When I say “My Mom Wouldn’t Let me be ‘Husky’”, that doesn’t mean she didn’t feed me. Nona Lee is awesome, as evidenced by her 22-year maternity leave when my sister came along – dedicating herself full-time to raising us. If you’re wondering, yes, I’ve called her by her first name since I was 4. I got lost in Wal Mart and was running around yelling “Momma!”. When I found her, she said “do you know how many mommas there are in here?”, so ever since I’ve called her by her first name.
So, how did she keep me from being husky?
Our family as a whole has a slow metabolism, so she’s always made us eat right and take care of ourselves. That is for health reasons, but also because she knows the importance of self-esteem and confidence. Even with all that work, she couldn’t change the fact I was a short and round little guy. When it came time to go shopping with her and pick out my own clothes, I realized “normal” sized jeans didn’t fit me. To get the waist size I needed, they would have to be adult length! Well, the big retailers had a solve for that, and developed their line of “Husky” jeans just for people with that problem. They were very proud, and made sure to put the word “Husky” wherever they could (dang marketing people!)…
Nona Lee wasn’t having that. Her cute little baby boy wasn’t walking around promoting the fact he’s “Husky”, so she wouldn’t buy them for me. Instead, she bought me jeans that fit (in the waist) and perfected the art of cutting and hemming them back together. For my entire childhood, she bought me jeans that were too long and cut them to fit. That’s love.
I don’t know how to quantify the impact this had on my confidence, but it had a big, positive impact if that helps to understand it. I learned that I can be whoever I want, however I want and still be loved. I’ve carried that with me throughout my life and my career. The choices I make now – launching my company, buying a new suit, driving an old truck – are because I have confidence in who I am and where I’m going.
I can do whatever I want, and I know that because Nona Lee wouldn’t let me be “Husky”. Don’t be what the world tries to label you, be the person you’re put on this earth to be. You are who you are, so own it and keep livin’ the dream that is life!