Do Your Own Thing
This has been one of the greatest lessons of my year. Of my life, really.
I was raised to be confident and creative. My parents encouraged my individuality. Now, don't get me wrong, I was raised very conservatively in a strong Christian environment with lots of rules- we weren't just an anything goes family. But, within that realm, I was taught to be me.
Growing up, (and still now), I had big, wild, conspicuous curly hair. I had thick, unruly dark brown eyebrows. They made quite a statement on their own, but paired with my (then) naturally very blonde big curly hair, you could say I was a bit different. Most everyone else had orderly straight hair, combed into neat ponytails or hanging straight down. As I grew older, in middle school, pencil-thin eyebrows were all the rage. I kid you not when I say almost every. single. girl had very tweezed brows. My mom had always, and still does, told me how beautiful I was. She loved to tell a story of how all of the nurses commented endlessly about my beautiful eyebrows when I was born. Every day she told me how absolutely beautiful I was, talented I was, great I was. She built my self-confidence to such a high level, that even when pressured to join the ranks of pencil-thin eyebrows and straight as possible hair, I stayed true to my looks. Trust me, I was made fun of plenty for that decision, in the way that children tease each other. But I always went back to what my mom said.
I applied that mentality to everything in my life. I joke that I had such inflated self-confidence that it was crazy. And to this day, I credit my mom for that. She has and had bestowed one of the best gifts imaginable- a strong sense of self and self-confidence.
Somewhere along the way, I lost a bit of that. I think it has something to do with having a new set of friends as you get older- friends that are different from you in some ways. I would watch my fashion-plate best friend and notice how she and her friends all had the same bags, bracelets, etc. I was so out of the fashion trend loop that I didn't even know those specific things existed, but here I was at a wedding shower and everyone was wearing the same colors, the same bangle bracelet, same sandals, etc. I remember looking at the one bangle that had little circles all along the band, and within those circles it looked like a print for flat head screwdriver. Everyone was wearing one. I was baffled. I had never seen this bracelet, and everyone else had and was wearing it.
This sounds really silly to me now, but later that week, the bracelet and the "uniform" that everyone was wearing kept gnawing at me. I started to feel like there was a "club" and I was not a part of it, and I hadn't even heard of it. This kept happening for years. Somewhere along the way, I felt like I was doing it wrong. For a little while, I tried to keep up in some bizarre way, but I didn't even know how. And at it's core- I clearly didn't even want to. I didn't know about those things and I wasn't wearing them because I didn't like them. Simple as that.
Fast forward to me, present day. Now I would just ask what it was if I was curious. Or make a little joke about being out of the loop. Or observe and dismiss it- what is good for them is not necessarily right for me.
This issue has come up time and time again in my life. I, again, excepting my mom, am pretty much the only crafty person I know. I love crafting. I love creating things. I love scrapbooking, painting, decorating, making cute food for holidays, creating themed parties. I have been teased for this too. I have been called the Martha Stewart, among all sorts of other things. These are actually great compliments, but when said in a specific tone or with an eyebrow-raise, they might not feel so good. But who cares? I love it and it's who I am. I'm going to do it.
Another time it came up was just the other day. I was getting ready for an evening event, and I was mentally going through my bags to find what I would carry. It was an evening bag sort of event, and I've collected several, but the one I wanted to wear was a very whimsical heart-shaped lavender clutch. I rationalized, telling myself no- I can't wear that. I need to look more serious, more put together, more whatever. And then I caught myself, and I was like, why?! THIS IS WHO I AM. THIS IS WHAT I LIKE. WHO CARES IF SOMEONE, OR ANYONE, ELSE DOESN'T LIKE IT?! And I decided I would wear it.
Life is too short to care what others think. Yes- obviously you need to be a good person and good to your people and all that- that is not what this is about. This is about being unabashedly you. Be proud to be you. Have enough courage and confidence to be you. You are beautiful, awesome, and you are the only one like you. Celebrate it.