At the beginning of 2002, I headed to a business college to get a Diploma in Business Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations. I didn’t know anyone at the college, but I was eager to learn and get a job so I could earn some money to save for a house.
I remember the first day, there were a group of girls similar in age to myself, waiting to enter the first classroom.
No one made eye contact, and I couldn’t stand not knowing who I’d be in class with, so I broke the ice and said hi. I told them my name and asked everyone to introduce themselves. There were 4 girls who were like me and had recently graduated from school the year before. We found out we were studying the same Diploma and we became instant friends.
I hung out with these girls after our first day by heading to a café. From there, we hung out at college throughout the year. When our classes were together, I would sit with them in class and we would always do group assignments together. Sometimes I’d join them for lunch, but most times I’d race to Post Office Square to meet Jacob for lunch. Those were the days of our young love.
I got to know the girls well enough, but not enough to be best friends. They knew how Jacob and I got together, how we went to church on Sundays and they were generally nice to my face.
But apparently, unbeknownst to me, they talked about me behind my back. I had no clue because I was in love with Jacob and focused on my studies.
The girls talked about how I met Jacob at a cult and various other weird stuff that they assumed which was incorrect.
How did I find out about this gossip?
At the end of the year, one of the girls in the group (let’s call her Mandy) told me about it. She apologized, because she herself was a Christian and knew what church I went to, but couldn’t help but join in on the fun of gossiping about me. She never told these girls that she went to church herself in case she got mocked.
I didn’t get upset by the revelation. Instead I thanked her for telling me and I understood why she did what she did. I felt compassion for her and was encouraged when she told me she was inspired by the way I lived my faith publicly and how I never cared what people thought of me.
To be honest, I did care what people thought of me, but I had assumed these girls had just accepted me.
I was wrong.
Despite the mud thrown my way, behind my back, I was oblivious to it. And it didn’t stick because Mandy knew the mud wasn’t true and the true mud wearers were the friends she hung out with who flung untruths my way.
While I’m by no means perfect, living true to my beliefs and values is important to me. And sometimes that can rub people the wrong way.
That experience all those years ago, always serves as a reminder to me that it’s easy to throw mud at others.
How many discussions can you reflect on that have happened in private where there’s outrage of someone else’s behavior?
‘I can’t believe she does that/did that/ she said what?!’
And often what is said about another person is only one side of a story. It’s one person’s truth.
But the sad reality is, if you throw mud at others, you yourself get muddy first.
We Weren’t Created to Wear Mud
None of us were designed to wear mud. We were never made to throw it and we were never made to wear it.
But women are notorious for getting muddy. I’ve had a few mud fights myself. I didn’t come out pretty and I felt bit dirty afterwards. (pardon the pun!)
On reflection, my view of those girls dimmed because of what I learned. It made them less appealing to hang out with.
I haven’t seen them since.
But sometimes when I know my life is being judged by others – whether fairly or unfairly, I know that people watch for a response and the best response is to keep living to my values and not give in to what is being said behind closed doors. Silence is sometimes the best response to these situations.
So while I write this blog to inspire you with fashion advice and tips, I think it’s important to deal with the matters of the heart and soul. Because no outfit can hide a wounded spirit and style can’t camouflage a hidden agenda that pulls others down.
I don’t want to wear mud and I don’t want to be the one throwing it. Brown is honestly a difficult colour to wear. It doesn’t suit me and I don’t think it would suit you either.
Let’s leave the mud where it belongs and always believe the best in others even if they are a little different.