Have you ever stopped to think about the peacock? He doesn’t look like other birds. He doesn’t act like other birds. He doesn’t put on a facade or try to hide who he is, though. In fact, he downright celebrates it. Each day is a holiday for a peacock because he wakes up as himself. His self confidence, pride, and even arrogance make him one of of the most beautiful things on earth. He doesn’t just accept his originality. He doesn’t just embrace his originality. He struts his originality. Man, I love that.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”– Dr. Seuss
Last night my husband and I were talking a little bit about our daughters. We were, to be quite honest, counting our blessings that the biggest dramas we’ve ever had to worry about with our girls are things like too much self-tanning, not eating enough vegetables, creative use of makeup, and the fact that one of them drives like her mother (okay, admittedly, that’s a pretty big drama). We’ve never had any “huge” worries or problems (drinking, drugs, or even cigarettes) and, believe me, we thank God every morning, noon, and night. We could not have asked for better daughters and our pride in them could light up an entire continent.
After my husband fell asleep, I stayed awake for about 20 minutes – just thinking , while petting Alexa (our diva cat). One of the things I’m most proud of when it comes to my girls is the fact that they are who they are and they say what they think – NO APOLOGIES. Each one is at the steering wheel of her own life and Heaven help the fool that tries to take the wheel out of their hands.
I’ve seen that attempt made and it’s never pretty. There have been casualties and I’m sure there’ll be more. They learned at an early point in life that if someone can’t accept you for who you are, they aren’t worth your time. As Marilyn Monroe said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
Our middle daughter, Brittany, went through a phase where she wore black – as in only black. Here she was one of the most colorful little girls you’d ever want to be around (colorful personality, colorful sense of humor) and she wore one color. Black. As her mother, I was proud that she wore what she wanted to wear in spite of the ribbing she got from some people. Deep down I had a lot of respect for this child who decided what she wanted to wear and refused to be swayed. When shopping for my beautiful girls, at that time, I’d buy yellows, oranges, and reds for Stephany, blues, whites, and more blues for Emily and for Brittany? Black. I never tried to talk her down off of her black cliff, I simply bought her the cutest black clothes I could find.
I knew it’d pass, but I wanted her to know that I loved her and accepted her for who she was and, what’s more, I respected her choices. Having said that, I did a little happy dance the first day she ran (she never walked, she always ran) through the house wearing an orange t-shirt she’d dug out of the back of her closet. Emily and I did a double-take at the orange streak. The black phase was officially over.
Developing a strong will in young people may seem counterproductive. When they’re small, parents want them to “DO AS I SAY” right now and every single time after that. Many parents seem to think the goal is to BREAK their will. Big, dumb, colossal, stupid mistake. You want your kids to grow up with a backbone – you want them to have a strong enough will to say NO when the time arises. When others around them pick up the wrong kind of drink, you want your sons and daughters to pick up the right kind of drink.
When others around them do drugs, you want your child to head for the door.
In the end, when others tell them, “You’re different.” – You want your little girl or little boy to say, “Damn right I’m different!”
You know me and my obsession with inspirational quotes, right? It won’t come as a surprise that, when our daughters were little, I had them memorize a lot of great quotes in home school. One of the first ones they ever learned was one of my absolute favorites: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss said these magical words and I never leave home without them.
Be who you are! Socrates said, “To find yourself, think for yourself.” More magical words! Don’t let anyone else think for you. Don’t let them dress you, do your hair, choose your major, pick your job, plan your time, or put words into your mouth. If you think you have to be someone you’re not to “hold on” to someone, ask yourself if they’re even worth hanging on to. You don’t want to go through life with a facade on any more than you’d want to go through life with a mask on.
Be you. Stay You. If anyone ever tries to get you to budge, look at them like they have two heads and.. well, quite frankly, neither one does a thing for you.