I received a $50 coupon to Urban Outfitters in my inbox. So, that means I might be able to afford a shirt if I get a second mortgage on my house. My daughter loves this store which pains me because it is basically my closet from the 1990s. I could have saved so much money if I didn’t get rid of my acid wash jeans and shaker knit sweaters. We rocked those windbreakers and color block shirts a long time ago. The difference between my daughter’s generation and mine is they look like they are 12 going on 21 and I looked like Kimmy Gibbler. They skipped over the tween awkward phase. I just took my daughter to get a manicure. My nails look like I have been working in a coal mine without gloves and she is walking around looking like Cardi B. We didn’t do our nails or sculpt our eyebrows before becoming a teenager. I had two caterpillars walking across my forehead when I was in the 7th grade. Then, by graduation I had two thin lines hovering above my eyes. Now, I have to fill in the overplucked bare spots with an eyebrow pencil. If I ever get caught in the rain my eyebrows are going to disappear.
My daughter has her own unique style and I love it. She was rocking a pair of oversized, plastic earrings last week. I had a pair in every color when I was younger. I also had the most amazing Wham! shirt. This wasn’t just any old off the rack Wham! 3/4 length sleeve t-shirt. It was custom made with George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley on the front and my name in capitol letters on the back. I was so proud of that shirt. I saved money I earned babysitting to buy it at a local screen printing shop. I was happy and confident. I marched into the middle school like I was walking the runway in France. Then, I ran into a boy who we will call Brian because that is his name. It’s strange the things you remember in life. I often forget why I walked downstairs or important dates, but I know every word to an Ace of Base song and I have a vivid recollection of that day in 6th grade. We were standing outside of classroom because the teacher wouldn’t let us inside a second before the bell rang. Back then, I wondered what she was doing in there. Now, as an adult, I know she was just enjoying the silence. Brian and a group of boys were standing with their backs to the heavy wooden door when I walked up. Brian turned, looked me over and started mocking my shirt. He was handsome with brown hair and blue eyes. He shopped at the Gap and dressed as if he could attend an emergency meeting at the country club at any moment. I never wore that shirt again.
My goal as a mother is to teach my children, especially my daughter, to love themselves first. I want her to have enough confidence to wear what she wants and to be who she wants to be. I want her to leave a relationship the moment someone becomes verbally abusive. I was with someone in my life who regularly mocked my weight or what I wore. “You’re a cow.” “You’re disgusting.” It got to the point where I cut the tags out of my clothing so he could not see what size I was. I was a size 8. An abuser will discover all of your insecurities and, during their fits of rage, will use them to tear you down. If you had an eating disorder in your lifetime, like I did, he will say, “You are looking a little chubby. It might be time to go throw up your food.” In the beginning, he would tell me, “I’m just kidding.” It was never funny and slowly crushed what little self-esteem I had. He knew what he was doing. The greatest lesson I can give my children besides self love is that words matter. Something they say to a kid at school may have an impact they cannot comprehend. So, be kind, don’t listen to the Brians of the world and wear the Wham! shirt again. Hell, one day that shirt may be sold for hundreds dollars at Urban Outfitters.