To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ve always worn whatever I felt like wearing, and I got bullied a lot for it growing up. I’ve always ignored the trends and just did my own thing. Some people said I dressed weird. They called me quirky, or a free spirit. I never fit in. I never felt accepted. When I was 12 years old, a boy spit in my face because he didn’t like my shirt. In high school, I got sent to detention weekly because they said the way I put myself together was an embarrassment.
Sometimes the words hurt more than other times. I remember how hard people would laugh when I told them I wanted to be a fashion designer. They used to say things like… “who would want you to make clothes for them!? “
As I got older, the words hurt less, and I did become a fashion designer, and my passion is helping people find the courage to be themselves and stand out. I make magical light up dresses to help brides and performance artists turn heads, make a statement, and sparkle like fireworks.
I’m NOT the only one.
According to the National Education Association, PACER Center, and StopBullying.gov, rates of bullying have reached record highs. This is not just an issue in elementary, middle and high schools. Bullying is also taking place in the work place, and in all aspects of our society. It’s even happening on a massive scale, where we should feel safe, in our homes—through cyber bullying!
One out of seven students in grades K – 12 are either a bully or have been a victim of bullying. An estimated 160,000 U.S. children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.
People who dress different, are getting bullied.
57% of boys and 43% of girls reported being bullied because of religious or cultural differences. Statistics also show that “LGBTQ students are two to three times more likely than their peers to be physically assaulted or threatened at school for the clothes that they wear.
A national survey found that 75% of transgender youth feel unsafe at school, Too often, school officials single out these youth by refusing to respect their identity and even punishing them for expressing their identity through the clothes that they wear.
I have heard from parents of transgender children, that regardless of how progressive our society has become, they worry about the struggles their kids might face in regards to bullying and discrimination.
Through interviewing artists through Free Spirit Culture, it is becoming clear that there is a connection between being able to overcome bullying when confidence is boosted, and confidence is often boosted when we pursue our passions and chase our dreams through which we can find meaning and develop skills that make us feel proud.
At the end of the day it sounds like developing pride and strength and confidence to be their true authentic selves… will help people become resilient to the negativity they might encounter.
As a mom, I want to do everything in my power to create a world where all young people can be their true selves and know how to ask for help if they need it, which is what inspired me to write the book: “You Were Born to Stand Out,” a bed time story for all ages. It’s a story to read over and over again to remind you that you are free to decide who you are, and what you want to express.
The book promotes kindness, anti-bullying, freedom of expression and self-love. I wrote this book to empower a generation of people who are more courageous, more authentic, more helpful, and more kind.
The book is a confidence boost, and a reminder that its OK to be you, and there’s not just one right way to dress, and that the world needs people like you to have the courage to be you and go out and dress however you want because by doing that you’re inspiring other people to be themselves and be OK with being different.
The book celebrates adventure, creativity, self-esteem, and authenticity, while promoting kindness, compassion, determination, and acceptance. It empowers people through the examples of unconventional people who have had the courage to go out and be themselves, by following their hearts and being true to their identity and dressing how they want to feel. It’s the book we wish we had when we were children.
Books come with a list of resources that empower and inspire bravery, including resources for body image, mental wellness , LGBTQIA, Crisis Text and Talk Lines and Anti-Bullying Support to help spread the word that these groups are out there and they’re just a text, call, or computer click away.
I am meeting with school counselors, social workers, parents, youth, educators, anti-bullying and equality advocates and support groups, to ensure that this book is as empowering and helpful as possible to youth who might be experiencing bullying or discrimination.
Over the next couple months I will create a website and a podcast to continually support people who stand out through the clothes they wear and create a community of people who have the courage to be themselves despite what anyone else thinks of them.
Please reach out to me and let me know if there’s a person or a story or an artist I should feature in this project.
My goal is to buy a lot of copies of the book, to donate to schools and foundations so that those kids who stand out can see that they are not alone. My dream is to get this book on the night stand of every young person to empower them to have the courage to be themselves and also have the tools to get help if they need it.
According to the National Education Association, bullying has serious, adverse educational effects, and students who are targets often experience extreme stress that can lead to symptoms of physical illness Everyone deserves a confidence boost, and to know that they are free to be themselves and that nothing can stand in their way.
If you want to help me buy copies of the book to donate to youth who might be experiencing bullying and discrimination, here is a link to support my