In our society today, everyone is on a seemingly unending search for happiness. But I don’t believe that happiness is a permanent state most people can achieve and maintain for the entirety of a life that includes a series of ups and downs. There are days when we can’t stop ourselves from smiling. There are others when all we can do is cry on our bedroom floor and ignore the rotation of the world until we are ready to get back up again. Sometimes we have this idea that to be happy is to never be unhappy, to try to find the good in every possible thing while ignoring the bad and smiling through the tears we don’t allow to fall. I believe that happiness is found in brief moments when we experience the purest joy that can be carried on beyond the moment from which it came. It can be found in material things and still be pure. It is a matter of existence, not possession. The most wonderful thing about happiness is that it can be found in so many places. Something so mundane to one person can be another's source of incredible joy.
When I think of the moment I felt the happiest in the most recent days of my life, images of gleaming gold fabrics with endless possibilities flow into my mind and bring an electric smile to my face. Drifting through each aisle one at a time in my own wonderland, filled with an array of vivid colours and diverse textures, visions of chic garments made from each fabric flood my imagination. It was as if I was staring at what I hoped to be the exhilarating future that awaits me. An uncontrollable sensation of joy and belonging took over my body from head to toe and gave me the urge to giggle and bounce up and down unbelievably content with the present moment, a moment that could last forever in my mind.
Fashion is a world where you can be whoever you want to be. You can do whatever you want with it, it is limitless. It is a world of infinite choices that can be made to embody the deepest, most hidden parts of yourself, your truest self. You are not bound to common sense the way you are in the way you live your life. Sometimes even if you are aware of the fact that a piece of fabric can become whatever you want it to be, you can continue to be restrained by the things you have seen in your life until you realize that the sky is not your limit, it is your imagination, your vision. Imagination has no restrictions, no rules or borders. It has no ceiling, border or end point.
“You can be both introverted and extroverted in fashion because in any creative outlet you can hide behind the art and yet you’re screaming through it.”- Rihanna. Fashion can be your way of screaming out to the world that this is who you are. But it can also be your shield from the same world that allows you to stride through the days you feel the least sure of yourself. Fashion is my armor and my remedy. Deep within it’s beautiful eternity is my happy place and the protector of my peace.
Qaeeza Ramji is 17 years old and is a student at Reynolds Secondary School in Victoria. She is an aspiring writer and fashion designer. Despite her quiet personality, she is passionate about using her voice to bring about positive change. She currently serves as Director of Youth Engagement for the Victoria World Partnership Walk.
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* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, September 18th 2021