On Inventing Ourselves

On Inventing Ourselves

In theory, I'm a huge believer in the process of inventing ourselves and doing so over and over, as many times as we need, for as long as there's a divide between who we are and who we want to be. Or is it the divide between who we are at the moment and who we Are? In practice, inventing ourselves is a challenging task. It requires honesty with ourselves (the hardest kind), and quite a lot of courage. Sometimes I think the ultimate appeal of fashion, it's true power, is in giving us a quick and easy gateway to self-invention. Change clothes, change self. We don't have to quit the job, or leave our comfort zone. We don't have to move somewhere new, or ask the big questions. We can put on a piece of clothing and try out a new identity. 

Lately, I've had this recurring impulse to take all of my clothes to a consignment shop, sell everything, and start from scratch. It's made me think: is this the first step of a re-invention? Change clothes, change self? I'm not sure. I do know that from my experiences with self-invention and re-invention, while it's not easy, it's some of the most important internal work I've done. To liberate yourself from whatever holds you back in order to to become whomever and whatever you know you are capable of becoming seems to me just about the biggest gift we can give ourselves. In that spirit, here are a few notable people sharing their thoughts on self-invention. 

 

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MAYA ANGELOU

Photographed by Taylor Jewell for Vogue

Photographed by Taylor Jewell for Vogue

Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise.

 

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CHER

Photo: Richard Avedon

Photo: Richard Avedon

All of us invent ourselves. Some of us just have more imagination than others.

 

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CHARLES DICKENS

The important thing is this: to be ready at any moment to sacrifice what you are for what you could become.

 

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MADONNA

Photo: Herb Ritts

Photo: Herb Ritts

No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you've come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.

 

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CHARLES BUKOWSKI

Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
don't swim in the same slough.
invent yourself and then reinvent yourself and
stay out of the clutches of mediocrity.

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
change your tone and shape so often that they can never categorize you.

reinvigorate yourself and
accept what is
but only on the terms that you have invented
and reinvented.

be self-taught.

and reinvent your life because you must;
it is your life and
its history
and the present
belong only to
you.

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Feature image by Tim Walker for Vogue Italia, October 2014

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