This is a guest post written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Once a month, Tiffany documents a single day in her life. The purpose of these posts is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness. I’m also hoping the posts will help readers recognize that we all have hopes, dreams, challenges and mountains to climb regardless of our mental health status. If you’d like to read the posts I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the guest posts she’s shared on this blog, check out the mental health page. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.
As some of you know, I have a diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder, bipolar type, and ADHD. My mood can change from extreme highs to extreme lows within hours. When attempting to write, I realize how extreme my mood can be. I tend to write best when I am in a neutral mood. After thinking and rethinking throughout a day, I was stoked that I had a blog post idea. I was experiencing mania. When I started to reach a low, I began questioning myself, my ideas and my life. I was ready to give up.
I was introduced to the movie “Rudy” years ago. This movie is about staying motivated even when you feel like giving up. The loud voices in my head tell me I am not good enough. I cannot reach my goals. I am not listening to them today. Today I am writing my unedited thoughts on how important fashion is to me.
During back-to-school shopping for my daughter who is entering kindergarten this year, I started to think more about fashion. Fashion can create a picture of who we are and how we feel about ourselves. Fashion is the image we want to portray about ourselves. My personal fashion ideas vary depending on how I feel and how I want to express myself on any given day.
I tend to dress my children more traditionally. I have found that consistency with their clothing choices works best. I do not always know what is appropriate for them to wear on a daily basis. I tend to mix pieces of my style into their wardrobe. Sometimes family and friends help me pick out my kids’ clothing. For my daughter this year, I allowed my mom to pick out a few outfits that I approved of. I also picked out a few items on my own. My daughter is young, but gradually creating a style of her own.
I attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising when I was in my 20s. I had fashion ideas that I wanted to implement. I wanted to open a store called OuiSei. My plan was to complete my degree in Apparel Manufacturing Management. I had everything planned, including a runway show. For the runway show, I wanted animals to walk down the runway with models. I even had music picked out. I wanted the store to include all-natural fibered clothing, mostly hemp.
Guess what happened? I quit. My voices were telling me that I could not succeed. I was also experiencing something that I experience to this day. People promised to make my dreams come true if I’ll only give in to their desires. I do not agree with that way of thinking, and I would rather deal with genuine people who have no motives in mind. Despite my voices, I feel that the world is set up for us to succeed. We just have to be careful who we let into our world.
After quitting fashion school in Los Angeles, I decided to try working in commercials on TV and in movies. I was able to truly be myself during this stage of my life. While working in that business, I loved changing clothing so I could portray different characters. I continue being that person today. I would not say that I have a set fashion style.
I had a very tough time coming up with this post and getting organized. When I am in a certain state of mind, I can’t get organized and I feel like giving up. My dad helped me outline this post. We talked about my ideas over coffee. He asked me at the end if I was going to ever pursue my dream of opening a clothing store? I told him that I don’t know what the future holds. I wouldn’t mind having a store that people could come chill at and look for comfy clothes and accessories. For now, I am going to keep trying, as Rudy did, even if forging ahead seems to be impossible.