Last year, I began to bring my lunch to work because of my dietary needs and to keep my food from spoiling. So, my wonderful wife said she would order me a lunchbox and asked which design I wanted. I excitedly said, "surprise me!”
Little did I know that she would have the guts to order me a batman lunchbox. An amazing looking thing, it even had a cape! For the inner kid in me, I was excited, ecstatic and super happy about it, but I was working in a hospital and I wanted to look professional.
I went through this dilemma for a while. The little gremlin monsters in the back of my head said, “Eli, don't be silly, you’re an adult now and everyone is going to stare and judge you”. But a part of me, the part that has worked hard on its self confidence and being strong with who I am said: “Eli, you got this, and, as Nike always says Just Do It”. But, seriously, what's the worst that was going to happen, people were going to look at me? Worse things have happened in my life. So I pushed passed the nerves and gremlins feeding my fears.
I used the lunchbox! And I used it proudly! But how did I overcome my fear of looking childish or immature?
The first day I used the lunchbox, I got some weird looks from adults. But, all the kids I passed were happy, laughing and pointing at me in excitement. They would pull on their parents’ clothes and ask for a lunchbox just like mine! I would get the “look up and down thing” that happens when people judge one another. We've all seen that, and have probably done it ourselves.
I felt a little ashamed, judged and worried that people wouldn't take me seriously. That this little lunchbox would define me and say something about who I am and how I act.
I learned a great lesson. Little by little, I started to get comments from adults saying how cute the lunchbox was and how funny it was to see an adult be a little childish. They would say: “ I wish I had the guts to pull off something like that!” I realized that I was showing adults that it’s ok to be silly and even childish sometimes. It’s ok to brighten your mood with cute and little things. This was my way of keeping my innocence a little. What my wife didn’t realize when buying the lunchbox for me was that she was giving me the strength to be proud of who I am, and comfortable with what I wear and use in my daily life.
Just a small little lunchbox to teach me, and others, a wonderful lesson. No matter what age, gender, race or ethnicity, it's ok to show your true colors and have a little fun in life. Whether it's a funky pair of shoes, a different hair color, interesting earrings, or jewelry.
Its you. You’re allowed to be proud of that! Don’t ever be ashamed or feel you need to apologize for being you!
For all of you out there reading this, be confident in what you put out into the world. I learned that lesson from a Batman lunchbox with a cape attached to it. In our lives, we are always showing people what we stand for based on our looks, the way we dress ourselves and act. Make sure that what we are putting out into the world is good, happy and filled with you! And don't feel embarrassed, feel empowered! Be proud of yourself and all the glory that comes with it!
I take that lunchbox to work with me every day and I am proud of what it stands for. I don't get looks from only kids anymore, but adults wishing they had the guts to pull off something silly like it. I have adults looking at me funny. And you know what? They are just upset because they don't have the confidence in themselves.
Start today! Do something for you and be proud of it! Don’t be worried about others and what they think, worry about yourself and how you feel!