This post is part of the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest 2015.
I still remember her name. Not because we were friends. She was a senior while I was a freshman in high school. Sure, we were both in the flute section of band, but she was first chair and I was way back in the second row hoping to make my way up to the front row someday. My dad knew her dad, but that didn’t make us cohorts. No, I remember Deirdre for one thing in particular: being different.
Different in appearance.
I don’t mean she bucked the trendy stuff and went all rebel—she wasn’t emo when everyone else was hipster. She didn’t conform to a different standard or subculture. She didn’t even seem to make a point of standing out, but she did.
Why? Because she was essentially her own trend.
Her hairstyle wasn’t the fad of the day. Her fashion was fun and quirky (and really nothing I saw on the racks, so I wondered sometimes how she did that). Her demeanor was confident, without being “hey, look at me!”
And I think about her sometimes. Because if I had to do high school over again, I’d be like Deirdre.*
I wouldn’t copy her fashion. Rather, I’d own my own version of beauty. I’d wear what I wanted, choose a hairstyle I liked, walk with a lot more confidence. I’d dare to be different. I’d be me.
I’d choose a look that made me feel good about myself—whether it matched or clashed with current expectations.
Instead of worrying what designers said was “in,” I’d consider my body shape and dress to show it off. Instead of wasting hours with home perms, curling irons, and Aqua Net hairspray (the thing at the time), I’d let my straight hair be straight. Instead of comparing myself with a taller girl, a curvier girl, or just a prettier girl, I’d look in the mirror and take stock of my own assets. Instead of wallowing in self-doubt and body-image issues, I’d lift up my chin and walk with confidence.
I’d own my beauty.
Knowing it was unique to me.
I don’t have high school to do over again. Instead, I have these days to dress how I want, choose the look I want, walk with the self-confidence I now possess.
And I can encourage young girls to do and be better.
Young ladies, when I see you all in the school parking lot with the same hairstyle, I wonder who had to wrestle and wrangle with hair products, tools, and self-criticism to get that look…and if you ever want to do something different.
When I see a fashion trend catch hold, and school hallways filled with the latest thing, I wonder if you all love it for what it is…or if you ever want to wear something different.
When I hear you criticize your appearance and complain about your hair, makeup, body shape, or style, I wonder if you believe that down deep…or if you ever want to believe something different.
Believe in your beauty. It’s there—inside and out.
And go ahead. Dare to be different. Dare to be you.
When you’re my age (yes, a long time from now), you’ll be glad you did.
~ ♀ ~