Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a handful of Asian weddings. Asian weddings are always good fun; filled with great food, amazing decorations and stunning outfits.
I like to think I’ve attended my fair share of Asian weddings considering I’m an outsider – an outsider being a Catholic Filipino girl, however dating someone of an Asian origin.
But sometimes the hardest part about these weddings is being the ‘outsider’.
Every single Asian wedding I have attended, are the wedding’s of K’s closest friends. They have always made me feel welcomed, made sure I’m fed and that I’m making an appearance on the dance floor.
There is just one thing about these weddings that I do find the hardest and it is to feel ‘normal’. I honestly can’t help but feel like the odd one out dressed in Asian clothes – clothes which are very new to me.
There are so many colours, patterns and designs to choose from that yes, it can feel overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. But then my emotions feel torn as I notice how stunning each outfit is, the intricate details that go with every stitch and how each gem really makes the outfit glisten in the light.
I wish it was easier for me to spend more time appreciating the hard work and the culture that goes into these outfits, but instead I find myself so anxious and with a lack of confidence that it does nothing but consume me.
I once went to the dry cleaners to have my suit cleaned and the owner said “is this yours?” to which i replied “yes…” only for his reaction to be “but you’re not Indian?”. I managed to swing the conversation another direction by explaining my partner was Indian and that I wear the suit at events, an answer the owner was quite pleased with.
But that is exactly how I feel most of the time I do wear these gorgeous outfits: “you’re not Indian” or “you’re not Asian”. It is these thoughts that consume me during the build up to events and then at the event itself. I can’t help but feel like the odd girl who should’t be wearing these type of clothes.
Once it took me until the middle of the event to realise I hadn’t tied my suit properly and had only realised it once I looked at everyone else’s suit. It is a classic ‘over thinking’ moment – but surely someone would’ve noticed and helped me?
Another time, I let my anxiety get the best of me that I had to leave the event for a while to calm my self down and convince myself that no-one had noticed I’m the ‘Filipino Girl in Asian Clothes’.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it isn’t un-heard of for other cultures/nationalities to wear Asian clothes, but it isn’t really something you see every day.. well in my life that is.
I’m always worried that I’m wearing the wrong Asian outfit, (yup, did you know that different cultures/religions have different Asian outfits?) That i’m covering up the areas I’m supposed to, that my skirt is tied properly and my dupatta scarf isn’t hanging where it shouldn’t be.
Sometimes I feel sad because I don’t really have any help when pulling the outfit together – I’ll tell you one thing, there are many ways a dupatta scarf can be worn and it took me a while to stop wearing it the ‘wrong’ way.
I also can’t help but think the sales assistants in the shops don’t take me seriously and don’t want to help me to find something suitable. I often leave the shops feeling really embarrassed and it just adds to the stress/anxiety of having to wear these outfits.
However what I can say that it’s really important to have your support circle – to tell you that you “look beautiful in that outfit!” Or “wow it really suits you!” Those comments can really help boost my confidence and bat away at an anxiety I feel.
I know that feeling this way isn’t something I can just ‘switch off’ and I know I’ll hopefully have more occasions where I will wear these outfits. It is just something I’ll need to find my confidence in and not let my anxiety get the best of me.
On the plus side, these outfits can really make you feel like a princess.