Thursday, December 18, 2014

Shame is Overrated

I will be the first person to admit that I don't like selfies. I'm not talking about selfies you take with other people, I'm talking about individual selfies. There is something that seems so narcissistic to me in photographing yourself all the time and posting those photos online.
That being said, I realize that the following picture is, in fact, a selfie. I apologize in advance.

I took this so I could send it to my family and a few friends to show them how excited I was to wear my awesome Christmas sweater to school today. If you can't tell...the sweater says "Merry Chris-Moose," and the moose has bells in his antlers that tinkle when I move. (And for those of you with minds like my 12 year old sister, I mean tinkle the sound, not tinkle the action). It's adorable.

I teach 10th graders, and 15 year old kids are pretty brutal. You have to have thick skin with a job like mine. They will find anything wrong with you and they will run with it. If I cared what they thought there would be some days I would come home miserable and hating myself (not to say that still doesn't happen, it's just usually for other reasons). However, I happen to be one of those lucky individuals who have enough self confidence that the opinion of 15 year olds doesn't affect me. 
It's almost Christmas break, my students are on the tail end of their finals, and I thought they could use a little pick me up.  Today wasn't the only day I've dressed in some ridiculous outfit. If only I still had my pictures from Spirit Week....oh wait, here's one. 

It was Superhero Wednesday and I chose to be a Book Fairy (because you can't have a more perfect costume as an English teacher). It was also picture day. So I will be forever frozen in my Book Fairy costume in the 2014/2015 HBHS yearbook. I love it, and I wasn't the only one who decided to immortalize my superhero outfit that year. Most of the people in my department did. 
I dress silly a lot; and, I act silly a lot. I know that sometimes people may roll their eyes at my ridiculousness. I'm ok with that. I have no shame. I don't care if my students think my sweater looks stupid or if the cashier at Walmart thinks my 80's hair and pink neon tights are way overboard. Life is so much more fun that way. The key to maturity is knowing when it's appropriate to be a little immature. It amazes me when my students don't take advantage of opportunities like Tacky Tourist Tuesday to dress up and have fun. So many of them think they're "too cool." I wonder sometimes how many people miss out on some of the most fun aspects of life because they are "too cool." How many of my kids automatically think Homecoming is lame, even though they've never gone? They miss out on a huge part of the high school experience because they are so afraid of looking ridiculous. Who cares if you don't have a date? Or if your dress came from the $20 bargain rack at Forever 21? In my experience, people don't usually regret experiences they've had. Typically, they regret experiences that they chose to pass up. Taylor Swift tweeted once about people who are too cool for things, and I think she got it spot on when she said, "because being cool usually means being bored by everything. And I'm not bored by any of this."
So much of what we consider "cool" is exactly what she said, boredom. It's not cool to get excited about things. It's not cool to get into things. Why? Why can't my students just go to homecoming without complaining about it and agree to have fun? Or dress up for Spirit Week even if they think no one else will? In everything you do, if you go into it with a good attitude, ready to enjoy it, then it is much more likely that you will actually have fun. 

I don't think I've always been this willing to be goofy for no reason. Teaching has brought a lot of that out of me. But then again, in high school I was just as willing to look ridiculous for fun. 
(Notice all the "cool kids" in the background not dressed up for tacky day). 

I'm not saying you can't have days where you just don't feel like getting in touch with your goofy side, but like all things there has to be balance. Not many people know how goofy and completely ridiculous my husband can be. He hides that side of himself fairly well, but it's one of my favorite things about him. It's part of what made me fall in love with him. He might laugh at my ugly Christmas sweater, but he'll never tell me not to wear it. 

Part of what I love so much about my family and my friends is that we don't typically care about looking ridiculous. We will go out to dinner on Halloween dressed as Flo from Progressive and a Starbucks Frapuccino, even though almost no one else in the restaurant is dressed up. We play "Just Dance" on the Kinect and laugh at each other's dance moves. We are comfortable enough with ourselves and with each other to lose a little inhibition. 

So much of life is fun! How much of it do we miss out on because we are ashamed and afraid of looking uncool? Shame is overrated. Fun is cool. As long as you think life is fun, who cares if someone who thinks life is boring sniggers at your outfit?

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