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Don’t take off your jacket.

As a kid, I loved Easter because it meant one thing:

Shopping!

(Also Cadbury Creme Eggs. Also Jesus. But mostly shopping.)

A few weeks before Easter Sunday, my mom would take me to the local mall to pick out a new Easter dress. This was the highlight of my year. I still remember what it felt like to wander through the racks of clothes at JC Penney. I’d tear down the aisles, touching all the fabric, examining every single dress, pulling things out to try on. It all felt so exciting and glamorous. (In my kid-brain, JC Penney was basically… Prada.)

One year, when I was in the 6th grade, I spotted a motorcycle jacket in exactly my size. It was light blue with satin trim. Very sassy. Michael Jackson was at the height of his career, and this was basically a knock-off version of his shiny jacket from the “Thriller” music video. Once my eyes locked onto that jacket, I knew I had to have it. New Easter dress? Forget about it. I needed that jacket and ONLY that jacket. Or I would surely perish.

“Pleeeeeeease mom!!!” I begged and pleaded until eventually she caved. I wore my jacket home from the store and vowed, “I will wear this every day forever and ever.”

I loved it so much.”

The next day, I wore my new jacket to school. During class, I was chatting excitedly with a friend and I got scolded by the teacher for talking too much.

“Hey, little Miss Blue Satin Jacket! Zip it.” 

I blushed beet red. The entire class started tittering. A few of the “cool girls” eyed my jacket and snickered. For the rest of the day, those girls teased me mercilessly, calling my jacket “cheap,” “imitation,” and “so ugly.”

After school, I went home and I was so upset. I told my mom what had happened. I told her I never wanted to wear my stupid jacket again. My mom gave me a hug and said, “Don’t let those little twits get you down. You love that jacket, don’t you? So wear it and enjoy it.”

I’ve never forgotten what she said.

Unfortunately, some schoolyard bullies turn into grown-up bullies. They hang out online and post vicious, snarky things about other people’s bodies, clothes, careers, personal choices, and creative work. They try to make themselves feel stronger by making other women feel weaker.

When the bullies come after you—when it feels like everyone is snickering, pointing, and calling you names—you’ll probably feel upset. You’ll probably want to take off your jacket. But don’t let them win. Don’t take off your jacket.

Like my mama says, “If you love it, then wear it and enjoy it.”

Don’t change your clothes. Don’t dim your shine. Don’t make yourself “quieter” and “smaller” and “less noticeable” just to appease your neighbors, the ladies from church, or all of those snarky, judgmental Internet goblins.

This is your life, nobody else’s. You get to decorate yourself—and design your world—however you damn well please. Not everybody will approve of your choices. But that’s why Michael Jackson invented the Moonwalk—so you can just gliiiiiiide right past those disapproving glares like it ain’t no thing.

Get on with yo’ bad self.

Don’t let the twits get you down.

{My wise Southern mama approves this message}

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Last month my friend, Laura Wagner, and opened the doors to Boss University, our very own coach training school. We’ve still got a few spots left in the undergrad class for May. You can check it out right here.

xoxo, Susan

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