When it comes to fashion, I’ve always been a late bloomer.
At age 15 and starting high school, online shopping wasn’t really a thing yet. If I wanted some new clothes, I had to convince my mom to drive me to the Lima Mall (this was the Mecca of shopping and fashion in west central Ohio).Everyone shopped at the Lima Mall. And they shopped at American Eagle, Aeropostale, and Hollister.
I missed the memo in middle school, but I distinctly remember one Saturday of my freshman year going with my mom to the mall. I was going to finally get some Aeropostale and American Eagle clothes…my high school ‘uniform.’ I was going to fit in!
You know the ‘cool’ group of kids in high school? That wasn’t my group. We weren’t the untouchables, but we weren’t always invited to the parties. We weren’t the lockers all the girls stopped by in the morning before class.
But this shopping trip offered a chance to change that. The clothes make the man, right?
After a brief peruse of the selection, I settled on some novelty t-shirts (because I was hilarious and expressive) and a hoodie from American Eagle. It was a highly-branded, blue hoodie with an obnoxious embroidered eagle across the front and, of course, the date American Eagle was founded. (Here’s a photo).
I was stoked to wear this on Monday. Surely, this would impress the girl I was crushing on at the time.
On Monday as I was grabbing my books and getting ready to head to class, she paused as she passed by my locker going towards her own class.
“Your hoodie is zipped up too high,” she said flatly, pulling the zipper down even with the top of the pockets before walking away.
I’m not kidding, I didn’t zip a hoodie above the pockets again until midway through college.
Words are powerful. I would bet she never thought about that moment again after it had passed. I altered my hoodie zipping behavior for nearly 6 years. And that doesn’t even dive into the effects on my self-esteem, confidence, or emotional availability with women.
There’s not a lot of room in this world for negativity. Negative comments carry weight. They create a physiological response, a neural connection in our brain, that can live on and shape our experiences, potentially into perpetuity.
The golden rule and the saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” have persisted for a reason! Sometimes “just kidding” doesn’t hold water.
Is that negative thought worth sharing?