I remember going through my whole high school life constantly worrying if my shirt was too low, whether my shoes were too obnoxious or if you could see the dark circles under my eyes that formed from staying up and writing a paper until goodness knows when.
I remember constantly coming home after school and looking directly in the mirror thinking "I can't believe I looked liked this all day, how did I let this happen?" I, plus the majority of girls I knew, would spend hundreds of dollars on clothing and shoes in order to conform and feel wanted by a group of teenagers, a group of people who, I now see, honestly couldn't have cared less.
But then there was you. I remember driving you to middle school and realized you would constantly wear cute dresses and skirts so you could "fit in." But as soon as seventh grade hit, everything changed. I would drive you to school and constantly wonder how you wouldn't be bothered by what the kids would say about your dirty shoes or your dark, graphic t-shirt. You would reply with "if I have to be stuck in a 'prison' for six hours, why be uncomfortable? Why do you care so much about what others think of you?"
I didn't understand why you "gave up" on trying, or how on earth you felt good about yourself in "casual" attire while people gave you rude comments.
In return, you usually asked me why I tried so hard to pick out a perfect outfit the night before school. A look for people who didn't give a sh*t about what I looked like or make sure no one would be able to see that pimple that appeared because I ate too much sugar the day before. My basic response would consist of "well, I have to try somewhat, don't I?" or "people would judge me so much if I didn't look half-way decent." You would just shake your head and explain I needed to be comfortable and not chase the desires of what every other girl was wearing.
I knew I couldn't deal with the uncomfortable thoughts that would go through my classmate's heads if they saw me wearing my "I heart New York" sweatshirt I wore to the gym the other day.
I wondered how on earth you could walk around school in sweatpants and pajamas without a care in the world, without having a thought about what others would say about you in the hallways.
It may have looked as though I was judging you, my love, but truth be told I was incredibly jealous of your mindset.
I now see the environment I went into every day forced me into thinking I had to wake up at five in the morning and try, even though I was exhausted. I envy the extra 30 minutes you gained every morning.
Middle school/high school is a war zone filled with judgmental comments as ammunition and your mindset worked as a shield when it came to fighting off those awful whispers. I wish I had half the strength you have to go throughout your day and wear something comfortable without worrying about how the world views you.
The media has put so much pressure on women to look desirable all the time, yet you defy these rules, and I applaud you for this. I wish I could've switched to this mindset when I was thirteen. My bank account would've been pleased, but most of all I would've felt more comfortable with myself and the presentation I gave off.
I encourage everyone to find comfort in their bodies and only allow what you feel comfortable in to be placed on it. Stop letting the world control how others see you.
Thank you for teaching me that your outer appearance shouldn't determine your worth and that the rest of the world shouldn't run your life... or your wardrobe.