Our reflection in the mirror is often clouded by the gaze of outsiders, and in our own way, we include elements that help us be true to ourselves. It could be a signature hairdo, a go-to make-up look or, in the case of our guest, a septum. Meet Aqui Thami- an activist, artist, founder of Sister Library and a totem of change for Oceedee.
“I pierced my septum like 10 years ago as a sign of reclaiming. I really see jewelry as that space of going back and taking what we were not allowed to do. My grandmothers have the piercing, but don’t wear the septum. They still see it as something that will make someone look inferior in the eyes of the colonizer.” said Aqui. Further, in this conversation, she expressed how this helps her break the circle of oppression.
The conditioning we go through from family, friends, media, and society is not an easy shell to come out of. The unsaid lessons around us unconsciously pierce through to our daily habits and are yet to be recognised and addressed. As women, especially, the complexities and nuances of our lives are infrequently translated on the screen or the paper. The process of finding oneself or feeling seen becomes a challenge from the get-go. The elements we feel represent us, ones that aid in defining our identity are sometimes subtle, like the sort of footwear. The thought we put into our footwear is often less, but that is the starting point of how we perceive others and ourselves in most cases.
Footwear isn’t merely something that provides comfort and ties the outfit together. Our choices reflect our status and what we want to project to the world. The click of the heels is louder when you hear it carefully. We have gone to the extent of gauging the mood of a person based on their footwear- right or wrong- the imagery is strong enough for our minds to preconceived notions about them.
It is apparent that our footwear is a totem of identity- an expression of power, status, and even emotions. Whenever a “powerful woman” walks into a boardroom, heels are a constant feature and similarly, slides are now a symbol of comfort. When our choices in shoes can speak volumes of who we are, then why is it not given priority while styling our everyday outfits.
The name etched on the sole and the choice of style for your outfit is the first and foremost giveaway to how interactions take place. The perception is inevitable and prejudice is unavoidable, but the story is yours to tell.
Choose your Totem of Identity on www.oceedee.com