Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Shake the Shell Shock - Thoughts and Reflections on Approaching Those You Admire in Lolita Fashion

When it comes to Lolita fashion, it's easy to become caught up in the e-fame game, idols, tumblr queens, etc. It's also to become intimidated by those who have acquired high levels of fame when you meet them in person (or even interact with online.) It's crazy sometimes, because it's like we tend to forget that these lolitas are just like us, regular people, but the celebrity sensation easily takes that over sometimes.

Even beyond that of e-famous lolitas, it's easy to become scared to approach or become intimidated by lolitas with high caliber coordination skills, or even simply those who are more "socially gifted" if that makes any sense. I especially felt this way when I attended Rufflecon last year, feeling isolated and nervous even though I was surrounded by people I had an opening to start conversation with the easiest phrase...

"I love your outfit so much, you look amazing!"

Millefleurs - Model Midori
I would say it to myself over and over in my head, hoping that I could get the courage to actually say it out loud to the next lolita I admired in passing. However, I mostly kept quiet due to shyness and social anxiety. I mustered up courage to say it to maybe like, one or two lolitas I did not know personally.

But don't get me wrong, I'm not a complete wallflower of a lolita. I have many lolita friends, some of which I've known for nearly a decade now. Many of those girls were in attendance. In the end though, I ended up sticking with a very small group of friends, many of whom who suffer from social anxiety as well. We clung to each other and moved about the con in a low profile sort of way.

Even though there is nothing wrong with that, I felt in the end that I missed a numerous amount of connections and opportunities for friendship. Post-con I bumped up with a bunch of lolitas online who were in attendance and knew me through my sewing work, but didn't know me by face or personally (since I don't often post photos online of myself publicly like many other lolitas do), and therefore the connection was completely lost.

There were also a bunch of people that I recognized from photos online that I didn't have the courage to talk to in addition to people I saw in passing and wanted to get to know them very extremely. I had my eyes peeled for interesting and groundbreaking coordinations that were creative and impactful. I'm drawn to people who don't have your usual run of the mill outfits, using colors that aren't often used, wearing obscure lolita items, or those wearing lots of handmade items. Those people I saw that fit that had me in awe, and I'm sad that I didn't approach them then.

How exactly though does one get over the fear of speaking to lolitas they don't know and why does this fear even exist?

Sometimes I guess, like most people even in "normal" social atmospheres, are afraid of being ignored or rejected. I become afraid to sustain eye contact, and I often slur or mix up my words when I'm nervous about speaking, which makes me feel off. It has improved over time, but sometimes I just can't seem to shake it.

Then once you've past the threshold of "I love your outfit", then what? I'm often to shy to ask for photos, as I feel I shouldn't take pictures of people I don't know well (even though I do admit to collecting photos of lolitas off of tumblr and various other places for inspiration) or I just feel weird asking.

Okay so you do take the photo. Yay! In my mind, I always want a little more, but what exactly? I'm not going to creepily follow them around! Usually I hope that we have some kind of connection by ay of mutual friend, but that's not always the case. I guess from there you can hope that the other person wants to continue the conversation or move on, but hopefully not in an awkward way.

I guess I'm living that eternal creeper life?

Okay but for real, this year I have some major events coming up. Before Rufflecon a friend of mines is planning a huge frilly picnic in Central Park with like a ton of attendees and I'm here shitting my bloomers (figuratively of course) because I know it will be a strain on my social interaction meter. Honestly, I think it's best to just dive in head first into the chatting and mingling because if you don't, you just spiral into that "I'm going to hide behind this tree until someone comes looking for me" hole of despair. Dramatic I know, but it's true! I hope I can follow my own damn advice.

Kaya x Btssb
Yea I know I'm not going to be buddy buddy with everyone, but if I can at least talk to some new people, speak up when I admire someone's outfit, pose for photos (I'm super shy about that as well), take more photos, and be human I'll be happy.

Then come Rufflecon, with lolitas from al over the country, and even possibly the world, in attendance⎯I hope I can muster up the courage to talk to that lolita I've seen photos of online and love her style, the lolita I see in the hall with the handmade bonnet, veil, and accessories, the lolita in some fantastic 2005 era print in the turquoise colorway coordinated in that way no one would ever try, and on and on.

In addition to just being less socially awkward, making connections is good for business too. Being a seamstress, it's important to network with other lolitas to gain interest in your craft. This is also very important to me and I feel as though I failed in that department during last years events. I seek to change that this year.

So can I improve? Only time will tell. I can try at least right? Anyone with similar feelings? Lets talk about it. Advice? I'm all ears.