Back to the School Yard

Kids can be cruel.

Over the years, each one of my 3 kids have come home with hurt feelings from some sort of school yard incident.  My daughter is the youngest, and I find cruel words are more prevalent among girls.  I tell her it will all be OK, just continue to be who she is, and don’t worry about what others think of her.  She’s perfect as is.

I realize this is easier said then done.  I work from home, so it’s not very often I actually dress professionally when I’m editing photos alone in the comfort of my office (think yoga pants and baggy well-worn t-shirts I refuse to give up).  Today I managed to get up early and I actually did my hair, makeup, and dressed like I was going to work where *gasp* I would see other people.   Three O’Clock snuck up on me, and I quickly put on my favourite pair of brown heeled boots and ran out the door to pick up my kids from school.

You see, I love these brown boots. I feel confident when I walk in them, but since I’m usually at home I don’t wear them often.

I felt good getting ready for the day, so I suppose I did walk to school with a bit more zest in my step.  As I waited at the doors of my daughter’s school for the bell to ring, I noticed two Mom’s talking quietly beside me.  They looked over at me, and then continued whispering. I felt like they were talking about me, but told myself that was ridiculous, what could they possibly have to say as I was just standing there minding my business.

As they walked by me, the one Mom said to the other Mom loud enough so I could hear them “I didn’t know it was wear-your-stripper-boots-to-school day”. The other Mom looked down at my boots and giggled as they walked away.

I just stood there stunned with my mouth open, staring at my much-loved boots. “These aren’t stripper boots” I mouthed.  And then I felt stupid… just. for. one. second. The anger quickly set in, and in that moment of anger I wished I had something witty to say back.

It wasn’t until I got home that the patronizing words I tell my daughter rang in my mind…”Just be yourself, don’t worry what anyone else thinks about you.” The thoughts I had a few moments before in the “school yard” also replayed in my mind and I pictured myself saying to my daughter “Be confident, but not too confident or other women will think you are stuck up. Be happy, but not too happy or other women will think you are annoying. Be kind, but not too kind or other women will question your motives. Be proud, but not too proud or other women will think you are vain. Work hard to be successful, but not too successful or other women will be threatened by you.”

Bull Shit.

To all you women out there, I learned something today and it’s also raised more questions in my mind. Perhaps you can share some of your wise insights with me. Please feel free to comment on this topic!

Why can’t women support other women? Forgive me for generalizing because this certainly isn’t the case for the women I am so thankful to have as friends. I’ve met some incredibly supportive women. I’m just questioning the times in our lives when we are cut down by other women.  Those times when catty comments filled with judgments and misunderstanding are delivered when one just needs support, kindness, and understanding.

There’s many distorted messages in the media that influence women in a negative way regarding how we should look, how we should dress, what our role  in society should be…and yet, rather than women supporting and uplifting other women, there are times like the one I just experienced that places us right back into the school yard full of insecurities.

So this is what I learned today:

Do not make assumptions about another person based on their outside appearance. We are all just people. All deserving of respect and kindness. If a judgment pops up in my mind about another person I’m going to take some time to evaluate WHY I feel that way…because it’s more about my own insecurities. It truly isn’t about them.

Kindness is important.

Positivity is important.

It’s OK to walk with your head held high. There was a time not so long ago when I walked with my head down. I refuse to go back there.

I will continue to support, uplift, encourage and genuinely appreciate the women I meet in life. It DOES make a difference.

Positive out, Positive in. You receive exactly what you give. I’ve never been so sure of this fact in all of my life than I am now.

I will accept and love those who I do not understand.

I will not hide my strengths because of another’s weaknesses.  There is nothing wrong with loving who you are. I was trapped in self-loathing for much of my adult life. It’s not a fun place to be.

There is nothing better than watching a friend succeed. Successful, independent, confident women motivate and inspire me. Thank you to each wildly imaginative, accepting, successful, caring and kind woman whom I have had the pleasure to meet. You make me a better person.

Tomorrow I will walk with my head held high back to school, and I may even try to find higher heels to walk in.  Who am I kidding, I would twist an ankle. My doctor once prescribed me high-tops for my weak ankles. Sadly, this is a true story. But a smile will still be on my face. 🙂

From my heart to yours,

Christine

17 thoughts on “Back to the School Yard

  1. I can’t say much that you haven’t already said, these Woman obviously are not confident or they wouldn’t have commented! I bet they wish that they could pull off “hooker boots” and look amazing;) Unfortunately we can’t change others attitudes so you are doing the best thing by continuing to be you, and realizing that it really has nothing to do with YOU it’s all about THEM… For they do not even know you!

    1. I agree Tina, I have really thought about this because I don’t ever want to treat another woman in a way that makes her feel “less than”. I’m actually thankful it happened because it reminds me to treat other women well. Thanks for your comment, you are a kind woman my friend.

  2. “Something’s gotta give”, that’s what I say to myself as I leave the house with 3 kids. It’s either I looked put together and have a perfectly packed diaper bag, with snacks, toys and extra clothes but I leave my house in a complete whirlwind. Or the house looks great, but the baby has no toys, there are no snacks and I didn’t even get to brush my teeth. I’m sure this is the same story in most homes. But rather then putting another mother down we need to acknowledge them positively, even just with a smile. Because tomorrow the roles could be reversed.

    1. I love your perspective on this Kristine. “Something’s gotta give” and “tomorrow the roles could be reversed”. So true! And it’s the same story in my home. 🙂

  3. Well put wise lady. Your story brought a tear to my eye. I was 15/17? when my mom used some of her very hard earned $ (we were rather poor) to buy me a pair of short black boots with heels. The first time I wore them someone made a similar comment … I never wore them again. I couldn’t, even though I had loved them so much.

    How words can cut and how words can undermine. And, yes, how much it is easier said than done these lessons we try to teach our daughters.

    1. That’s horrible you couldn’t wear your beautiful boots Charman! I say you go buy yourself some boots that remind you of that time and wear them proudly 🙂 Thank you for your comment. It has reminded me of the things I need to teach my daughter both in my words, but most importantly by my actions.

  4. Hee hee hee … I too was prescribed hightop shoes for my weak ankles. Maybe our love of boots is stemming from some inner rebellious streak 🙂

  5. I love reading your posts and as a mom of two myself, I have come across these same types of women at the school, the hockey rink or in business. I don’t have the time to engage them or I’d probably ask them to meet me in the back alley…LOL Seriously though, its sad and as Tina said, they have their own insecurity issues – we all do as women. Heck, as people – since I’m sure men do too. Some men don’t grow up, and apparently as you saw today – some women don’t either. Funny thing is – the biggest bullies in school often are EXACTLY the same shallow person 20-30 years later…they don’t evolve.

    Hold your head up, trust that you’re a fantastic YOU and keep focusing on the important, positives in life.

    **oh, and as soon as I lose enough weight so that my calves can fit into knee-high boots I’ll be strutting around in my boots too 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment Tera. It’s a great reminder how to raise our own children. It’s important! As much as it sucks to have someone unfairly judge another, there’s an even greater impact to have the influence of kindness and support without judgement. As Moms we can show our children what this means.

  6. Prepare yourself if you think the “mean moms” are b****es…wait till you experience the next generation of them! Unfortunately they reproduce again and again. I agree teach your daughters to be all that and not give a shit what people think…in the long run the good people will be by her side…from one loving mom to another!

  7. I’ve always encouraged my children to ignore people who don’t accept them exactly as they are but it doesn’t make it any easier in practice. It’s like that poor kid whose parents can’t afford to buy them label brand clothing and they get teased for showing up in WalMart. Or the ones who can identify the year and line from Gap or Gymboree and tease your kid (or you) about having “2007’s” line. Gimme a break. And the sad thing is, it’s not hard to figure out where they are learning it from. We are never going to make everyone happy. I think you hit the nail on the head – it’s a mentality that festers in our girls and I try and be conscious about not thinking much less saying things about what people are wearing. If we set a better example for our children – instill tolerance and acceptance instead of judgment and loathing – for those who choose to express themselves and celebrate their individuality as well as for those who can’t afford or don’t wish to express themselves through fashion, then we might stand a snowball’s chance in hell of making the world a better place. Thank you for sharing such honesty – I love how it helps me reflect and clarify those things in my own life I might not be paying close enough attention to.

    1. Hope, you are so wise! I love that you reminded us all that there is also the other side of the coin. I grew up with hand me downs and hand made clothing and I was OK with that! I didn’t have anything brand name. I’m thankful for that fact. I love reading your insights. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I’m always surprised when I hear of women being hurtful toward other women. You would think we would have learned by now, and yet it continues to happen. I used to work in a corporate environment that was primarily male. I got along great until they started bringing in a lot more women, and with it came the snubs, the gossip, and groups ganging up on women. I’ve been researching this topic and have just started drafting a novel about it.

    I love your attitude about it! There are plenty of women in this world who will support you, stripper boots and all!

    1. Thank you for your comment Nadine. I just nodded my head the whole time I read your words. I too worked in an office with mostly males, and I had zero issues the entire time I worked there. A couple years later I was transferred to a different office, and although I met some amazing women there, there was also gossiping circles that brought negativity to the office. It’s too bad! Life is just more fun when you surround yourself with love and positivity. Good luck with your novel, I would love to read it when it’s released! Congratulations!!!

  9. UGH. my mouth dropped open when I read what those women said.
    I’m SO sick of other women who feel the need to judge and put down others. You are an amazing women and what’s better is you know it and don’t make any apologies for it! I love that about you. Don’t ever change, because you, my dear are awesomeness!

    1. Elena: I miss you and love you my dear friend. By meeting you, I’m a better person because of the amazing example you have set for me. xoxo Christine

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