saffi and tree
Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
— unknown

'She looks Amish...he dresses like he's from the 70s' came the unkind comments. One might think these were words spoken by a stranger or someone who dislikes my children. No, these words were spoken by my children's father today.

The children had running club at the park across from school. I waited until they ran their laps but had the misfortune of getting into another pointless conversation with their father who simply felt the need to act as his father did to him. Mean, cruel, thoughtless, unkind. It was no different when we were married though now I no longer had to put up with it on a daily basis.

He looked over to Cinnamon who was wearing a pink and lilac flower dress, one she chose at The Gap when school started this past year. 'She looks Amish' came the mean words. 'No she does not' I came to her defense which then escalated into more words exchanged about the way my children dress and how I should 'look at how other children are dressing' and follow suit. I disagree.

My ex-husband dislikes corduroy pants. Sage, his son, likes them along with button down shirts. His father claims Sage looks like he is from the 70s and this is a main reason he is unable to get friends. For some reason he seems to believe if only my son would dress like everyone else, then he would have more friends.

Such small-mindness is not what I would expect from a parent. And certainly I would not think that his new wife, the stepmother, would tell my son 'take off your old man sweater' last week nor would she tell my children that my choice of clothing for them is both 'boring' and 'ugly'. Why would you say these things to children?!

'Saffi's stupid bow' he started to say a short while later as he located his wife at the playground. My daughter was standing right there with us three adults whilst her father mentioned the hair bows his daughter started wearing which got her friends. A group of girls who all wear bows.

'You said stupid and Saffi is standing right here' I said. But he did not care. His point was that because she conformed to the dress standards of a certain group of girls in her class, she now was fortunate enough to have friends. How sad, I thought, that he thinks this way. How glad, I thought, that I am no longer married to him.

As they were leaving, I looked at his wife who was wearing tight spandex running pants and told him he would never had wanted me to dress this way. 'It's cute' he said. As a German, his firm belief had always been that workout clothing should not be worn outside the gym. That is something I strongly believe in but something he now thinks otherwise. He also claims that since Germans are now wearing workout clothes in the streets it is acceptable to follow suit.

I am sure the other parents heard our heated conversation but I did not care. I am the first to believe that you should be true to yourself and not feel the need to conform. If you feel that you need to dress a certain way in order to get people to like you then you have far greater issues to deal with in life. Being you is all you need. You will find the right people in time. People should value you for you as there is only one you. There should be no need to conform and be like everyone else.