Tuesday, March 4, 2014

He's Bad News

Growing up I was never really one to step too far outside of my comfort zone. I never got in trouble in class, painted my nails black, or took a Sharpie to anything other than paper. I always took care of my textbooks and made sure they were in the stretchy, spandex book covers my parents bought me. When I got my license I always abided by the curfew on the back, even though no one enforced it but my father. Hell, my first kiss was my first boyfriend, who I ended up moving away to college with for 2 years.

When I'd see kids around me wearing anything outside of the collared shirts and jean skirts everyone in my friend group wore, I just assumed they were bad kids. They were the type of kids I wasn't allowed to hang out with. They were the ones who were either skipping school or, if they were showing up, they were showing up blazed out of their minds from the mass quantities of pot they'd smoke prior to arriving. These were the kids I was taught to stay away from because they were "bad news" and all of that other shit parents tell you to put the fear of god inside of you to keep you on track.

Not to say my parents did a bad job of raising me because that's not the case at all, my parents were great, but I was very much sheltered. I'm not sure if it was strictly the way I was brought up, or perhaps it was a mix of something inside of me I was born with, but I was basically afraid to step outside of the lines in my life for a very long time. Taking chances and being different simply weren't things my life knew anything about. I guess you could say I grew up being extremely closed minded.

I remember on the first day of my sophomore year in high school there was this guy who showed up with blue hair. This was, sort of, the first real instance of someone being blatantly different, and not being afraid to step outside of Abercrombie and Fitch, I had ever noticed before. He seemed nice enough but I knew he wasn't one of the people my parents would ever approve of me hanging out with. "He's bad news", I could just hear my mom saying if I even tried to ask to hang out with this blue haired guy. But he was so, so nice and he always let me borrow a #2 pencil on the days we'd have a test and I only had a mechanical pencil. He was genuine and kind, he never made fun of me or flicked stickers from the back of his planner at me, like the rest of the pubescent deuchebobs did. He was one of the first true guy friends I had ever made in life and I gave zero shits as to what color the hair on his head was.

A few times during that year I tried to hang out with him outside of school, much to my parents disapproval. "Mr. Blue Hair" was up to no good, as far as they were concerned, but I just couldn't help but wonder why they weren't giving him a chance. Why were they so fast to judge, solely based on the color of his hair? I never really got an answer for the questions I continually pondered, but I continued my friendship with him, without the knowledge of my parents, because he never gave me a reason not to. It was, sort of, the first time I had ever stepped out of the box and tried calling my own shots.

It's all kind of ironic to me now, that these were the lessons being instilled into my head growing up, because I think I've, somewhat, become one of those kids my parents never wanted me hanging out with. I love to get a little too drunk with my friends, I have five tattoos and counting, writing on anything and everything with Sharpie puts a huge smile on my face, the word "fuck" is a staple in my vocabulary, just as black nail polish is a staple in my polish collection, a portion of my hair is now bubble gum pink, and I think I would break out in hives if I was forced to wear a collared shirt. I am the kid I was raised to stay away from, but it doesn't mean I'm a bad seed or that I'm going to end up incarcerated, it just means I'm me.

Often I see judgements made towards the way someone dresses, talks, or towards how skinny or fat they are and it doesn't make any sense to me. There are some genuinely shitty people out there on the inside, who do nothing but tear people down and wish the worst for everyone around them, and it doesn't matter what color their hair is, or what style of shirt they're wearing, THEY are the ones I wish I would have been raised to judge and stay away from. They are the true "bad news" of the bunch and it doesn't matter if their hair is purple, blonde, grey, or yellow.

Finding the good in people isn't an exterior thing, not even a little bit. You could be adorned in the most expensive fibers known to man but that does not make you a "good seed", or a good person, it just makes you a person who spent more on your attire than the majority of us can afford. It's about what's on the inside and that stuff you can't pay for. That stuff that drives you to do something nice for a stranger or bring your friend ice cream and their favorite booze when they've had a bad day.

Just because you have everything you need to fit in on the exterior does not make you worthy of any of it if you don't have the credentials on the inside. Just as that blue haired guy turned out to be a great friend, he could have easily been a blue haired guy who was, truly, a bad seed. The color of his hair was never the judge of that and, while I love them and am forever grateful for the lessons my parents did instill inside of me, I'm even more grateful that I managed to learn along the way that a perfect exterior to the eye does not equate to a caring interior, and those who deserve to be judged aren't the ones who choose to express themselves through their wardrobe or their hair color, it's those who lack heart and humanity for those around them.

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63 comments:

  1. Very well said. It's so easy to judge instead of trying to get to know the real person. Some of the nicest looking people I have ever met are the most hateful.

    Pretty is as pretty does, but ugly's to the bone!

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  2. This post really resonates with me. I hate when people judge others merely by appearance. I have also become that kid. I have a tattoo and want more. I've dyed my hair blue. I curse like a sailor. And I also enjoy getting a little too drunk with my friends. But that doesn't make me a bad person. You just can't tell a person's nature merely from the way they look.:)

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  3. My grandma always told my mom she should let me do whatever I wanted with my hair as long as I was getting good grades and being nice. I always thought it was a silly thing for my grandma to say but now I see what she was talking about. I DID do a lot of strange things with my hair (aka bright red with huge blonde streaks in the front...ew) but I was never a bully, or malicious or a bad kid. Now I'm happy to just have boring old blonde hair but I still have the same attitude towards hair and looks in general.

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  4. I was raised the same way and my first real guy friend in HS had tats and gages in his ear and so did my guy friends to follow. My parents hated it but I loved them and, like you, it was the first time I stepped out of what my parents thought and did what I wanted to do. But after much pushing, and my parents realizing they were't going away, they eventually grew to love them but still gave them a hard time about their tats and such. I agree 100% that it doesn't matter about the outside but what's on the inside. I've met a lot of "clean cut" people who I wouldn't want to spend my time with even if you paid me. Great post!

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  5. I think your pink hair rocks, first off. Second, I totally relate to this because I think it's human nature to judge people but I have learned to accept people no matter what. Like, at my work I have this customer of mine that has the biggest earrings, piercings everywhere, tatted up, always wearing black and big clothing but he is the sweetest guy. Don't judge a book by it's cover, good lesson.

    - Marissa @ Awkwardly Marissa

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  6. I think this is a great post and more people need to look beyond the exterior to really see what someone is made up of

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  7. I love this!!! Being that I am about 75% covered in tattoos, I get looks, and stereotyped daily... and it kind of makes me laugh because I am the opposite of the stereotype... I put my seatbelt on to drive up my driveway, I've never been in trouble with the law, I hold the door open for people, etc... I love seeing peoples surprised looks when I am not the person that they assumed I am. =)

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  8. Amen, sista! Great post - I just wish more people realised that it's about what's on the inside; I wish people were nicer and less judgemental towards others xx

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  9. BOOM. This is awesome. Growing up it was the same for me, I was very much afraid to be "bad" and couldn't understand when other people were just a little different. The different ones are my favorite ones though. Unique and not at all bad seeds for the most part. And hell, now I have tattoos and drink too much wine.

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  10. This is an amazing post, I love it! I have quite a few friends who look like they are "bad seeds" but are amazing people! A couple of them are almost completely covered in tattoos, and another one of them likes to color their hair different colors, but they are hilarious, fun, and kind people to be around.

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  11. Great read. I hope I can teach my kids that what matter's is the way they treat you and respect you as a human being...not what color their hair is.

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  12. I was the "good kid" in high school and just a couple months ago I decided to put pink in my hair. It made me feel like I was rebelling against "the man". I felt more adventurous doing that then when I got my tattoo. But it also made me realize to never judge a book by its cover.

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  13. This post just solidified in me even more of what's been aching in my heart for quite a while. So many people are quick to judge without even trying to get to know someone. Despite all our apparent differences, we all have so much in common: a need to be respected, accepted, loved, understood, heard. But when we are so close minded to not even try to give someone a chance to see who they are under their exterior or behind the words they might say, we miss out. I understand our parents wanting to protect us as kids, and I know their views were based on the culture they grew up in...but what I want our daughter to be and what we will try to most instill in her as she gets to that age is to be someone who isn't afraid. Someone who is an influence. Someone who takes chances and truly shows love to her peers. And I want to be a parent who will also influence and love on those she chooses as friends. Really loved this post...and your pink hair! ;)
    Eva Marie Taylor

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  14. Wonderful post! I loved it & totally agree with it! I even tell my stepdaughters that they can be the most beautiful person on the outside but if they don't have the personality to back that up, the looks are no good. Looks don't matter, what matters is who the person is on the inside.

    I totally think that if you're good to me, I'll be good to you & it doesn't matter what you look like. Plain & simple. :)

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  15. I grew up "punk rawk1$!#" but very, very sheltered. My mom and I will never have the close-knit relationship she and my sister have, and it makes me sad. My mom and sister can shop together for hours, they enjoy the same things -- I said growing up I wanted to wear something from Hot Topic and no joke my parents brought me to a therapist after school that day. It was hard and it was frustrating because I was (am) such a goodie-two-shoes but my parents always put so much emphasis on how you look, how you dress, what you listen to. And the idea of "good" was always "what everyone else is doing." It was frustrating, and it still sort of is. My sister pierced her nose and dyed her hair blue because she is The Rebel Child, and while my mom didn't make her remove any of it, she makes comments about how she understands when she isn't invited to parties because "who wants to invite a freak?" "Freak" is my mom's word. And it makes me insane. (Don't even ask how my mom feels about my tattoos. I don't think we've ever spoken the same way since!)

    But as a parent, I know there is a difference between being a good person and looking the same as everyone else. The two aren't related. And I plan on telling my kid that if someone doesn't want to be his friend because of how he looks or his clothes, they aren't someone you want to be friends with. They are the "freak" because who really judges someone by appearance?

    My mom has this "thing" against my friends who have tattoos. They came to Ethan's party and she said "who were the freaks?" and made all sorts of snide comments to act like they aren't suitable parents. And the thing is, those people are some of the best parents I know. It's just so frustrating.

    But I love this post, obvs!

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  16. I love this. Growing up my sisters and I were friends with this kid from our neighborhood who had a foot and a half tall/long mohawk which he changed the color of almost weekly. He was the nicest kid you'd meet. Just goes to show how little the outside actually means to who you are inside.

    Danielle @ Allusional

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  17. Loved this post!! Someone could be the most beautiful person on the outside but the ugliest person on the inside. One time.. someone didn't know even me said I looked like I was on drugs because "I was skinny and had undereye circles." So rude in so many ways.

    In high school, I was the rebel. I would hang out with people that I shouldn't and go out with guys that I shouldn't. I never skipped school though, but I was late for curfew a couple of times.

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  18. I was always the "good kid" too, but I always hung out with the "bad kids". My parents raised me to have good enough judgment to hang out with the people I wanted to surround myself with, but never to surround myself with people who would be detrimental. Basically, I've also become the person that parents don't want their child to grow up to be. But I think my parents have realized that even when I dye my hair and get a new piercing, I'm still a good person.

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  19. So well put! I mean generally I think everyone falls into a gray area in terms of bad/good - it's really very arbitrary. But I try to think of people as "good" until they prove me wrong, although I do fail at this quite often. I was very much like how you were growing up, and it's interesting to me how people are so quick to judge based on appearances - we all teach against it, and yet we all fall victim to doing it ourselves.

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  20. Very well said!! I was brought up in a similar vein and it is true that sometimes the "bad seeds" turn out to be just that, more often than not they are amazing people. I still hang out with some of those "bad seeds" my parents warned me about, but they really never were as bad as my parents believed.

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  21. I think either I wrote this post & didn't realize it, or you & I are the same person. This is my exact story! I love it!

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  22. Very nice! As a former super sheltered child myself, I often find myself making the snap judgements I used to hate hearing. We just need to appreciate everyone for what they can bring to our lives to make them more interesting!

    vanitytalkbeauty.blogspot.com

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  23. I love your hair! I always feel too old to do cool things like that now...
    I was absolutely crazy when I was younger and I can't think of a color that my hair hasn't been.
    However, for the last 8-9 years I have been lame.. thanks for showing us all its ok to spice it up :)

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  24. Love this! My parents weren't overly vocal about my choices of friends, but I definitely stayed away from the kids who could be stereotyped as "bad seeds." I have since wondered how many friendships I may have missed out on in middle/high school due to judgement of appearances!

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  25. This is beautiful. I was pretty sheltered as a kid myself, but it was in college where I met so many amazing people who were so different from me. More people need to remember that the outside is an expression, not the true story.

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  26. One of my best friends in my younger years (we had a sad falling-out) had blue hair. My parents called him Blue Haired Dave. Or Dave with the Blue Hair. (Was he the same person as your friend? Wouldn't that be freaky?) He, again, was the nicest guy. His car was the first I ever tried driving. (I was fourteen at the time, and it was in a parking lot. No biggie.) He was really great. This story reminded me of him. Thanks for that. :) Happy memories only though. Life happens.

    I'm also reminded of the time I dyed my hair hot pink during my emo years in high school - I was away in Boston for the entire summer and called my parents to let them know before they visited so I didn't give them heart attacks. and? They totally embraced it and didn't get mad when it didn't wash out! Damn you, Manic Panic!

    I also totally agree with the larger message here. Thanks so much for this. And I love your hair, too.

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  27. Have you heard this song by Jimmy Buffett? http://youtu.be/4YiW5Z0fr-Q
    You excellently summed ALL the things up!

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  28. This is most definitely one of my favorite posts I have ever read. Some of the worst human beings I have ever met are some of the prettiest on the outside and some of the greatest people are the ones who look "different". I have not and will not ever understand why some people feel the need to judge others and try to tear them down. Everyone should just be kind to each other!

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  29. Great post Whitney. I've finally come to terms with the fact that I don't fit into a label, a group or a type of person. I'm a little bit of everything and I like it!

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  30. I can totally relate to this. It took me a looong time to come out of my shell, and most of the time, I still have fears about what other people are thinking about me. I was raised Mormon so I know all about being told that certain people are bad just because they do something that an ignorant mind is too afraid to understand. And it's not say that every Mormon is that way, but I started to hate the judgment so much I didn't want to go to church anymore. It's a dangerous, toxic thing, and living in fear 24/7 is not living. I'm totally with you on this one. It's taken me almost my whole 30 years to learn some of these things, but it's worth learning. It's always great to meet people like you who don't judge :)

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  31. Amen!

    Also, the pink hair is SUPER hot, gurl.

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  32. I was a good kid (mostly) too, but one of my best friends had dyed her hair bright orange. My mom was terrified she was going to be a bad influence.

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  33. I appreciate this post for many reasons but two in particular. One, I teach high schoolers. Every year, I request to work with the regular-level students, the kids almost no one else wants to teach. They're the kids who often show up high, covered in tattoos, and are only a tiny bit remorseful when the word "shit" escapes their mouth during class. However, it is these teenagers who make the most sense to me; I empathize with their "damn the man" attitude. When I sit down at lunch and talk with the black-haired, pentagram-drawing kid, I realize how brilliant his is in ways few people take the time to notice. I'm glad there are students in those kids' classes who realize the same things about them that you realized about your blue-haired friend. The second reason I appreciate this post is because I was much like you were in high school for the very same reasons--an innate desire to "do good things" and the way I was raised-- oddly enough. Of course, I still follow most of the rules but for different reasons (getting drunk means losing control, something I don't like to lose; I don't like anything enough to have it tattooed permanently on my body; I keep my "colorful" words to a minimum on the blog because everything I do as a teacher is monitored by someone.) However, I took that "not everyone who looks the part is good/bad" mentality and applied it to teaching. Anyway, this comment was a long one just to say that I appreciate this post. I hope all of my students come to this same conclusion. Maybe they will with my help.

    Danielle
    Little Bit of WoWe

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  34. My parents were like yours, only all my cousins were bad-seeds. I was totally that kid who changed their clothes on the way to school, and hid the warning labeled CD's Lane Kim style. I couldn't have said this better!

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  35. I can totally relate to never being in trouble and not stepping out of the box, and then becoming that person my parents wouldn't want me to hang out with! Great post!

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  36. Beautiful post and beautiful pink hair! It is so you! xoxo

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  37. I love this. I have always been drawn to different. I think I've had the "ability" to see what people want me to be and have been fortunate enough to see that it isn't who I want myself to be. So I went my own way and became friends with a significant portion of my high school class, not just one group. And coincidentally my favorite friends were the "punk" kids, kids with multiple piercings or even a tattoo, and the kids who told you how it was instead of sugar coating it. I love this post, great job! I love the pink in your hair. Just curious...do you still know the guy with blue hair? & Is it still blue? :P

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  38. i wish you could post emojis in here. :: insert raise the roof hands:: ::insert clapping hands::

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  39. Amen, sister. Love this post.

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  40. I love this! I felt like I was reading my own life. Some people are so quick and easy to judge others based on exterior qualities that they don't stop and realize that there is more to people than the clothes they wear, the color of their hair, or the number of tattoos they have. I'm also glad that I was able to learn not to judge others as I got older. Great post!

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  41. Well then I doubt we woulda been friends in high school haha I had bright red crayola hair and ditched half the time, but I'm as loyal as they come so maybe you woulda taken a chance on me too ;)

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  42. sometimes i think about how sheltered i grew up in my little eastern kentucky shell. and how much people have made fun of me for my accent or for being a fatty. and i hate it - and hate to think that anyone else would ever feel that way. and i could probably never pull off the pink hair like you, but i love it. and i hope i can always find the good in people.

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  43. First, I'm loving the pink hair!! Second I love this! I almost feel like the world is moving toward being more accepting & what makes someone bad is changing (or that's what I'd like to think). I remember being in high school & middle school & I was exactly how you were, but I feel like now a days people are becoming more accepting of everyone being individuals. Now everyone wants to be different, I shudder at the fact that my friends & I used to all wear the exact same Abercrombie clothes! I love to embrace what's unique & different about all of my friends, & appreciate that that's what makes them who they are. I also feel like since I've gotten into college my parents are more accepting about who I hang out with (not that they really have any say at this point) then they were in high school. I like to think that eventually it all falls into place, & I love that a lot of people (at least that I know) are moving towards judging people for who they are & not how they look.

    Kristin
    Crumbs & Curls

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  44. I love this. To pieces. Just like I love you. Middle school and high school were tough and I don't think it was until college that I finally started saying "I don't give a fuck" and started doing what I wanted and being who I was. So take it or leave it, I like to say :)

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  45. I love this so much! Go you for forging your own path and deciding to love people for what was going on inside instead of what was going on outside! And quite obviously, you have quite a big following because of it! Kudos to you!.

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  46. This post was so refreshing! You go Glenn CoCo! Now please post more pics of you hair. K thanks bye! :-)

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  47. THIS. POST. IS. EVERYTHING. You're amazing, this post is amazing, and your hair is ultra fab! My parents were the exact same way, and while a certain sister of mine may not have been able to learn acceptance on her own, I feel like despite the insane sheltering that was thrust upon me growing up, I've been able to break out of that and love people for PEOPLE and not "who their people are" or what they do on weekends or what movies their parents allow them to watch, and I hope that's what I'll be able to teach my kids. People are too important to judge and brush off like that. Seriously awesome post. You're the best :)

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  48. Very spot on Whit! I really love how well you put this because you are very right. I have never been a judgmental person, especially on how someone looks, I care about how they treat me or are towards me or other people.

    BTW, love the hair!! More pics por favor :)

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  49. I love love this post! Reading things like this about judging people always makes me think of my high school experiences. There were a group of goth kids in my grade, who were very nice, just a little different. There was this boy, we'll call him Dale, he was part of the popular crowd and very clean cut and always made fun of them. He told everyone they were bad kids, because they were goth, that they were evil and he just never left them alone. 7 years later, the goth kids have grown up to lead very successful lives, and have families and Dale is serving life in prison for killing someone.

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  50. Great post! I was one of those "bad kids" on the outside... I had sharpie on my shoes/pants/backpack, lots of black eyeliner and purple hair. My dentist once asked me if I was "like the Columbine kids." What?? It is really important not to judge others, and to treat them with the kindness you expect to receive. It is crazy how quick people judge.

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  51. Just found your blog and super happy I did! just followed =] great writing btw!

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  52. Well said.. I suffered all my life because my exterior wasn't perfect (I was morbidly obese). Those who actually took the time to get to know me, adored me and knew what a great person I was. And those who didn't, not only missed out but because this is a small town, wanted to be my friend when they saw me years later.. 230 plus pounds smaller, etc. I wish people would realize that the exterior isn't everything.

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  53. Wonderful post! I loved it & totally agree with it! I even tell my stepdaughters that they can be the most beautiful person on the outside but if they don't have the personality to back that up, the looks are no good. Looks don't matter, what matters is who the person is on the inside.nice article thanx or share it click here for love couples , partner love stories and matchmaking service for free

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  54. This post really resonates with me too.. I used to dress emo.... I know right? Everyone goes through some stage or another and that was mine.. anyway.. regardless I was an avid church goer and when they saw my new grungy appearance they actually didn't want me to attend church anymore!! I was so hurt.

    This post really struck me on all of my chords... thank you for sharing such strong thoughts and writing. As always - I loved it.

    www.bohemianmuses.blogspot.com

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  55. I just love this. For a minute there I thought you were going to reveal that Bear was the blue haired guy :)

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  56. Great share, as they say can't judge a book by its cover :)

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  57. Were we raised by the same people?! I seriously think you wrote about my parents, my life, and who I am today. As soon as you mentioned blue hair guy, I immediately had flashbacks to middle school - of the kids who were "different" in some way, whether by the clothes they wore or the color of their hair. I remember people judging these kids for those exteriors things. And also remember befriending these people. Being their partner in class when no one else would. Hanging out with a group of girls so vastly "different" from me in terms of clothing and hair color and fitting right in. This is a lesson I try to instill on the cheerleaders that I coach, on the people around me and even on my parents - do not judge the person until you've had a conversation with them. And even then, have another conversation with them. You're right - there is so much more to a person than hair color and clothing. Clothes don't make the man - isn't that something people say. Well it's true. And this is one of my favorite lessons from my grad school program - the judgements you make about someone else says more about you than it does about them. Love love love this post!!!

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