New Kid on the Block

From country mouse to city slicker


Photo Credit: Danielle Kiemel
Photo Credit: Danielle Kiemel, taken from Getty Images

I always imagined my life would be like Sex and the City. Of course, I’ve never actually seen a full episode, but from what I do know, it looks like the sweet life.

I wanted to be the lady strutting through the city, wearing four-inch Louis Vuitton pumps; I wanted to go to lunch with handsome, intelligent men and have fancy cocktails with my girlfriends.

But as of two months ago I was still living in my parents house on the farm where I grew up. It’s about as far from the high city life as you can get—but I had big plans. I was moving to Toronto.

Moving somewhere new is always nerve-wracking. When I did it the first time in university, I decided that I was going to start over. Reinvent myself. It should be easy. No one knows your secrets, or who you were before; you can be whoever you want. Easier said than done.

Back then I didn’t have a clear vision of who I wanted to become. I fumbled along and reverted to my old habits. I found friends similar to the ones back home and stayed in my comfort zone. Now that I’ve moved again, I find I’m reinventing myself once more, only this time I know that I’m changing. I’m growing up and becoming more sophisticated, because I know who I want to be.

The first thing that changed was my physical appearance. Truthfully this began before I moved to Toronto. I lost about 25 pounds in my senior year and it gave me so much confidence. I was suddenly fitting into sizes I thought I had said goodbye to forever, but the weight loss meant that none of my clothes fit anymore. As a result, I bought the most important pieces, and I thanked my lucky stars that baggy clothes were in fashion. I’m not saying that this is the first step in every reinvention, but newfound confidence is key.

Even after the weight loss I still felt like the same person, but after a few months of living in Toronto, I decided it was time for an overhaul. I died my ombre hair a shade above black and gave myself modern, blunt bangs. I made my cat eye makeup more dramatic, and learned to contour my face. My makeover changed how I perceived myself. I didn’t feel like the farmer’s daughter anymore; I was a city slicker.

This became apparent to me after returning to my hometown for a friend’s wedding. None of her family recognized me, and the people sitting at our table immediately assumed that I was from the city.

It’s not just my appearance that has changed. This city has consumed me. I’m changing into a different person as I gain more experience by exploring and meeting new people. I already feel the change and there is still so much more to explore. Now I have to decide how much I’m going to change and how tightly I’m going to hold on to who I used to be.

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