When I was in high school, I let go of my morals (kind of not totally) and I decided to follow the pack when it came to my thoughts on dressing, behaving and acting like a young woman. I did the same thing as most everybody has done at some point in high school; drinking, partying, and dressing slutty. Going into my college career, I picked up swearing, getting a tattoo and piercing all sorts of metal into my body (at last count I had between 13-14 piercings between my ears and bellybutton).
I was cool, I did all the cool things, went to all the cool parties, and believed that I had everybody wrapped around my finger. As long as I showed up to what I had to (classes, family events, dinners, etc.) and made it seem like I was a “good kid” not even my parents questioned my choices (although they weren’t crazy about them). Mid-college while working at a restaurant, I compared myself to the people around me. I didn’t participate in things like drugs of any sort and I wasn’t as “tatted” as the rest of my co-workers so it seemed as though I was the “goodie two shoes” of the bunch. Looking back, I probably had a bit of an ego because of that. Everybody around me had a good reason why they swore, partied like crazy, got all tatted and pierced and I had my “good” reasons too (my tattoo is “symbolic”, its a means of “self expression”, “its a remembrance of X, Y, Z.”) In reality, I believed those things made me a “badass” and more importantly, they helped me fit in.
It wasn’t until I started my own business that I decided to change my ways. For those of you reading this, I’m not going to say your tattoos and piercings are immoral or wrong (even though I personally believe that now) and I’m not going to say that about swearing or dressing slutty. I did all of that at a point and time myself. What I am going to say, however, is that those choices were all . . . unintelligent at best.
“I believe that how you dress and how you act reflects who you are and what you believe about yourself.”
The more I wanted and had the desire to be taken seriously by business people and the more I desired my business to be taken seriously, the less and less I cared about things like what I mentioned above. I wanted respect, I wanted people to perceive me as intelligent, and I wanted to be successful. I understand that we live in a society where everything and anything goes, but deep down, choosing to get tatted, pierced, and dressing slutty causes people to lose respect for you.
“But its my body! Its my choice! I have the right to whatever I want!” – Of course you do. Should you? No. Will people judge you? Yes. They won’t tell you to your face, but in their hearts and behind your back they will. Maybe not the friends of yours doing the same thing – they’ll be the first ones to applaud you for making less than smart choices, especially if it makes them feel better about themselves – but the people that you want to take you seriously? They won’t be so eager to cheer you on.
At age 22, most of the people I know my age have tattoos, piercings, dress slutty, and most importantly – they are all miserable when it comes to things like careers, relationships, and respect. I believe that how you dress and how you act reflects who you are and what you believe about yourself. What you believe about yourself draws people and opportunities into your life that are similar. One of the very first things that my boyfriend noticed about me wasn’t that I was “hot” or that I had my belly button pierced or that I could drink anybody under the table (totally kidding on that by the way I am and have always been a lightweight thankfully!) – no, he was most turned on by the fact that I had a business and my real estate license at age 20 and that I could hold my own in a conversation.
“I make a point of being a classy lady and the world responds.”
I still have all of my piercings, but I choose to only wear my first earring holes now. I still have my tattoo (mostly because I’ve heard its actually unhealthy to remove it – the particles blasted out of the tattoo stay in your body forever… yikes) and I’ve chosen to stop swearing altogether. I’ve started dressing classy and more feminine and because the rest of the world around me chooses to dress edgy-er and sluttier, I’m the one that stands out. Most importantly, I have people’s respect. I’m treated differently and I’m treated better and it has nothing to do with equality or women’s rights. When I go out, I make a point of being a classy lady and the world responds. Its simple to do, and you can do it too.
It might be hard to start dropping bad habits and picking up classier ones, but the rewards are endless and you will be very glad that you did. When you start making business deals or landing a high-end job, start dating an amazing guy who treats you with respect, and start feeling comfortable standing out in a crowd – you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
If your friends put you down and criticize you for being a class act, even better. It shows you that they are afraid to let go of bad habits and you might want to start moving up in the friends department. It will be hard to do, but worth it. One true friend is worth more than a thousand fake ones.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below! =) Xo, Rachel
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