A few weeks ago, when getting ready to have a night on the town, a female friend of mine said, "I'm going to go out in my sweatpants one day."
And what was the instinctual response that catapulted straight into my head?
Seconds after having that thought, a wave of embarrassment flooded my whole being. Was that sexist of me to think? I let my friend know what had internally occurred so we could sort it out together, and she pointed out a very fascinating factoid:
I was dressed and ready to go out…
in my sweatpants…
and I had done it many times before.
I immediately berated myself for that sexist thought, of course. It is silly of me to have different standards for what a woman can wear versus what a man can wear for a fun night out. But my friends stopped me in my tracks, saying that it was fine that I had the thought because I recognized my fault and altered it before it could come out of my mouth.
It is okay to mess up, as long as you work to change in the future. That seems to be the message here—the reality might actually be a little more complicated. In the environment we live in today, one mistake can last a lifetime, and rightfully so.
Kanye West can't run from saying that slavery was a choice.
Governor Ralph Northam won't ever escape those photos from his college yearbook.
Donald Trump will be forever be branded with the slogan "grab 'em by the pussy."
"It is okay to mess up, as long as you work to change in the future" isn't the message here.
When I was younger my mother was a coach for Girls on the Run. I stayed after school with her somedays and sat in on a few lessons. I remember one lesson particularly well. She squeezed some toothpaste onto her fingers.
"You see how easy that was to squeeze out? Now try to put it back into the tube."
You might be able to force some of the toothpaste back in. Apologizing might take some of the heat away. But still, actions have consequences. Words have consequences.
Nobody is perfect. Growth takes time and exposure. You are going to mess up. You are going to become a better version of yourself. Just be careful. Make sure what you are doing and what you are saying is honest. Kind. Helpful. Understanding. Loving.
So the lesson here might be something more along the lines of:
Always think before you speak.
And don't be afraid to go out wearing sweatpants every once in a while.