“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.” ― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass
(Image from creationswap.com)
Fifteen years ago, authenticity was something I struggled with. I was not the popular girl, or the cheerleader, I wasn’t the top student, or in any sports. Coming from a family with four older siblings, and being adopted helped create a struggle deep in the depths of my core. I didn’t know who I was. When I looked into the mirror, the young girl I saw looking back at me was not someone I chose to accept. I didn’t like that I was different. That I was goth, but was in love with being what I still to this day consider being a country girl.
Growing up in a upper-middle class community in southeastern Wisconsin, for me, was the worst nightmare anyone could endure. I marched to my own drummer, even then. I changed my hair color to black, wore black clothing, was obsessed with all things “Goth.” Until one day, I met this boy in an automotive repair class. M as I’ll call him, was a like the definition of amazing, in my dark world. He was a country boy to the core of his being. And he brought me more understanding of myself, than I am sure he ever realized so many years ago. He was just back from boot camp, the day he strolled into class, in his cowboy boots, and blue jeans and the crisp white t-shirt he was wearing. He offered to give me a ride home a few days later, and that began the insane spiral of transition from the depressed goth chick into a down-home country lyric singing teenage girl in love. I changed everything I knew just to fit in with his friends. My parents bought new clothes, cowgirl boots, and I dropped a cool hundred on a stetson cowboy hat. A year and a half later, our love fizzled. Away went the country girl clothes, and out came the goth clothing, but this time there was hipster punk inflections seen in my style.
I was the embodiment of a teenage girl looking to fit in and be accepted wherever and by whomever would accept my wild style and outrageous actions. In my small close knit group I was the rebel, the defender, the fighter. My personality never changed, but the outward appearance was in constant battle with what was instyle in the popular crowd.
Until one day…
When I moved out of that small opinionated town, how I saw myself changed. I was unique, I was awesome, and everything I was should be accepted by everyone I wanted as my friend, or they could…kick rocks. I made new friends with ease. I had my own style and it changed with what my mood was at any given moment. But I had a core style. I was a hipster. I had a devil-may-care attitude. And that attitude taught me not to conform.
To this day, that young girl – unwilling to conform, striving for independence, and beating to her own drummer still exists. Even though I am now a parent of three amazing children, and I am getting back out into the world, going to school and revamping my life, I will not conform. That is why I am going to school for eMarketing, for social media. I want to be out there, be myself, make a difference. Only this time? That young vibrant girl now has a forum, and her voice will be heard.
This hipster is devoted to be authentic. And I will raise my children to strive to be authentic. This is the opportunity for me to fight for the goths, the scene kids, the Juggalos, the emo kids. Not because I agree with everything each of them stand for, but because it is their right, to – BE AUTHENTIC.
Follow @ #AuthenticityRocks #BeAuthentic