The Peer Pressure Scenario
The moms have been wearing tank tops and work out shorts with their cute little shades and looking all ‘in’ when dropping their kids off in the expertly decorated VBS classrooms. They walk together in the hallways laughing at their little stories. They hang out in the back of the sanctuary talking quickly and giggling while the kids sing their final songs for the day. I imagine what they are laughing at as I watch them, secretly, while standing in the doorway.
Today, I dared walk out of the house in almost an identical outfit to those moms. The ones I perceived as having it all together, nice (if maybe a little stand-off-ish, but that was probably because their kids all came to this VBS before so they knew each other, right?)
I swear today every single other mom had on a cute, in-style little dress with the happening platform sandals.
Immediately I started to feel like I was in school again, alone and self-conscious. Letting what others wear, how they looked, how they held themselves, who they talked with (certainly not me!) make me feel bad about myself.
What on earth about these ladies bothered me so much as to make me feel self-conscious like I was 15?
I pondered this a while and decided to drown my sorrows in Facebook, where I saw a friend’s post about nearly the same thing.
Laura visited the beach where she was staying and overheard some people say “Oh she’s the girl who…” and thought they may be talking about her. She went on in her post to reflect on how others treated her in high school (picking her second-to-last for teams – I was usually last) and how she felt people saw her as ‘that weird girl’ – when in fact she was and is a beautiful, organic person who had decided to live life to the fullest for herself rather than for someone else. (Complete with red-dyed hair and a mohawk – I saw her as not scared to be herself.)
Instead of ruminating on what she overheard Laura did something wonderful and it really spoke to me as the perfect picture I needed in my mind.
She wrote a note to herself in the sand about how she viewed the people she overheard. It was quickly washed away by the waves, as if the waves were saying, “why are you holding on to this old hurt when it could be dissolved so quickly.”
What a beautiful picture.
So as I go back to pick up my boys I will not look at the ladies in their summer dresses with envy or feel badly about myself as a result. I will instead think about who I am, why I am me, and how I can be more fully me…
If you can relate to this, or have at any time, think about these questions and dismiss your negative thoughts:
- Who am I? (This answer can be as simple as wife, mom, daughter, funny)
- Why am I me? (I’m the only one with a freckle on the tip of my nose. I’m the one who can laugh easily and lift someone’s mood.)
- How can I be more fully me? (I can see beauty around me in places others can’t. I can smile when I drop a dish rather than swear. I can choose to ignore what I perceive others’ opinions are of me.)