The Girl Who Wore Shorts: Dear Little Sister on Fire Series
Dear Little Sister on Fire,
Here is a story to which you might relate. It is about a girl who wore shorts.
Now you might not think this is a big deal, but when this 6th grade girl began her first day of middle school-- a Catholic school that required a uniform-- she caused a scandal by showing up in shorts...
“You can’t wear shorts,” one of the senior ranking middle school girls admonished.
“Well, why can’t I? It’s not against the school rules.” Replied the new girl.
“Because that’s just not what we do once we get into middle school” was the snarky response.
Now this new girl loved dolls, spending time with her mama, and had a crush on a new boy each month. But she wanted to wear shorts, because she liked to play sports during recess, even if she was the only girl to still do so… Being told it went against a predetermined list of social rules wasn’t going to stop her.
So the new girl danced to her own beat and wore the shorts on days it suited her. Some girls judged her, but she made a few friends. A lot of them secretly envied the girl for her stubbornness. They wished they had the courage to wear shorts, too. They still wanted to play sports at recess, and not just sit on the grass gossiping. But their regrets remained silent and they enviously watched the girl who wore shorts.
Now, I wish I could tell you that in her high school years this same new girl continued to dance to her own beat. But, as what happens to many girls during this time, she grew more self-conscious and shy. She did not want to sound dumb in front of her peers. She didn’t want to seem out of place. Her self doubt grew and took over her mind like a weed in a beautiful garden. She wished she wasn’t like that, but the temptation to fit in was just too strong. And so, the little girl who wore shorts had to wait quietly until her older self got sick of hiding.
Here’s the good news. One day, after graduation, the girl decided she was tired of being a wallflower. She realized she had things to say...important things to say... even if others didn’t think so. She realized that it didn’t matter how many friends sat at her table at lunch, it was the quality of those friends who gathered around her. She started to care less about what people thought because she realized life was short...too short to be boring and to have someone else dictate what it should look like. She wanted to be the author of her own story because, she realized, she had to live it.
Today, the girl who wore shorts is not as young anymore. She still wears shorts occasionally, maybe not to work, but definitely to go on the many adventures with the boy she ended up marrying. She wishes she could tell you that she lived happily ever after, never worrying about being judged by her peers. But, that would be a lie. There still are some days when she gets caught up in comparing herself to others, or she allows self doubt to creep back in. But she’s reminded about that little girl she once was, the one who bravely wore the shorts, and she remains committed to what that girl started so many years ago.
Little Sisters on Fire, we hope that you wear those shorts, go to that dance practice, try out for that team, join that school club… You have just one life to live! You do not get yesterday back. It’s best you start realizing that. However, please know this, you are always in charge of the actions you take. Start here, in the present. No, it is not easy to ignore the temptation to give in to peer pressure, but we hope you do more times than not. You will be a happier, more fulfilled person if you do. Embrace who you are. Surround yourself with others who know who you are, who Love you for who you are. Being yourself is liberating, and once you get that taste of such beautiful freedom, you won’t want to give it back.
Don’t Let Them Dim Your Light!
“Big” Sisters on Fire, Mrs. Borchard & Mrs. Costello
Go to a quiet place. Maybe your room or the garden outside.
Write down or draw your reflection to the following questions. This is something for your eyes only, so be honest!
-When were some times that I’ve felt pressured to not be myself? How did it make me feel? How did I react?
-Have I ever done this to others? Why was I tempted to do that?
-What are the “shorts” in my life that I can “wear” as my own? In other words, what are some things that make me unique that I should refuse to let others change?
-How can I become stronger in being myself?
-How can I support others to be themselves?
“ I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139: 14-16
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.” Isaiah 41:10