05/30/2016 01:21 EDT | Updated 05/31/2017 05:12 EDT

I Am A Fashion Chameleon

Ron Chapple Stock via Getty Images
Woman wearing ruffled dress holding it out gracefully with fingers.

I have a confession to make: I am a fashion chameleon. Growing up with a transitory family I have packed my bags for relocation more times than I care to remember. Every time, the bags got smaller and my dreams of fitting in got even smaller alongside them. There was always a new school, new homes and new friends.

There was excitement, sure, but there was also a constant feeling of discomfort and a need to change myself. Each location brought with it a different girl; one that blended into her new environment with a newly learned language, new mannerisms, and brand new clothes.

For most people, fashion is a way of expression; for me it was a support system. When I found myself lost or in transition I simply picked a new character to play and let that character loose in a mall. I would pick bits and pieces of the people around me and tried to imitate their appearance.

In true alien mode, I formed myself to look like the inhabitants of whatever place I happened to be occupying at the time. I studied their behaviour, the way in which they pronounced the words I had only seen in books, the style in which they rolled up their jean cuffs. All I wanted was to fit in.

High school was a painstaking experience, not only was I changing styles with every hormonal shift but I was also growing out of clothes quite quickly. Perhaps if I wasn't trying so hard to be like others, I could have spared myself the headache of constantly emptying out my closet in tears. In my final year, I was convinced that my wardrobe and personality were fully developed, I could not have been more wrong.

I was addicted to change. I was on a downward spiral and fashion metamorphosis was my drug of choice.

Four years in university kicked my fashionable butt in tedious ways. While most kids my age were experimenting with substance abuse and their sexuality, I was experimenting with platforms and fur coats. Every new friend I made was an excuse to try a new style. This is when it hit me, I was addicted to change. I was on a downward spiral and fashion metamorphosis was my drug of choice.

Being much older now and in control of my personality I find that purchasing clothes is a lot less eventful. I still get excited by styling outfits (as I should in my profession) but the high I used to get from wearing someone else's persona is gone. Maybe that is what growing up is, abandoning the fluttery mindset you once had and exchanging it for a strict, highly-developed version of yourself.

Almost like branding a product to present in a meeting. Except in this case the product is you and the group you're presenting to is the rest of the world.

Do I miss the crazy girl that donned furry boots and mini-skirts in the middle of summer? Of course I do. When I encounter someone with an amazing sense of style I picture myself in their clothes (and in their life, really) but I no longer rush to the store to re-mold myself. No matter how amazing they may look, they are them, and I am me, and that will have to do for now.

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