There’s nothing quite as intimidating and exciting as doing something new for the very first time. This certainly includes attending a lolita fashion meetup. Regardless of whether the meetup is something casual, like a picnic in the park or an afternoon at someone’s house, or a formal occasion like an afternoon tea, it can still cause uneasiness for that of a fledgling lolita (or a veteran who is simply new to the area!).
I often reflect on my first meetup, which certainly caused me a lot of anxiety! I worked up the courage to attend a picnic downtown, since I at least knew the area although I did not know any of the attendees. However, I committed to attending the picnic knowing that did not own any lolita clothing. Although I owned many cute or girly items, I was painfully aware that they were not lolita outfits.
First, my grandmother said she would help me make something. Her attitude was a bit different after realizing that the pattern I intended to use was in some Japanese magazine with no English instructions. We bought the materials anyway, but couldn’t figure out where to start–and never even cut out the pattern pieces. When I explained my distress to my mother, unwilling to ask any more from my grandmother (who has certainly put up with quite a bit of nonsense from me), she took me back to the fabric store and we tried to find a suitable commercially-available pattern.
The night before the picnic, the two of us huddled over a sewing machine on the kitchen table, trying desperately to decipher the confusing instructions for making a simple skirt. The pattern pieces that we cut out seemed awkward and unlike what was required from us. Repeatedly we sewed a seam, examined it, and ripped the stitching out. Finally, at some early hour of the morning, my mother gave up and insisted I would wear something normal–as this new skirt was not to be. I went to bed in tears, convinced that everyone would make fun of me and determined to avoid the picnic at all costs.
However, my mother woke me up the next morning and pushed me onto the train despite my protests. She chided me for my cowardice, saying that I had been so excited, already made the cupcakes I had promised to bring, and if “these people” were going to be mean for about something so trivial they weren’t worth knowing anyway. I honestly think it was the best way she could have handled the situation. If I had been allowed to stay at home and mope, I would have missed out on so much!
At the picnic, no one mentioned my outfit–even so I constantly repeated that I was not wearing a lolita outfit and I knew it wasn’t a lolita outfit oh-please-oh-please-don’t-think-I’m-the-sort-of-person-who-doesn’t-know-what-she’s-doing-I-really-like-this-style-please-don’t-hate-me-you-are-all-so-experienced-and-wise. The weather was lovely, and the food was quite tasty.
It was because of that picnic that I met several people I now feel proud to call friends. (Including one who was also my roommate for over a year.) No-one was rude or cruel, and it gave me the courage and initiative to work on a new outfit and come to another meetup, where I would meet even more wonderful friends~! ♥
Don’t let fear keep you away from something that interests you! Even if you aren’t wearing a coordinate that looks like you stepped out of a BABY, the Stars Shine Bright advertisement, even if your hair isn’t “that perfect hime cut,” even if you aren’t an adorable teenage Japanese girl, even if you hate drinking tea–go to a meetup. Find out what the lolita in your area are really like. Search for that “nice” lolita, and keep an ear open for what everyone else has to say. Ask for opinions, join in conversations, and try to make some new friends!
The first meetup is scary, but you can’t get to know people without meeting them first!