Written By Alana Ryan
From a very early age, I was never the type of girl who liked to stand out from the crowd or draw any sort of attention to herself. This trait I had would go hand in hand with how I preferred to dress. I would always wear the same type of outfit: a baggy t-shirt with leggings or yoga pants. I can remember feeling horrified and embarrassed at the thought of ever wearing something that would expose my stomach or too much skin. However, as I grew older and got out of my awkward teenage phase, I could feel myself becoming more interested in expressing myself through makeup and fashion. I became more drawn towards making myself look good for me, and not worrying as much what other people would think.
Then, about five years ago, I attended my first rave. I recall having absolutely no idea how I was supposed to dress and because it was a freezing cold night in the middle of February, I opted for just a plain tank top and leggings. Hilariously, I even brought a sweater with me just in case. Little did I know, as soon as I arrived at the venue, I quickly realized how wildly different everyone else dressed. By the end of the show, I remember feeling like I had found my second home, where I felt completely safe and accepted by so many, some being complete strangers. This inspired me to really want to come out of my shell more and wear whatever I wanted and be freed of any sort of judgments. Seeing so many other young women my age looking so carefree and confident in their own bodies really brought me this huge sense of relief, like I could finally let go of all of my insecurities for the night and dress however I wanted.
From then on, I haven’t been afraid to show a little or a lot of skin when I attend shows, and that to me is what personal freedom and self-empowerment is. Being confident in my own body and expressing autonomy over it has been a long and continuous journey for me, but I am incredibly grateful that I have met so many other amazing women (and men!) in the rave community, whose only intentions are to uplift one another and to show each other nothing but love and positivity. That’s why one of my favorite parts of going to shows is planning what outfit I’m going to wear, because I can be creative with how I express myself, and whatever it is I choose to throw together, I know it will be authentic to who I am and that I will be wearing it to a place where I am fully accepted.