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Archive for September 15th, 2011

FBFF Q&A: Words of wisdom

15 Sep

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Don’t worry about what anyone else says, be proud to just be yourself, girls.

That’s my mom talking to me and my two sisters. While I may have spent a good portion of my life trying to blend in and look like other girls, I failed. In August of nineteen seventy-six I arrived to the United States an eight year-old olive-skinned French girl from the Middle East with no American vocabulary. I had no clue what kids were saying, what games they were playing nor why I looked so different. Parading awkwardly in my cousin Peggy’s outdated hand-me-downs, what had once been the coolest tie-dye pink bell bottoms were now the source of ridicule. I wanted so badly to fit in that it tormented me. I wore the pants anyway because I loved them.

Enter the transition between middle and high school. Two ugly ducklings devoted an entire summer to becoming swans; the hours spent experimenting with make-up and raiding my best friend’s mom’s closet were too numerous to count. We started high school as new students, almost completely. Unrecognized, we both had the freedom to be newer, more improved versions of our awkward tween selves. We were also trapped by trying so hard. In no time at all I discovered new wave, punk and goth music and style. I experimented and expressed my love for fashion and music in a way that was destined to get me noticed as odd or weird. I did it anyway.

I work in the corporate headquarters with approximately fifteen hundred people. Fifteen hundred business people: Buttoned-down shirts, slacks, black, grey, tan, beige and off-white. I’m not trying to stir the pot or get others to talk, I haven’t chosen to express myself visually to draw attention. I don’t require that level of validation for my appearance. Yet, I know that I will draw some attention for my aesthetic choices. That’s ok, ultimately, I still have to be myself. I answer all queries in the elevator graciously and with a smile.

There’s a level of integrity that resides within me, even if at times dormant, that comes from the belief that I shouldn’t worry about what others think. That by being myself I don’t have to justify the way I look nor the way I behave. This statement doesn’t come from a place of cluelessness, I understand that this expression doesn’t permit me to misbehave onto others. It doesn’t mean being rude or insensitive to certain situations. I get it. But, wherever and whenever I can, I will do my best to live as closely to that dogma as possible.

My mother’s advice has permeated my existence; the closer I live each day to the way I believe I should, the stranger it feels physically and mentally when I don’t.  Bad choices inherently feel wrong. More accurately, they feel “un-right”. The metamorphosis of my character through time is good. I mean, really good. As hard as I tried to belong through my formative years I couldn’t help ending up just being me.

Don’t worry, mom. I’m not keeping myself up at night by thinking of what others think of me. I’m more concerned with what I think of me.

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For this week’s topic, we were asked to share the best advice we’d ever received. After much rumination, I decided that this particular bit of advice has stayed with me through and through, impacting my life powerfully. Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting this topic. Friend Friday is an opportunity for fashion and beauty bloggers to share their thoughts on a specific topic and read what others have to say on that same topic. For more information, check out Modly Chic and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!