"What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?"
Teen Years/High School: I would've been less of a follower and more of a leader. I would've put my safety above fun. And the advice I gave my little sister when she started high school, be nice to everyone, treat everyone well, despite the "cliques" because in 10 years it won't matter one bit and you'll have a lot of good friends and will feel good about yourself knowing you were kind. And sometimes, most times, in high school, kindness is an urban myth, but can mean the world to someone. I will confess, I was a mean girl in high school; one of my biggest regrets. That's all I can say to that, I've done a lot of apologizing to people since high school, some have opened their heart again to me, and some, never will; that is my loss. Glad to say I'm not a mean girl anymore. I'm a big believer in Karma, had my share.
My twenties: Lord. Whew, glad those are over! I would've slowed down and put the priorities in front of the fun. 'Nuf said there, still too fresh, having flashbacks....
Now, in my thirties: I think for the most part I live a good life, I'm honest, I try, and I don't care much about what people say. That being said, I still cover my tattoo, I still put on makeup everyday (yup, really I wear makeup everyday, I know you're all in disbelief, I probably need a few lessons), I put the "What? Is my Autism Showing?" shirt on my son when we have to do some things in public that I know are bound to evoke some behavioral eyebrow raising from other "mommies", i.e. going to the gigantic indoor play park, or wearing the connector in public, or even going to the grocery store, I make excuses about not going out with friends because some days I'm just barely holding it together. And here's the biggie, I lie, and say, "Oh that's okay" when it's not. We all do that whether it is just to get past whatever it was, or not to be judged about being hurt, or let down, or whatever it may have been. I know you've done it, don't hate!
I think society has put too much pressure on what "normal" is that being unique either makes you a star or a loser, per se. Couldn't we all be judged by the kindness we show others rather than by the car we drive or house we live in or clothes we wear? I hate, hate, and hate labels. Being a mom of a child with an "autism label" leads people to judge us before they've even met us. I don't know how many times I've heard, "Wow, Gabe has Autism, he seems so normal." Yeah. Don't even get me started on that one. I just quickly excuse myself from conversation or tend to my abnormal son. Why can't kids just be kids, teens just be teens, and adults just be adults? I suppose it's really hard for people to feel comfortable in their own skin, I admit, I waiver. Our life is just full of teaching moments, and if we never judged or felt judgment I suppose we'd never know how it makes us feel inside and why we shouldn't do it. Sometimes we have to lose everything in our lives to really know what's important, how strong we are, and how much God will take care of us if we only let him.