There’s something about putting my thoughts into words which have attracted me to the idea of pursuing a career in writing. Despite never being a huge reader, I have always enjoyed the act of writing, whether the end result be some random nonsense or a comprehensive essay; and have long dreamt of turning that love into something sustainable. However, this never really got much further than the dream, my young self was never much one for seeing things through. That’s not to say I gave up on it entirely, rather put it on the back burner, indefinitely. Occasionally it would bust back to the forefront of my thoughts, accompanied by a sudden spark of inspiration reigniting my passion, but it would never last for long.

In 2011 I enrolled in university as an undergraduate and the urge to write, record, and share my thought was stronger than ever. This inspired me to start a blog, though I never took it as seriously as I intended to. When I graduated in 2015, looking for something to do in my spare time, I went back to my blog; determined this time to do it right. I spent a long time getting the name, look, and theme right; and invested money both towards that end, but also as a form of encouragement to see it through.

Four years later and so far there are less than a handful of blog posts live on ClothesConfidant, though no longer for lack of inspiration or drive. When I decided what I would write about I knew that this meant I would have to work on both sides of the camera, something I am incapable of doing without wanting the ground to swallow me whole. You know there’s always that one friend who always ruins a good photo? Yeah, that’s me. I’m pretty sure my goal in life to is look as awkward as possible; something I’ve been doing since day one as seen below:

I don’t know what it is about the camera lens, but as soon as one is pointed in my general direction I will do one of two things: display proudly my what my friends have dubbed ‘the awkward Pap smile’ which consists of 10% teeth, and 90% ‘please get me out of this situation’; or my current favourite: the awkward peace sign. Two if I’m feeling super awkward. Now it’s true I could have written about something else, but I won’t let fear dictate my life. So, I set off to conquer my awkward subconscious.

I started off filled with hope: practice makes perfect, right? I just needed to work on my self-confidence. The thing is, that’s easier said than done when you’re shy, awkward, and anything but confident. The more time passed the more I started to doubt myself. I started comparing myself to these drop-dead gorgeous Instagram models and influencers, all impossibly beautiful and radiating confidence, not an ounce of awkwardness insight. They were everything I wanted to be. So I tried copying what they did, to no avail. Every photo looked false. I was trying to mould myself into something else, someone I wasn’t. I became so fixated that it sucked all the enjoyment out of the whole project. Rather than a hobby, it had become a miserable obligation. Eventually, I put ClothesConfidant on hold.

I was considering abandoning blogging entirely when I had to give a lecture on confidence to a group of students. There I was giving this spiel about having the right attitude; that it’s ok to be different; to accept who you are; and so on. I felt like such a fraud, a complete charlatan. Who am I to be giving these teenagers advice that I couldn’t take myself? Then I remembered something my friend had said to me one drunken night:

                Pap, someone is going to love you for all your awkwardness. Never change.

I’m sure she neither remembers this nor has any idea the effect those words had on me. And she was right, I shouldn’t feel the need to change who I am. If I want to feel comfortable in front of a camera, I need to be comfortable just being myself first; awkward quirks and all.

We should be happy being who we are, and not feel the need to be like anyone else. Yes, it’s easy for us to slip into this mindset of wanting to be perfect. For every photo to be flawless. And for a long time, I felt that pressure and need to edit out the scars on my face; the creases in my clothes; the loose strain of hair etc. At this point in my life, I’m over it. It’s time to embrace the things which make us different. After all, if we were all the same as each other the world would be a pretty boring place. That’s what I’ve learned and wanted to share with you guys: just as we should be accepting of each other’s quirks and differences, so should we be accepting of our own. So, here’s to the awkward smile; the nervous peace signs; and the never knowing what to do with my hands. Here’s to all the things that make us who we are.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by! If you want to see a little more of me during the week my Instagram and Twitter are linked in the top corner. Anyways, that’s it from me this month. See you in April!

-Paphapan.

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