I am a pleasant person to run into, a fairly good conversationalist, and I am also consistently grumpy. Though my grumpiness is leveled off by occasional exuberance and a tendency to get intensely excited about unusual things, at a base level, I am the equivalent of an irritable house cat who likes to spend her time alone, inside, and destroying furniture. Recently, I said to a friend that I was feeling cranky and they responded with, “Lily, you are vaguely cranky, like, one hundred percent of the time.” Because I like having friends and I like being friendly, this internal level of agitation is kept in check, but apparently the people around me think that my grumpiness should have some sort of outlet. For me, this has been clothing. I often receive a particular kind of gift: shirts and sweatshirts with grumpy slogans plastered across the front. Here are some of my favorites:
I Like To Party and By Party I Mean Take Naps
Given to me for my seventeenth birthday by a dear friend of mine, this shirt is a lovely periwinkle tank top with black text. It conveys my secret truth: I would always rather be sleeping. Taking naps and partying are two rather illicit, yet acceptable activities, and I enjoy both of them in moderation. Given the choice, however, a Saturday afternoon nap with no set alarm as opposed to a Saturday night rager is ultimately more appealing.
If I Have To Put Pants On Then No
Another birthday present, though I cannot remember from when; it is a black tank top with white and red text. This particular shirt stems from a tendency that I had during high school to be generally unprepared when people arrived to pick me up and go somewhere. As a catch-all phrase to convey that I was not ready but that I soon would be, I would yell into the phone, “I have to put pants on, hold on!” So one enterprising friend of mine got me this shirt and I love them deeply for it.
Private: Keep Out
I have an aunt (well actually, I have three) who has a predilection for giving me presents in the same vein as the shirts I’ve listed so far. Only one of them really exemplifies the genre, a pullover hoodie with a construction zone print that reads, PRIVATE: KEEP OUT. I’ve always been open, but contained. I’m happy to share details about my life, and I’m content to keep the most intense experiences to myself. Ultimately, if I’m wandering around in a big hoodie, with dead eyes, and it’s a Monday morning, keep out is exactly what the world should do.
Leave Me Alone
As a gift to three of his granddaughters, my grandfather gave me and my sisters black tank tops that all said, “Leave Me Alone.” We all wore them for a time, but I have become the most committed to the fashion statement. I have always identified as an introvert, so the shirt, as most of these others listed, appealed to me. I like to wear it with peasant skirts for the contrast, or with ripped jeans to a concert. It’s cute and it’s angry— clearly how I like my clothes to be.
People express themselves through their fashion choices. My clothes allow me to say what I’m thinking, even if it’s sometimes more extreme than I actually feel. Regardless, my irritated shirts have an entertaining and harmless shock value and give my aesthetic an interesting twist. I like having a small physical presence and a larger than life voice. My shirts help me do that, calling attention to the space I take up and informing the world that if they are not invited into it, then to please stay out. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with being a little grumpy every now and then.
Image Credit:: Lily Alig