Panda Hat: Adult-appropriate apparel

Panda HatThe first thing my lovely editor Grace said when I told her I wanted to write a blog about growing up (and how I’m utterly failing at it) was that since I am over 18, I am already a grown up. This blog is about adult-ing.

If you’ve never seen me walking around campus when the fall climate has kicked in, look for a panda. There’s a pretty good probability that it’s me.

I love my panda hat, and I was really excited to wear it again this fall. If you’ve ever felt it — which you can, but you have to ask — it’s incredibly soft. When I wear it, I feel all cozied up, and it makes the long days and nights of homework and stress less sharp. I’m sure there’s some primal (we’re not going to say Freudian) swaddling theory in there somewhere, but when I’ve been averaging 5.5 hours of sleep a night, maintaining a positive mentality from a hat seems like a pretty good deal. Also, fun fact: Pandas are meant to bring joy, and they do it very well. Everyone loves pandas.

All of these early morning students with their gray under-toned clothing and their serious faces were going to their serious classes to get ready for a serious career.

The day I broke it out came around, though, and it kind of sucked. I totally get that when I have a giant (friendly) panda on my head, I’m probably going to have people look at me. People are judged based on appearance. I get that. When I walked out of my apartment, though, I felt like I was a circus performer at a wake.

All of these early morning students with their gray under-toned clothing and their serious faces were going to their serious classes to get ready for a serious career. And then here was me, with my big, furry panda hat with its ears that stick out and the big paw hands, and I felt like I was doing something wrong. Like me still wearing a panda hat was something that I should have grown out years ago, and that I should be different right now.

I’m not going to wear my panda hat to a job interview or a networking event. I love it death, and while it’s one of my favorite things to wear — a job interview means you suit up and put on your “qualified applicant” face. It means trying to sound bigger than I feel and pretending that my experiences have made me a guru in the communications field… ha! It means saying things I don’t necessarily believe, but one day I hope to believe.
But that’s exhausting. When I wear my panda hat, it’s not to impress anyone. It’s to be me. Enjoy the things that make laughter bubble up from within you. It’s what makes adult-ing not suck.