When we are young, we really do not care or even think about what others might think about us. We just want to be happy, and for me, that meant wearing whatever I wanted to wear. So, when free dress days rolled around, that often meant wearing two different shoes, bright colored shirts, or whatever made me smile with delight, but to others this may have seemed at times a bit crazy or somewhat of an outlandish style. I will be honest, I really do not remember my parents or other adults around me ever telling me not to wear this or that or telling me that I looked silly, but of course when you are young, a lot of times people do not say anything, and other kids do not even notice. That was until I was in the seventh grade when it seemed like things really changed.
I will never forget that one “free dress day” in the seventh grade that was a pivotal moment in my life that changed me emotionally & rocked my self-esteem. I was so excited to show up in my very sophisticated two-piece pant suit that was gray and hot pink plaid and very trendy & 80’s (totally my thing). To make it even more cool, I decided to wear a hot pink shirt with it, some black suspenders backwards, and a big black rim hat. I thought I looked way cool; the total best 80’s look I had pulled off by far. I was sophisticated but so freakin’ grown and hot plus trendy, but that’s me of course. I was so confident in what I had orchestrated, so I thought it was a masterpiece & I was a genius for putting it all together. Once I stepped into the school hallway, there was somebody who noticed that I did not look the same as everybody else. It was the first time that anybody had ever said anything different, and I will never forget it. He walked right up to me and looked me straight in the face and said, "Why are your suspenders backwards? That looks weird and stupid. You look weird and stupid." I was horrified, and I was embarrassed; it was the first time that anybody had called me out on the way I looked and told me that I had looked different along with looking weird & stupid. At that moment in time, I realized I did look different. I did not look like everybody else & my style was different…I was different.
That individual that called me out in front of everyone in school made me feel different; he made me feel bad for the way that I looked, and he made me feel embarrassed and ashamed for wanting to look the way I did, whether he meant to or not. I have held those feelings and that memory with me until this day. He made me second-guess the way that I looked; he made me second-guess the way that I wanted to express myself, and that is not right. It was at that point for the first time that I felt doubt in myself. I felt insecure. I felt like I could not be myself any more in public, or I needed to be mindful of when, how much, and around who. My self-esteem was crushed that day because of a few choice words from a seventh-grade boy. What is worse is that I allowed his words to crush me. Sadly, I am not alone because I have heard stories like mine from others.
I feel that it is extremely important that we teach our children to encourage each other to express themselves, to be different ,and to just be themselves. We want our children to understand that it is OK to be different and that it is OK for them to express themselves however they need to, whether it is through their words, through art, through music, or through their fashion. My personal experience is one of the reasons why I felt that it was extremely important to show my children that they can be whomever they want to be, and they can look however they want to look. This is one of the motivations behind the birth and the forthcoming of the Adeline Francine Boutique.
C.S. Lewis said, "You can't go back & change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." Our soul mission is to help, teach & inspire others to believe in themselves, God, while being positive, letting their natural beauty & light shine through by just "doing you". The inspiration behind Adeline Francine is meant to help show that you can shine and be yourself in any style you like because beauty is from within, & God loves all his children, so just "do you!"
May the peace of the Lord be with you!
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
~ Mother Teresa