others as a ‘phase’, I believe was integral to shaping me as a person. I look back and think, ‘But it was only my appearance’. I become genuinely baffled by the ‘phase’ excuse and why it even needed to be said. If a young person doesn’t experiment, or experience, or express then what kind of person will they grown into? And why are some appearances seen as ‘the norm’ while others have to be explained away with the P-word? Would it not be healthier to encourage transitions between styles, subcultures and interests instead of pigeon-holing everything into a ‘phase’ just for five minutes of a vague, self indulgent but totally imaginary, ‘grown up’ feeling?

Because finally, and this is another epiphany I have had in my twenties, let’s face it. Nobody ‘grows up’. We just get taller, sometimes fatter, and maybe a little better informed. Inside we are the same being as that teenager who was eternally jumping from one thing to another. That continuity of our personality and self is why really, there were never any ‘phases’.

© Kate Rosanne Johnson 2012

 

Kate xx

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