2016 was a rough year for me emotionally. Not because of outside influences (it was a beautiful year, full of educational pursuits, change, love, and family), but because of turmoil within myself.
I’ve never questioned my faith and myself as much as in the time between 2015 and the whole of 2016, and that year shook me to my core. I always question–I love to question because i love to seek truth. But this time the questioning has been without answers. This time the questioning became only doubt, and the doubt sunk deep within, causing a feeling of nothingness and lack of identity in myself. I haven’t exactly recovered.
My identity has long been so tied to my faith and relationship with Jesus, and it was a wonderful and secure place for it to be. Do i think that there’s no way for me to have identity, especially the same identity, outside of that? Of course not! Of course i believe that i can be just as much of an Alissa Ashley Ackerman as always. But deep down i don’t feel entirely in agreement that it’s true that i am still me right now.
I still think i believe in a Creator and Author who allows us to be co-creators and co-authors with It/He/She…But i’m currently lost about what the details actually look like, and my fight with myself brings me shame…which has been a dark hole to fall through. In my confusion over the last year, i’ve nearly quit searching for answers…I don’t want that to be that way. I want to seek truth. If that truth is afterall Christ, i can’t tell you how overjoyed i will be. But no matter what, i must humbly seek truth.
Within all this, i’ve realized changes in my fashion choices.
Really, i’ve seen nearly no fashion choices at all. I’ve gotten lazy about my daily choices in how i dress myself. Lately, i simply throw on what feels comfortable in the moment, with no consideration of it at all. The personality and creativity i loved (and that somehow came so easy) to add to each outfit became too difficult to muster up. My current wardrobe is an expression of my current existential crisis.
I find it interesting to think that our fashion choices (or lack of) can speak without us trying to make them say anything. Sure i knew this, but i don’t think about it all that much. Here i’ve been wanting to blog about how to purposefully shout out to the world about all we love, and all we are, by using the clothes we wear–but of course, without trying, our subconscious can already do this for us, showing what’s true of us in the moment.
I don’t want to be misunderstood here. What our subconscious clothing choices say about us may not be obvious at first glance, and depression can be difficult to see. Dressing simply or casually certainly doesn’t automatically mean that a person is depressed (it can be a great style choice). But in context, it can be a clue:
I like to put thought into every outfit. I like color contrast, lace, feminine patterns, and the occasional bold leathers. I like to layer. I like to think about what specific colors can say, or do, about how i feel or want to feel. If none of these things are present in my outfit–if i’m wearing only a tee-shirt or sweater with jeans or leggings, and there’s no practical reason for it…it’s likely that something is off.
For now, this is where i am at.
My subconscious is screaming out for honesty, while i am too afraid to admit that i am struggling, lazy in my pursuit for truth, and altogether confused about who i am.
Thank you subconscious for being honest. Now in deeper realization, and in willingness to be consciously honest, maybe i can grow.
For a creative way to face emotional crises, check out: this post.