Good Morning Beautiful People,
Something is stirring in my heart – and as always I find refuge and solace processing it through writing – so here goes nothing.
I tell my kiddos nearly every morning. Be You, Be Kind, Be Brave.
I try to do my very best in following these principals because it doesn’t matter what I preach to them- what I do- is what they listen too and try to imitate good or bad choices. More is caught than taught.
Recently, my 7 year old son has been growing his hair out. My husband and I have complimented him to high heaven about how handsome he looks-and selfishly have loved it because his future in the bald department is on a genetic trajectory to be very very high. Hubby started loosing it at 16 and the rest is generational history. I want to pause and say: Husband if you are reading this you are the most attractive bald man (well perhaps a tie with the Rock- but he has too busy of a work schedule for me) and I think you are sexier without hair and…. you get the point- I love you- the bald you.
The point is: we feel he has a narrow window in the ‘growing the hair out long’ department so we were thrilled when he decided to pass on some haircuts and intentionally pursue this new look…
Which brings me to the devastating moment- soul crushing– heart wrenching moment- he asked me to get his hair cut? Now let me pause and say I want to support him in doing whatever he wants (obviously as long as it is kind- safe- and well legal) but I know my son – and I know there was something that prompted this choice just by the way he was asking keenly to do this out of the blue. He would later admit to my husband- that he wants to cut his hair because some kids at school were saying- ‘your hair is messed up’ ‘you look like a girl’ ‘you hair is stupid’.
We have had many conversations after he came to us with this information. Things that we have told them before- and will most likely have to reiterate for many years to come- BE YOU. Meaning for all those in the back who maybe still need to hear this message at whatever age you find yourself, wherever you are on this January day- All that matters… is .. that you like.. your house, relationship, job, style, weight, artwork, and hair.
Please friend- yes we are friends by now at this point if you find yourself still reading– please stop chasing for others’ approval- it is a lonely, soul-crushing, and empty way to go about this life. You were not born to transform yourself to look like, talk like, act like, or be like everyone else. There is only one you- that my love- is your superpower- spending time trying to be anyone else- to be like everyone else- is a disservice to who you are and who your creator (God, Buddha, Dirt, Whoever) created you to be.
So we preached some. We offered examples of how his dad and I try to show up as ourselves and there have been hundreds of times throughout our life where someone had something to say about it. Maybe they didn’t say it to our face- maybe their look gave it away- maybe how they acted differently- maybe how they treated us differently. We tried to show him right now in the present moment how we are showing up as ourselves – and how right now there are people who don’t approve- but we are living our life- not theirs.
We also offered scenarios- where we didn’t make the best choice- and say true to who we are back then- and even today- and how that feels incongruent- and wrong- but we still are humans and don’t get it right sometimes.
It took me until my late 20s to not give a F*ck about what people thought of my hair, body, choices, parenting, or life. How on earth can I except a sensitive 7 year old to accomplish the knowledge that comes with this life lesson and also not care. Truthfully – there are some people who leave this earth- and on their very last day were worried about others opinions, approval, or needing their validations to prove their self worth. I am not here for that-not anymore– I don’t want that for them- I don’t want that for you-I don’t want it for my kiddos- and for damn sure I don’t want it for myself.
We talked- we gave him space- we talked some more- we let him process- and he reached his decision – and tonight we will go – and get his hair cut short.
It’s just hair. I hear you saying it. Trust me- a girl who has buzzed (using a number 0 if that’s a thing) shoulder length hair off – I know that it is just hair.
It’s however a soul-crushing decision to watch your child make. We poured knowledge and examples but inevitably we are left with no choice but to support his decision, tell him he looks handsome no matter what, that we hope he is making this choice for him, and know that this will be a lifelong roller coaster we will ride on with him. I’m grateful that we have kept and will continue to try to keep the communication line open with him and his sister- that they know they can tell us ANYTHING good or bad- but to be honest- this truly is the hardest part of parenting for me- today sitting in this- it literally hurts my heart.
I am not naïve enough- to think that my kids haven’t.. or will never say rude, hateful, unkind things. I have said rude, hateful, unkind things in the past and am not perfect and although I strive to be a good human- I will show up in the future not as my best self and most likely say, think, act in a rude, hateful, unkind manor. That is a fact as much as I type to you wishing it wasn’t.
I am going to do my best to shut it down though- to make that unallowable- unacceptable here- even if it’s me I am reprimanding and holding accountable. Truly friends- it starts with us. Kids learn how to treat others— from us. Who they are- who they become- they learn from us first- this is the greatest and the most terrifying part of being a parent.
I hope to contribute more than I criticize others. I want to think people are doing their best- and working with the tools that they have. My best self- wants to think, know, and act like I believe that- and honestly on days like this – where your emotions are involved- that is truly hard to know for sure.
But– here I go on this path anyway and I’m going to ask you a favor – and that is– if you want your kids to be kind, if you want them to love themselves, and if you want them to be brave- for the love of P Diddy be kind to others- be kind to yourself- be brave with your life- show up as you truly are- not the filtered good angle- the sometimes messy but true honest to goodness version of who are you are- because ANYTHING ELSE any OTHER VERSION is a disservice to who you truly are. So BE KIND– say hello- say your sorry-give them grace, BE YOU– because sister everyone else is literally already taken, be BRAVE- tell them no, say yes, show up for your life- this is the only one you get.
That’s all until next time.