Be Who You Want To Be

        I had yet another of many discussions with my mom about body image. Since my aunt passed in January we’ve been spending a lot of time with my grandma. One thing my grandma wants to do at least once a month is to go to church. My mom freaks out about this because 1. her and I are not church going folk and 2. she’s always worried about how her body will look if she wears a dress. She complains because she doesn’t like the idea of dressing up. I try to tell her that just because she assumes other people may be in “church attire” doesn’t mean she has to do the same. Church shouldn’t be about fashion, but somehow that’s what it’s become. I don’t think God will mind if you show up in jeans and a t-shirt or a nice blouse and some slacks.
        When going shopping with her I feel like a life coach. She’ll pull out a cute dress only to put it back because it’s sleeveless or has spaghetti straps all because she thinks her arms are flabby. “And?” has become my signature response. “If you like it, wear it.” I asked her, “Why do you care so much?” She said “That’s what happens when you get older.” I had to correct her. “That’s backwards. They older you get the less fucks you give. You’re doing life completely wrong.” The same goes for my grandma. My aunt, who passed, was a hair stylist and did my grandmother’s hair regularly. Now that she’s gone she’s had no problem buying wigs. What she does have a problem with is stepping outside of this strict comfort zone she’s set around herself. She won’t try different styles or different colors and then gets frustrated if she doesn’t find anything, even if there’s plenty to choose from. She refuses to at least try wigs on to even attempt to step out of her tiny zone. I do my best to encourage and tell her what would look nice on her if she’s just willing to live a little, but she refuses to hear it.
        I understand and I don’t understand this mentality. At the end of the day if I really love a certain outfit or anything else that is going to be on my person I really don’t care what other people might think. Life is entirely too short to not do the things that make you happy. In my lifetime I’m going to get all the tattoos I want, dye my hair every color of the rainbow, wear mix-matched socks, buy men’s shoes even if people think it makes me looks like a “lesbian”. I’ll wear suspenders, wear skirts so short that you’ll wonder if it’s legal, and wear any shade of lipstick that matches whatever shirt I’m wearing. I don’t want to wake up one day and be 70 thinking to myself “I really wish I had cared less and lived more.” And you know what? At 70 I’m still going to live my life this way. I’m not going to limit myself to those old lady Reeboks, and pants the color of blah. I’m going to be the hippest grandma ever and will be there to take my grandchild to get their first tattoo and hope to get matching ones. I hope I can drill this message into their heads, to live the way you want. That’s the only way to be stress free as possible and to be happy. We spend too much time wondering what people will think when no matter what people are going to talk. Being worried about it sounds like wasted energy to me.

By: Asia Aneka Anderson

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