By Karen Steinhauser
During my elementary school years, my mother learned to sew. She bought lots of different types of fabric and made me quite a few dresses. In fact, all of the clothes she made for me were dresses and all of them were from the same pattern. I was only allowed to wear dresses, and that alone got me made fun of; but my homemade dresses caused the teasing to intensify. In my mind, I thought those kids were jealous because their mother hadn’t made their clothes. I believed they were just upset because their clothes had to come from a store. I walked with my head held high, oblivious and not caring that they were making fun of me. I recognized the value in the time and effort my mother put forth in making my little dresses; cutting and measuring until she thought they were just right. I did not allow the opinions of others to affect my joy or stop me from being proud of the precious gifts from my mother. Later on in life, my mother and I laughed at how naive I was and saw humor in the fact that she was only skilled enough, at that time, to use that one simple pattern. We agreed, in looking back, that just maybe mother had gotten a little “happy” on the sewing machine and went into overkill with my having sooooo many dresses that looked exactly alike.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of trying to fit in and get the approval of other people. I remember when I got married, I spent a great deal of time worrying about what other people would think. Although I cleaned houses before marrying him, I had learned to make things look nice and give the appearance that my children and I were just an average family and not a struggling one, which was our reality. After being wed to someone in a profession where people assume you have lots of money, I worried constantly about what people would think. Our car wasn’t new, and our house was just average. I put myself under a ton of pressure trying to live up to what people might expect of us. Somewhere along the way, thank God, I wised up and decided not to try and keep up; it was just too much pressure for me; and for what?
Years ago, I used to stay up late on the eve of the Derby and watch a big party that had lots of celebrities and the socialites of Lexington. I tried to imagine what it would be like to attend such a party and be among all the popular people. In cleaning various houses around town, I would see invitations lying around to social events that I desperately wanted to be invited to. I assumed I never would be. By the time I was, I had already realized that I only wanted to attend events that I found to be worthwhile. What I mean by worthwhile is events that have a purpose of doing good or making a difference. I also decided that life is too short to spend evenings with people you don’t truly enjoy being around. Eventually you find out that many times the things you thought would make you feel important, just aren’t that big of a deal. As you get older, your priorities change. I now see that I am like Sammy Davis Jr., “I’ve Gotta Be Me”.
If you buy the purse that has the famous initials on it, make sure it’s because you truly like the purse, not because you are trying to impress someone. I learned that the people who are impressed by such things aren’t the ones I choose for my friends. No one wants a homie that’s a phony! Don’t waste your precious time spending it at places you don’t enjoy or with people that you don’t either. Love people because they are people; not because of what they have or who they know. It truly is what’s inside that counts! Be yourself and realize you are very valuable because NO ONE, and I do mean NO ONE, is like you! God made you an original. You are worth knowing and loving, simply because you are you!
I hope that we will meet again next week, as you settle down someplace quiet. Maybe you will sit outside on an old wooden porch swing with some nice vintage pillows as you sip a cup of tea, listening to the chirping of birds that are happy spring has finally arrived, and the weather is acting accordingly. We will talk about what’s on my heart, but most importantly the lesson I have learned from it.
As always, God bless.
Happy Easter, everyone! He got up!
Karen Sparks Steinhauser is an Estill County native that resides in Richmond, Kentucky. She is a Christian Children’s author and speaker. If you wish to contact her or schedule her for an upcoming event you may reach her by email at Karensteinhauser7@gmail.com or 859-893-1758.