Be YOU: "The Nadira Shoe"

I’m eavesdropping on my mother’s conversation: “Can you believe this, Pam?! She can’t participate in the quinceañera because the hair stylist won’t be able to do her hair! Oh, and because she’ll look darker than the other girls in the picture. What am I supposed to say to her, huh?” My mother’s voice is rising as she vents on the phone behind the closed doors of her room.

Suddenly, I feel a ton of emotions. Confused. Angry. Misunderstood. Irritated.

Really? Because I don’t have “good” hair or “fair” skin?  So, let me get this straight: the fact that these are my child hood friends, and that we literally do everything together, doesn’t mean anything?

I walk back to my room and close my door gently. I’m still holding on to the knob; my hands are glued as I try to swallow back tears.

Why did You make me this way? A tear drops on the hardwood floor of my room.

Why can’t I be like them? It’s not fair! A few more tears escape to the ground.

If only I was… Now I’m sobbing quietly.

I hear footsteps outside of my room door. “Bojote?” (That’s my mother’s nick name for me). Ugh, great! She knows I overheard her conversation.

She opens my door (like your typical Dominican mother, without asking to come in) and sternly says, “Stop crying! That’s not helping.” I turn away angrily and respond, “You don’t understand!”

She places both hands on her hips and irritatingly says, “¡Pero ven aca! (Look here). You think you’re the only person who’s been rejected because of her hair and her skin? ¡Por favor! (Please).” I roll my eyes. Here we go again, make me feel worse than I already do.

My mother just stands there…no words for what seems like an eternity. She sighs deeply. “Look, Franchesca, I want you to listen to me closely. I gave birth to three beautiful, amazing girls. You are not like anyone else and you will never be like anyone else. You were designed with a special mold and no one will ever fit that mold. You’re unique! No one will ever do what you are called to do the way you do it. Nor will you ever be able to fit in anyone else’s mold, so don’t try or wish it. The day you start trying to be like everyone else, get ready for a very miserable life.”

At 13 years old my mother drilled one of the most important life lessons into my head: Be YOU!

No matter what anyone – and I mean anyone - says, you are a PHENOMENAL individual! Everything about you screams "WOW!" You're unique, different, and special. It’s amazing to know that you never have to be envious of anyone else because no one else can top who you are designed to be.

Yea, so you’ll have some off days (and maybe that’s today for you) where you don’t feel your best. But that doesn’t change the fact that you are an incredible human being with talent and purpose.

So, I challenge you today to take a moment and think about your BEST self – not someone else. If someone were to describe you at your best, what would that look like? Is it when you make your friends laugh or give a random person a compliment? Is it when you lend a listening ear or when you stand up for others who can’t stand up for themselves? Is it the way you serve others or always seem to know what to stay to lighten the mood?

Whatever your BEST self looks like, chase after it! And don’t you dare stop until you become it – even if it takes a lifetime. 'Cus no one will ever be able to do YOU better than YOU!

Each post is named after a pair of "fictitious" (for now) shoes.For this post, I chose the name "Nadira," which means precious, unique, and rare.