It may sound kind of silly, but I had visions of myself as I was when I was 15. I was the first kid in my high school (maybe in the whole state of NJ!) to wear Birkenstock.
This was a TOTAL, ABRUPT break from the fashion of the day, and I remember walking down the hallway going to Advanced Biology class and random kids heckling me, calling me Girl Jesus (cause apparently he wore sandals too), and telling me to go back to the 60s (it was 1991).
It was almost as if my breaking pattern from the normal clothing felt threatening to these teenage kids. It put their identities at stake.
It took a lot of courage to put those Birkenstock on that morning…and a part of me didn’t want to wear them ever again after that first day. I cared too much about what people (strangers!) thought of me. I cared too much about being accepted. I cared too much about being perceived as “cool”. I didn’t want to be made fun of. I didn’t want to be hated.
But…I LOVED those sandals. I mean, I really, really loved those sandals. It may sound strange, but those sandals were more than just a pair of sandals. Those sandals were – finally – an article of clothing that fully expressed ME, that represented who I was, that I felt were made for my personality, my style, my energy.
And so I wore them again the next day.
It was not such a triumphant day, though. I got made fun of even more than the day before.
And I wore them again. And again. And again.
And you know what happened? I got more comfortable with being made fun of.
I saw that my friends, the people that loved me, still loved me. I got better and better at standing tall. And…well, wouldn’t you know it? Birkenstock eventually swept the nation and became cool!
So, my Birkenstocks were on my mind as I was shifting my messaging, gearing up to speak even more of my truth, to educate the industry in ways they hadn’t been educated before, to raise the question of getting better educated as a practitioner, and to speak out against some of the ways I felt the industry was not so in integrity.
But, just like I put on those sandals despite the fear, I shifted my programming and messaging despite the fear.
And, how did that go for me?
You’ll find out in Part 4 of my 5-Part story. (hint: things got ugly).