‘If the shoe fits’ a poem by writer Jessica Oakwood

If the shoe fits

By Jessica Oakwood

I used to dress like someone else.

Masking my autism and mental health problems

with smart casual office wear and Kurt Geiger loafers

with plain dresses that I didn’t have an opinion on.

Occasionally something would burst

out of the mad wardrobe I hid in – a silk scarf

bearing a symphony of musical notes

a laser cut necklace featuring a glitter-covered unicorn

with hooves that can move.

But mostly I was button-down

wearing buttonless dresses

and smart shoes.

Sometimes mismatched

because they were so similar

I couldn’t tell the difference between pairs.

Since I lost my mind

and lost the ability to mask

my colour changing blending-in power is gone,

I was once a chameleon with a knack

for a spreadsheet.

But now,

I’m left as just


I’ve started to dopamine dress to try and give myself

a hit of happiness.

I pick the brightest thing in the closet, clash it with a cardigan

and voila, I am ready.

I’m tired now, daily life is harder

carrying mental health issues

on my worn shoulders

and although sometimes

I wear the same outfit over and over,

it’s too complex to think through what to wear

too intensive to sort out what needs to be washed

I throw it all on from my floordrobe – pretense of functionality begone.

And I dress like a rainbow threw up on me

with just a pinch

of glitter

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