One random summer Sunday I treated myself to a relaxing pedicure when a man came into the nail salon to get his nails done. His acrylic nails done, with silver glitter tips.
I was a little taken aback. (OK, I was a LOT taken aback).
I fully support different lifestyles, but there are a few things that cause even me to do a double-take.
But then I thought, “You know what? Good for him to be secure enough to be so bold. Not many people would be so brave to make such a statement or do something so out of the ordinary.”
I know I can’t.
Some days, it’s hard enough to put my own thoughts out there for strangers to read, let alone make a bold fashion statement. My favorite pair of dress pants are teal colored and I feel pretty bold stepping out in those.
I have always admired my friends and family who speak up and are not afraid to share their opinions.
There are several times in my adult life where I have either kept quiet when I should have spoken up or when I have said something and then over-analyzed its effect for days afterward.
My mother-in-law has always been an inspiration to me for many reasons but a big one is the way she carries herself at work and the respect she has earned over her tenure with the company. She is one of the more respected leaders in the company and I believe part of it (among her many attributes) is because of her leadership and her ability to stand her ground and respectfully say what needs to be said, even in the toughest situations.
When I graduated college, I came away with the strongest confidence I had ever had in my life and, to be perfectly honest, I have lost a little bit of it over time from learning that even as an adult, judgement happens.
I think we would all like to say adulthood is free of judgment, but it’s not. Social classes, professions, clothes, quirks, parenting, they all get judged. It’s a fact of life.
The girls youth organization I volunteer with has always given me hope for the true meaning of acceptance. One of the things I love most about it is the variety of girls in every shape, size and personality and everyone is accepted just as they are, quirks and all.
Stephen and I spend a lot of our time in the running world at various races, and that community also amazes me with the acceptance of runners of every body type. The fact that we are all running is reason enough to be accepted… even if you run your race in a hot dog costume.
I often think of how I want to address such topics with Ella when the time comes, and what I want her to know is that it is always OK to be whomever she wants to be and no one can tell her different (though as the parent I get the right to strongly advise against or veto some choices). My main goal for her is acceptance. Acceptance of herself and of others.
That may be one of the harder lessons in life, and I know I still need some reminding from time to time, as was the case with my fellow nail salon patron.
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt says it perfectly: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”