Sep 15, 2014

On Standards, Taking The Stand and Standing Up For Yourself

"I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to wish for a perfect life. The things that knock you down in life are tests, forcing you to make a choice between giving in and remaining on the ground or wiping the dirt off and standing up even taller than you did before you were knocked down. I'm choosing to stand up taller. I'll probably get knocked down a few more times before this life is through with me, but I can guarantee you I'll never stay on the ground."
 -Colleen Hoover

It is a popular saying in fashion that every woman must dress like they are going to meet their worst enemy. I never really made sense of that and I never found any reason to believe in that. Now that I go to court for hearings, it still quite doesn't make sense to me. Probably because I never really dressed up for anyone other than myself. Simply put, I dress up for me but with the consideration that I am appropriate enough to make an effort to show the people who I am meeting that I respect them enough to have come up with a well-thought of outfit and not be sloppy. Don't get me wrong, I am always appropriately dressed for almost anything as the occasion calls for but I don't really put into consideration what other people will think when it comes to what I want to wear. I am an advocate of "situational dressing." But that is about as far as it goes for me. Personally, I dress up for a said situation/occasion the way I want to and the day I wore this outfit was dedicated to all-white and powder blue, which to me was inspired by a very cool and calming color palette which was the complete opposite of the events that were to transpire that day. You see, I had to take the stand.

All White Suit: Stradivarius
Powder Blue Chiffon Blouse: Stradivarius
White Strappy "DANICA" Woven Pointed Shoes: Alexander Wang (also wore HERE)
Pearls: Mikimoto
Crocodile Skin Antigona Bag: Givenchy
As you all know, I am facing a very vital battle right now that involves fighting for myself and standing up for myself against someone who has wronged me in a major way. The process of having to go through the entire things sucks (for lack of a better term). But even on the days when I don't actually feel like going somewhere where I will be exposed to the person who hurt me, I still try to make it a point to be appropriately dressed. I show up and I might as well show up looking like I tried my best to look well (even if I am not exactly feeling too good.) It's all about being respectful of the people who have made the effort to accommodate you, really. I never try to commit to something in a half-baked manner... I always lived by the adage, "do it with passion or not at all." When it comes to standing up for myself, I am full on committed which is why I always have high standards for myself when it comes to representing myself during the times that I am called to stand up for myself. People always ask me why I am keeping this case and fighting it...even if it is such an inconvenience. The reason is simple: I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, 'because of you, I didn't give up.' Truth be told, I can forgive someone for almost anything...eventually. But I cannot tolerate certain things. I don't think I have to tolerate something someone has done to me just because I have forgiven them for doing it. At the end of the day, forgiveness is something that benefits you personally. To tolerate something that is so wrong only eventually hurts so much more people in the long run. Simply put: some people can be sorry but they have to learn. This explains the outfit. I went to court today.

Gandhi, who believed in the concept of non-violence and non-resistance said that it was never okay to fight. He believed that to be able to defeat violence, one need not be violent since in its very nature, it is wrong. Fighting resulting to physical violence can never be justified... no matter what. Now I studied Gandhi's views on life in detail. It was, I think, his influence that I found it imperative to meet aggression with passiveness. I have subscribed to this school of thought for quite some time because Gandhi sure made a lot of sense to me and growing up, I was raised in a household wherein under no circumstance was picking a fight and getting violent acceptable. I still think that way now and I do not just instigate fights with people but along the way, I learned that when you are hit, you must not give the other have to speak up... fight back (but I do not mean literally) where you mirror what someone has done to hurt you... but rather, in the more stand-up-for-yourself and call someone out for what they have done kind of way. Currently, I am standing up for myself against someone who has wronged me so intensely- the sense of how surreal what was done to me left me fearless (I found my voice)  but also, not enthusiastic about it. Nobody wants to get hurt. Nobody wants to be hurt by someone they once trusted fully and loved loyally as a friend. I think that's the worst part of this all. There are times that I still cannot fathom how this person could've done this to me. It is sad and very disheartening. But I know this is something I have to do. It is easier and less costly to just let things go but personally, I think I have had enough and tolerated too much. At some point, you need to put your foot down and stand up for yourself. 

The question of "when" enough is enough can best be answered by is when you have conviction and the answer that you have is "whenever, bring it on!" Trust me that you will know when it will feel the push and you'd better muster up enough strength to push back. Sometimes, I find that it isn't so much in the fight as it is in the willingness to stand up and fight back that matters. With this one: it is for myself. It is for my family too. I don't think it's an admirable trait for anyone to see injustice and bad things happening and then keeping quiet about it. It is true that while I was physically assaulted, I find myself still arguing against my constant association with being a victim and I'd like to extend this claim to a variety of labels. I am lucky to have had people around me who have empowered me instead of telling me my pain was justified, that it wasn't my fault, that I deserved better, I think it made me heal faster. But I do have to make the disclaimer that bad experiences especially those that traumatize you do stick around. However, as with everything that happens to you, it is also up to you to make the best (or worst) of that situation. Personally, I learned to have really high standards for the people I choose to be around and I am not afraid to leave out those who cannot meet it. I made it a point to make disloyal people regret their words/actions without having to take out revenge because I know for a fact that the best revenge is success (and success meaning in the reality of life outside the industry I am in.) I know how important it is to stand up, not only for myself when someone hurts my feelings but also for my friends especially when I notice they are upset. I think life is too short to accept a raw deal simply because I didn't speak up. I think it is important to tell people how you feel when you feel it. Don't let a moment pass you by.

So, get up and stand up for yourself. Move. Go. If you feel unsure of how you are being treated: leave. Your uncertainty should tell you at the very least that you are not liking how you are being treated and therefore need to explore other avenues. If those lead you back, consider yourself blessed. If they do not- accept it and be thankful that you stood up for yourself. Most of all, I have found that simply finding that something matters enough to you, or regarding yourself as someone very important enough to fight for and stand up for is the most important thing of all. Give in to the power that you have and you might discover how bulletproof you are after all and you can emerge victoriously unscathed from that and ready for the next battle. Always stand up for yourself when you are in the right. Take a deep breath, get organized and ride it out. This is your life and your right. The world is truly bullying in so many ways. People will take whatever you will allow them to take from you and if you allow it once or twice then you'll always be allowing it. Your life will turn into a process of simply mitigating how badly some person takes advantage of the person you are trying to be. Don't be afraid of conflict. Do not run. Stand up, stiffen your back, charge and take the hit... and even if you get knocked down and they run over you... the truth remains that you still fought and that's yours. Sometimes, you are going to win and when that happens, there is no reward quite like succeeding for being courageous about who you are. That will always be yours and in time... it's who you are.
Photos by: Celyn Jaravata

 xx, JL

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