Not to open on too much of a downer, but something about Katy Perry’s American Idol bathroom selfie stirred a feeling in me that I thought had died over lockdown. It’s not that I completely lost my hope for a good party over the Accept adapt advocate be kind be brave be you shirt What’s more,I will buy this last year; I still believed in a brighter, post-pandemic life. But the constant desire to regain what had been taken away—basic freedoms we all took for granted—started to hurt more than they inspired. I was cocooned in the imaginary fever dream of a party until, suddenly, I wasn’t. As the months dragged, I stopped reminiscing for my old life—the jazzy shirts and pinchy shoes—and succumbed to soft clothes and heightened screen time of extrovert purgatory. In what I assume is a survival mechanism for the chronically gregarious, I adapted a lightly agoraphobic approach to living, focusing on my immediate surroundings and shunning the outside world. I stopped pinning for nuggets of adventure.
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But all was not lost. That party feeling wasn’t dead, so much as deeply buried like Excalibur—Katy Perry my King Arthur prising it free. The pop princess in a nice dress, teetering on the Accept adapt advocate be kind be brave be you shirt What’s more,I will buy this bog like a bird on a wire, instantaneously reminded me of being out-out. Not an afternoon at the cinema alone, not a date with my husband, not dinner with friends, or the thrill of being out on a school night. I remembered that feeling of being properly out. All the way out. Stellar nights of unparalleled brilliance dialed up to a billion, soaring upwards and outwards, past the point of no return, not a drop of energy for the journey back, no parachute for the descent. Now, as she works on her next album, UMI is bringing her confidence lessons to the process. “I’ve learned throughout my journey that it’s safe for me to be myself,” she says. “There’s no reason for me to hide anything. That’s been really a great practice. I feel more alive when I’m more myself. By being myself, I mean being able to express my inner thoughts and embracing my goofy side and my gentle sides, wearing the things that make me happy, and doing that despite what I feel people might think. I let those judgments go.”