I’m Not Stylish… And it’s OK

fashionThis is my 11th year teaching. Each year, I get several hundred anonymous reviews from students: at mid-semester and after the semester ends. There is one that I have a hard time forgetting.

An anonymous person said it would be nice if I had better style. Then they followed it up with: “She does a pretty good job, though.”

Pretty good. Yeah, except for that not-being-stylish thing.

This comment infuriated me. I complained and whined about it to my friends, and my whole victim story was that this was a terrible and sexist person who had no idea how much time I spent creating and delivering the course for them.

Not stylish! Give me a break.

Then I realized that I was the one feeling all the anger. This person out in the ether had written their evaluation on the computer (possibly at midnight after drinking a six pack) and had let it go. I was the one still hurting.

The great thing about criticism is that you can laugh at it. One of my favorite YouTube videos is Sofia Vergara and Jimmy Kimmel reading their mean criticism. People think she looks like a man and he looks like a pig. Then, they laugh and laugh and laugh.

But, if you can’t laugh at it, you can also own it.

And you know what? I’m not stylish.

I go to Banana Republic and buy the outfits the mannequins are wearing. My mother and sister used to have to bribe me with ice cream to make me go to the mall. I am not very interested in clothes. I never remember what people are wearing.

But I remember what people say. I love words. I’m organized. I plan fun classes. I support my students. I’m encouraging. I teach practical skills to help people get jobs. I’ve received comments like these hundreds of times.

I get to believe what is true for me. My opinion of myself is what is most important.

So, I’m not stylish. Who cares? It’s ok.

I’m going to own that one.

Maybe I’ll change and maybe I won’t. If I want to be more stylish, I will. I mean, who owns more tiger shirts than me?  Certainly that is style.

Am I wrrrrrrrong?  Maybe so.  But I do a pretty good job, though   🙂

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