(This is another one of my intimate, personal posts. Yes, I am letting myself be vulnerable. And yes, I hope friends will reply with love. Thanks! ❤ )
So, I had a really interesting moment today…
Here’s a little background going in:
My eleven year old daughter has been bullied and shunned a bit by the neighborhood girls this past year and a half. It’s normal from what I have been told, for middle school girls to be jerks, so we have been (im)patiently awaiting her old friends to come back and accept M for her differences.
And we’re actually doing pretty well. M is highly creative, and has found a lot of joy in playing online games with different people every day; and has found new ways to express herself through her art and drama.
After a long summer of her asking if she could cut her hair, I acquiesced. (my thought was “it’s hair. It will grow back.” and “If this is something that makes her happy, okay.”)
We found a Sports Clips that does only males, and showed them the picture, and voila, my beautiful, little girl came out as the most angelic, prettiest little boy I have ever seen.
M then asked to get some “boy” clothes so she could strut her stuff as a Roblox-playing, Minecraft apparel-wearing, scooter-riding boy.
She spent the last few weeks enjoying the fun side of being a boy, and even opened doors for me on her own; grabbed grocery bags; helped her little sister walk across the parking lot safely…
I had a few moments of confliction- wondering if I was setting my child up for failure, sending her to hell (because of a few well-meaning remarks by a friend); potentially allowing her to be shunned even more…
(I cried a few times. The big yucky ones that come with lots of snot and hyperventilating and trying to talk while wheezing through stuttered, hard-to-get breaths)
And then my sister and my best friend both got onto me. (lovingly, the way a bestie and a sister should 😉 )
They reminded me that the jerks in the neighborhood had been jerks even before M started trying out her new looks and acting. They reminded me that M had been a vampire, a witch, a goth, a fairy, a unicorn and a mermaid over the past several years.
Her experimentation and creativity were what made her, HER. And she was beautiful because of that light inside her and out. And not because of what anyone else perceived as beautiful and normal.
(okay, that’s the first part. Here’s my small part 🙂 )
Last night, I accidentally got dragged into one of those fun facebook games because I “liked” a friend’s post about getting out of a speeding ticket with their boobs, and another for winning a lottery. 😉
Even though I hate these games, I decided to follow through, because there was a chance it was legitimately for breast cancer. And hey, I’ll do almost anything fun for kids, animals, wounded vets and cancer.
So I decided to choose the craziest post I could-
Hehe, I could have chosen something like using my boobs to get out of a ticket, but a lot of other people had done that already, and I wanted to be unique. 😉
Then I regretted it for the next several hours-tossing and turning in bed, wondering if people were going to really believe the post. Was my mentor / friend going to email me and say, “Um, Kate, you know that is really unprofessional and inappropriate.”
(She hasn’t yet. But with our relationship, I would expect her to, and appreciate her looking out for me.) 😉
Anyway, I almost took it down today.
Then, I had an “it just clicked” moment with my daughter…
Today, she decided she wanted to pull out all the makeup, find her cute sparkly tennis shoes, dress up a bit differently; and be a “skater girl” sort of type.
(makeup, styled hair kind of like Anne Hathaway’s after Les Miserables, a Minecraft shirt, sparkly shoes, pink eye shadow, foundation, a little blush, and some light pink lipstick)
To say she ROCKED IT, is understating how amazing she looked. She was absolutely adorable, and once again showed off her style and flair in a confident manner.
Until we got to her new class. (She had only been to this class twice)
M sat in the car, and cried, and tried to wipe off all the makeup. She said she was afraid these new girls would tease her for wearing makeup, like the neighbor girls did.
I was furious!
Not at her. Mostly those little girls and their mothers; at myself for not doing a better job of projecting confidence and a “Girls kick ass” aura a bit better.
I told her that. I kind of lost my temper a bit too. But I told her everything that was on my heart, while my other, younger daughter listened wide-eyed in the back of the car.
I told her not to take off that dang makeup. That it had made her feel pretty and happy up until the second we pulled into the parking lot of the class.
That she was letting other people, and the fear of even more people change her actions and perceptions of herself.
She is a beautiful, amazing, young woman, who is kind and loving; does amazing art; plays with little kids, tells other people the things that bless them. She is creative and fun and energetic.
She is able to pull off being a vampire, a mermaid, a fairy, a boy, a skater girl, goth chick, karate kick ass chick… You name it, she pulls it off with style.
I told her all of this, along with the fact, that if she decided to change her style, not because she wanted to , but because she was afraid of what someone else would think, then she was essentially saying everything that she is (that we can all see in her), is crap.
It was probably a lot for an eleven year old to take in. But I wanted her to know that I love her so very much, and I don’t care how she dresses. And if it makes her happy, then she should continue doing it.
(not many people remember the unicorn picture from a few years ago. Sorry, I can’t post it on my public blog. But for those who haven’t seen it, picture an eight to nine year old prancing around Trader Joes, singing, “I’m a Unicorn.”)
That’s my baby.
I hope she knows how much she is loved, and how special she is.
I hope she never loses that light.
And I pray that she doesn’t let peer pressure affect her as badly as I have let it affect me.
So, I’m keeping the Facebook post.
Yep, folks. I have diarrhea. 😉
And I am going to make a really conscious effort to not worry about what my peers think of me before I do things.
I am going to write some books that make me happy without wondering about perception.
I’m going to continue wearing my Army boots with sun dresses (much to my poor hubby’s dismay 😉 )
I’m going to wear pigtails when I want to look cute.
I am going to remember to like myself, not for anyone else’s judgment or acceptance, but for me.
Because, not only do I have a little girl on my living room couch, wearing a long, red wig and minecraft clothes; and I want to be a good role model;
but also because I think it might be pretty dang good for me too.
Sorry for the long post.
Thanks for listening.
hugs and blessings