I Tried My Old Flags Outfit On Today

15 May

Mostly I wanted to see if it would still fit. It’s been traveling around with me for a few years now and the only time I’ve pulled it out since the Moving Up assembly was for Halloween sophomore year.

Now, in case I’ve never told you I did Flags, we were essentially cheerleaders who spun six-foot flags. Here’s a picture:


Yes, that’s me in the very front, with my skirt flooping up all over the place.

Now I’m not going to lie: the uniform was a big part of the reason I joined the team. I wanted to be the kind of girl who wore that uniform, the kind of girl who walked around school with that skirt on and went to the football games and the competitions and was part of a team. I wanted to be seen for something other than the nerdy girl that I absolutely was.

So I joined, and I got to wear that skirt to school an average of once every two weeks. And while it didn’t change who I was, I still think it made people look at me a little bit differently. I got the kind of attention from boys I had certainly never gotten before (and while those of you who knew me then will know that I had very poor taste that year, it was still very exciting) and I got to see from the inside that it wasn’t quite what I had imagined it to be.

That skirt gave me the confidence to see myself as a girl for maybe the first time. The required straightening of my hair, as much as I detested it at the time, made me take care of myself a bit better. I think being on the team that year freed me to realize that I didn’t have to conform to who people thought they had me pegged as. Or maybe just that I could take chances to step outside of my comfort zone, where I thought I belonged.

Tonight, the outfit fit. A little snug, but it was a little snug back then too. The difference was, I didn’t get that surge of flirty confidence I used to get when I would put it on in the morning and head to school.

Tonight, it felt like a costume. It didn’t fit the girl I am today. I’m not the kind of girl who wears a short skirt to get attention, even though it was fun to be one for a few months. I’m not the type who finds it important to hit every beat in a choreographed routine in hopes of winning the state Drill/Dance competition (we didn’t). 

Now, I get that confidence when I know I’ve written something great. When I’m having a good hair day. When I’ve been working out for a couple weeks and I’m in better shape than I’ve been anytime lately. When I put on a cute outfit that’s made even better by the fact that I bought it with my own money that I earned working at a job I’m proud to list on my resume.

I never really was that cheerleader-type. It was a persona I was trying on because I knew, after senior year of high school, I wouldn’t have the chance to try it on again. Even though there were times when I hated it, I’m so glad I did it. Because now I know what exactly I wasn’t missing.

But now, I don’t get that confidence by pretending to be someone I never really was. I get it by being the best possible version of someone I’m still trying to figure out: me.


One Response to “I Tried My Old Flags Outfit On Today”

  1. ianmulligan08 October 1, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    This is one of my favorite posts. It is deep and well thought out. I think you make a good analogy and comparison. You grew out of uniform and no longer needed it. Being able to see the growth and reflect back on it is always a gratifying feelings. I really enjoyed the photo too, as I have never seen it before.

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