Be the Bearded Lady
Have you seen "The Greatest Showman"? You need to go...right now. It has great music, beautiful costumes and woven subtly amongst the swinging acrobats are several great messages. I've been thinking about it a lot.
Mostly because I want to figure out how to make our kids more resilient.
What in the world does that have to do with the bearded lady?
Again...watch the movie!
In one particular scene, the bearded lady storms into a room that she has been turned away from. She is absolutely glorious in her determination. For a single moment, I wanted to be that bearded lady.
I know that dressing professionally is important in my job. But it has not always been easy. I would rather read an article on mitochondrial diseases than skim through an entire Glamour magazine. I’ve tried. I give myself a pep talk and turn the first page. I do my best to pay attention to the colors, hem lengths, shoe shapes. But within a few pages, my eyes blur over.
Frankly, I don’t get it. We come in different sizes and shapes, different colors of skin and hair. Am I supposed to find the right apparel for me in a magazine? Why in the world would someone wear a long dress in summer in Texas? I thought we were finally showing some sense to get rid of the panty hose.
When I was a senior in cardiology, I worked underneath one of the most feared and respected female cardiologist in the hospital. I was naturally worried about my performance and that of my team. On my first day with her, as my team discussed each patient’s course, one of the students slipped me a note.
This was good, I thought. He’s caught some detail that we need to address. I was proud of the professionalism of my students and interns. Together, we were a tight machine, watching over the children... saving lives. I waited till the attending cardiologist was distracted and unfolded the piece of paper. I was stunned by what it said.
Red is your color.
I read it twice. I’d been working my tail off, losing sleep, frantically making sure that we did the best we could for these fragile kids...but I also had to make sure the students were well-versed in how to present the cases, the interns could discuss the side effects of the cardiac medications and I could defend any decisions I'd made over night.
Red is your color? You want to comment on my outfit? Are you kidding me?
Do you know what you should want from me? You should want me to read those journal articles on infections and diseases and accept that my shoes might have rounded (or pointed) tips that are totally out of fashion. You should want me to sacrifice my sleep, my meals and sometimes my sanity...all for the sake of protecting our children.
We need to look past our clothing, our hair color and see the person underneath. If fashion is your thing...embrace it...but try not to frown at my apparel and I promise not to roll my eyes at your vitamin D level.
We need to be bold at who and what we are.
And we need to teach our children to be the same. I once did an exam on a three year old girl wearing boy's underwear put on backwards. I looked at mom, assuming it was something she was not aware of, but she was quick to explain. Her daughter really liked "Bob the Builder" and the clothing was only made for boys (that's a shame) and... you can't see Bob unless you wear it backward. (true) What a great lesson she taught her daughter by letting her control what she wanted to wear. You go girl!
You need to be your own definition of beauty.
In junior high, my best friend was intelligent, witty...and had six toes on each foot. Unashamed and unembarrassed, she wore open toed sandals every summer. Would you?
Be the bearded lady.
The photograph is a real bearded lady who embraces her facial hair. You can read about her here.
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