I was sitting on a bus when it happened. Tingles ran through me like an otherworldly current. What was this mysterious drug that had infiltrated my body? Stuck on this bus I had time to pose an internal investigation into this foreign state of being. A few moments pass before I realise what it is. I have been dosed with an alien level of confidence that left me buzzing. For the first time in my life, I wanted to be noticed. I unconditionally believed that I was beautiful, sexy, desirable, and worthy. You can make it through most of your life only accepting these things on a surface level. In that moment I believed I was worthy of life and love at a core, foundational level. I was sitting on a bus and I had attained enlightenment. Ebullient on my own self-worth. What a surprise! It rushed through my system until I was the epitome of life itself. This is happiness. Oh, it tasted so sweet, so incredibly luxurious. Validated by my own standards; standards forged in the pits of despair, anguish and self-loathing. My eternal fight was unequivocally justified and I now had proof that it was worth it; that I am worth it. In that moment, I got a sample of my authenticity and I felt the true meaning of life.
What triggered this epiphany? If I could make a pill of it I would do it for the dark days where light is inhospitable. Despite my philosophising, the trigger may appear simple or even trivial. That day I planned my outfit and the fates aligned for me to realise something overwhelmingly positive and life-affirming.
It was Halloween 2018. In Australia, we don’t really celebrate this spooky date but I wanted, maybe even needed, an excuse to put effort into my look. I wanted to step a smidgen outside my comfortable norm. I had started seeing this girl a few months before and every moment I spent with her chipped away at my superfluous self-doubt. I had built the tools through my years fighting but she gave me the courage to keep breaking the weight bearing me down. We created a wonderfully positive feedback loop of inspiration and love that shone brighter than a million stars. We decided to spend Halloween together working on craft projects and enjoying each other’s company. I was stoked.
A day before Halloween we were discussing homemade lingerie and we went about Pinterest becoming inspired to start a dozen projects. I’m inexperienced in the lingerie world so I wanted to start small. I wanted to go outside my boundaries, but not too far. We discussed harness bras. I thought they were attractive but had the misinformed notion that they indicated you were part of the larger BDSM community. How naive of me? She opened my mind to the idea of wearing things that actively make a person feel amazing. The concept was not entirely new to me but I only understood it on a superficial level.
At this point in time, I was actively struggling with a debilitating undiagnosed chronic illness. When the never-ending pain in my joints and muscles began, I automatically flipped a switch in my head that voided my sense of sexuality. I truly felt that I could never be sexy or desirable when I’m in constant pain. When my body feels more geriatric than in my early twenties, it seems impossible to consider myself as a sexual being. Not only my joints feel disabled, but also my capacity to live a fulfilled personal and sexual life. In the time I had been seeing my girl, she sympathised these misguided notions. No force to change but loving reassurance that one day I will dismantle the shackles that suffocate my authenticity.
The night before Halloween, I made a pentagram harness. On the day, I styled an outfit, mostly black. A black and silver skirt with an amalgamation of spiderwebs. The outfit is completed with sheer black stockings and my heavy black boots. I put on the one bra that fits and supports, took the patience to assemble a makeup look that matched, and straightened my hair. I was graced with a close-to-perfect winged eyeliner and matte red lips. When I was done I didn’t look in the mirror. I didn’t need to. I felt with my entire being how I looked. no mirror could reflect what I felt. I left the house in pain but buzzing. Today was Halloween and I felt otherworldly. I was off to my girls’ apartment to broadcast my happiness. My soul was overflowing and I needed to share it with her.
I left the house at 8am, a Wednesday, wearing a short skirt, a harness bra, flawless hair and makeup, and an indefatigable sense of confidence. I found myself on the bus amazed by how significantly a slight style change had uprooted self-worth. For the first time in my life, I wanted to be seen. I wanted people to look at me and share what I was experiencing. I envisaged this overwhelming confidence and worth flowing out of my skin. I willed that those around me could have a little of what I was experiencing. Even a sliver of this feeling was world shattering. I wanted to spread this epiphany, this self-realisation, that the burden of life is never eternal. There are bursts of this energy all around us without us even realising. I had become attuned to a frequency that validated me so fundamentally that I felt I was a new person. I am not being hyperbolic when I say this was a foreign and life-altering experience.
The best part was that this feeling lasted all day. It softened my pain and made life colourful. I stayed up late to prolong it. That day was, objectively speaking, fairly insignificant. But to me and my love, it was a slice of heaven. For that day I was part Goddess. Now I get to retain this visage of universal alignment and personally validated authenticity. It seems borderline silly to say a harness bra and short skirt shifted my self-worth so profoundly that I overcame a detrimental perspective of a dark and unfeeling universe, but it did. My outfit was a variable in a cosmic calculation that allowed me to view the universe without the restraints of low self-esteem. How I felt about myself – beautiful, desirable, worthy – was monumental for me. This connection to a fulfilled and authentic version of myself permitted me to envisage attainable personal growth. Allowing myself to connect with a perspective of my life unburdened from depression and disability through fashion and beauty is an authentic form of magic. Through all unlikelihoods, I have emerged powerful. I have become more than prepared; I have become ready. Hello life.