Monday, January 9, 2012

Fashion Bringing Friends Together

Woohoo I'm pretty much done with the bulk of my Final tests and projects! Just sitting at school waiting for class now, and I figured now is a good time to write a serious, albeit perhaps a bit sappy and sentimental, personal post.

This may be a bit long with many photos, which have taken a very long time to edit and censor, but I really do feel like it is a worthy thing to talk about. As you may have guessed from the title, it is about how Lolita Fashion has brought strangers together as friends.

At first it seems like a cliche, overdone topic. Of course meetups bring us all together to bond over Lolita fashion and then move on to other topics and make new friends. This happened in MN of course, too. But the main difference is that almost 100% of Lolitas already have a group of friends, Lolita or non. When I went to my first meetup in MN I wasn't afraid of being ostracized and being forever alone in this world. If everybody hated me, fine. I have other, non-Lolita friends I can hang out with and they were all totally cool with Lolita fashion. Luckily, that didn't happen and I met a ton of cool people through Lolita meetups ;)

When I came to Taiwan, however, I didn't know anybody. I was not in school, which is usually how people make friends. I did not have any cousins or relatives to introduce me to friends since I was living with my grandparents. For the my first year in Taiwan, all my friends were exclusively Lolitas whom I met through the Internet and via meetups. This has made me realize just how big a part of my life Lolita fashion is. If I were not a Lolita and moved here, I would have been utterly alone for the first year. Yes, I did go out on my own, but it is exceedingly rare for strangers to strike up conversation here. Everybody tends to keep to themselves.

So I thought that I would create a sort of documentary of my first year here and how Lolita fashion actually affected almost every aspect of my social life up to and including my school and classes! I feel like I owe a lot to the lovely ladies who went out of their way to help me with things I didn't understand, and things I didn't even know I didn't understand!

My very first meetup here was not exactly smooth, to say the least ;) but it was here that I first met DORO喵 (pronounced doh-roh miao, like a cat saying meow) who found the location for me and was generally very nice to me. Since this was my first meet, I really don't have many photos :P You can click the post link to see the ones I did take!

There were no more meetups until February when 小芙 (xiao fu) hosted a meetup at Madam Rose. So I saw DORO喵 again, and also met 琪琪 (qiqi in Chinese, said like "chi-chi" or kiki in Japanese), both of whom later did make an impact on my life, so it is important!

After this meetup DORO喵 invited me to another private meetup where I met and got to know a bunch of other Lolitas better including NiYa and Hako, the queen of Group Orders!
After this meetup I made a Plurk account because Plurk:Taiwan Lolitas::EGL:Western Lolitas

More meetups and things were had, I became better friends with everybody, tested into school, etc.

Then, at the Rabbit Rabbit meetup in July I met LOI(luo-yi) represented by the coffee cup below:
She is a graduate of Shi Chien University (my school) though she ended up going through the business side of fashion rather than the developmental side.

After I transferred my school credits so I wouldn't have to retake classes i have taken already, DORO喵 arranged a meetup for me, LOI, DORO喵 and another Lolita named Pigi胖 (hereby shortened to Pigi) who has been taking classes at Shi Chien to help me choose my classes *u* it was IMMENSELY helpful because the required classes and elective classes were separated into "Fashion Program exclusive" and "Whole School" sections and is just quite confusing, overall. Pigi helped me choose my first semester classes and explained some of the more complex class types, which ones should be taken first, what teachers to avoid, which classes would be redundant if take alongside another class, etc. Yea, complex stuff!

In September at the Yukata meetup, I met another schoolmate who is currently in Third Year of the Fashion Program!
L to R:

KAMIKO has become one of my good friends :D She's really sweet, though quiet, like me ^^;

Throughout the school year there have been a handful more meetups, which is always a lovely break from the stress of school!

Occasionally I would get very down because to be honest, I have very little self-confidence and probably rely too much on outside approval ^^; Sometimes I vent on my Plurk, and once when I was feeling especially down because my group for Western Fashion History had done the group project completely without me, 琪琪(QiQi/KiKi) told me that I seem to look negatively at myself often and I should try to love myself more. Though that may seem like a really simple, cliche statement, coming from somebody who is as confident and unafraid to speak out as she is, it really made me want to be more like her. While I find it hard to believe, 琪琪said she used to feel the same way about herself (what??) so that gives me more hope that I can become more confident. Though I am optimistic about most everything, I am pretty negative when it comes to myself XD;;

I am truly grateful for all the help and positiveness all these lovely ladies have brought into my life. Time has been flying by, but the photos and memories I will cherish forever ♥♥♥

Congrats if you read all that ;D
Also, thanks for reading and following my blog! I love reading your comments and feedback. Lolita has brought together people who may have never otherwise met online or in real life.

Actually, as I was finishing up this post KAMIKO came and gave me a bracelet she made:
She has one too, so we're matchy-matchy!

I am in emotional turmoil at the moment due to both feeling touched by all the fantastic friends I've made and also my own sense of accomplishment for finishing the project due today.

I realize this post is probably too long to be a "good blog post." It is probably too personal or sentimental to be "reader-worthy." But I feel really awesome right now. So I'm gonna post it.

Please, please share in the comments how Lolita has affected your life! Though it may seem like some trivial vanity thing, Lolita is more than just fashion. It is a community, a lifestyle (which doesn't mean tea and cookies all the time), and a fantastic bonding opportunity.