When my daughter and I were in Target carefully picking out her accessories that she would don
on the first of second grade, her face lit up when she saw the One Direction backpack with all of
their adorable faces complete with stars and rainbows coming out of their ears. This was the
one. The clouds parted and the sun shone down on “the chosen one”, and it was then decided.
It was out of her control. She must have it. So I bought it, with my measly 5 percent discount I am so proud of, being a Target Red Card member, and we both walked out with pride knowing that she was now one step closer to becoming the
fashion and music icon she was born to be.
Fast forward five days… my daughter comes home completely disheveled. Of course I interrogate
her like she is the key witness in a murder trial.
“What happened? Who did this to you? Did you
get a look at his face? Do you need me to break some knee caps?”
It was the backpack. One kid in her 200 person school had declared that One Direction was not in fact, cool. The world stopped, and I immediately started thinking of how I could get her something acceptable to accommodate the 2 ounces of schoolwork she carried that would not result in imminent therapy sessions.
Then I stopped. Wait a second, why are we changing our thoughts and actions for one naysayer? And I had a
flashback. I don’t remember what the exact scenario was but I distinctly remember Madonna doing something controversial (surprise surprise) which was completely unacceptable by society’s standards, and even more so I remember her response.
Such a powerful question and at the same time, such a stellar answer. My daughter is getting to the age where she is starting to be very aware of herself, and peer pressure is coming into play. I have dreaded this moment for years. I have always marveled at how she truly marches to the beat of her own drum without as much as a fleeting thought about what anyone might think about her plaid shirt with her leopard print skirt, purple cons and Paul Frank beanie (even when
it’s 90 degrees outside).
But now that moment was upon us, and I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Babe, you tell them two words. So. What?”
The statement transcends all ages and life situations.
Oh, you don’t like me dancing in the cereal aisle in Fry’s with my kids? So what? You don’t think it’s inappropriate for a 38-year-old to be wearing a Wonder Woman tank top? So what?
Mary Lambert’s song “Secrets” echoes my sentiments exactly:
“My ‘stuff’s’ not in order
I’m always late
I’ve got too many things to say
I rock mom jeans, cat earrings
Extrapolate my feelings
I love my butt and won’t shut up
And I never really grew up
“They tell us from the time we’re young
To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long
attempting to be someone else
So what? So what? So-o-o-o what??
What I’m trying to say is no matter what anyone says about your parenting, your lifestyle, your choices in life, or your backpack, you look them straight in the eye and say “So what?”
Own it. Don’t apologize for it. I guarantee you it will leave your critics speechless and make you feel like a rock star for sticking to your convictions. In the world our kids live in now, if we can convince them to do the same, then we just might be getting somewhere.
And if you don’t agree, well then I just gotta say …. SO WHAT??