April 19, 2017


S’up, Nikki! I have a bit of a problem. My school requires uniforms. Since I’m a tomboy and emo (which is like a goth), I tweak my look to fit my style. People think I’m scary, and I like it! But lately, I’ve felt like I should wear skirts and not pants like all the other girly girls at my school. I hate skirts, makeup, and dressing in bright colors (which is a nightmare for me because the school uniform is a bright blue cardigan and bright yellow shirt!). I think it’s because people pick on me for not dressing like others do. My friends don’t know what do and it’s just getting worse. Please help me, Nikki!!

Outfit Outcast

S’up, Outfit Outcast! 🙂

I’m so glad you wrote in about this. There’s a lot here that I think will help a lot of people.

The first thing I see in your letter is that you feel like everyone else dresses a certain way and you like a different style. I think a lot of readers will relate to that. I think it’s AWESOME that you are confident enough to go ahead and wear what you like!

But, it sounds like your confidence is cracking a little bit as you get picked on. That makes sense, too.

You say, “like all the other girly girls at your school.” I have an idea what you mean by that. But I have a hard time believing that ALLLLL the girls in your school are one way and you’re totally different. You might be the only one confident enough to stand up for what you want. But there’s no way every single other girl in your school is all about makeup, flowers, ruffles and lace. People are complex. And, even a group of girls who look exactly the same is made up of girls who are all different on the inside. Some of those girls who SEEM “girly” might be wishing they could be a little more like you. (Or different in some other way.)

So, look at it this way—when you have the confidence to express yourself the way you want to, you might be inspiring someone else to do the same! 🙂

It’s a bummer that you’ve got to wear a school uniform you hate. But in some ways, it’s helpful. Hear me out! First of all, You’re not the only one who hates school uniforms. Even people whose favorite colors are blue and yellow do not love wearing the same shirt and cardigan every single day. So, you’re all in that together. But also, it limits your options for self-expression in your wardrobe. Normally, I’m all about self-expression! But if you’re getting picked on for dressing differently, I’d think it might be a bit of a relief to know that no one can pick on your uniform, because everyone has to wear it.

But, there’s still the rest of your outfit, and how you might do hair, makeup or whatever. And people pick on you. Which SO not cool!!

It sounds like you’re still figuring out how you want to present yourself and how you feel about people’s reactions to you. And that’s TOTALLY NORMAL. That’s pretty much what life is ALL about at our age. You might just feel it more than others, because you don’t want to blend in with the crowd.

To be honest, I’m still in the middle of all this myself. It’s horrible to feel like the lone weirdo. And I’m so glad I never have to feel completely alone, since I have my AMAZING BFFs. And it sounds like you have friends, too, which is awesome!

I asked my mom what she thought about your letter and my advice so far, and she added this (if you want an old lady perspective):

“The girls (and guys) who all seem the same to you will eventually stop going along with the crowd. Everyone does it in their own time. Some will get more confident about their own individuality in high school. Some won’t until college. Some even later. But until they do, they might feel threatened by you. Not because you’re scary or emo, but because you have confidence they wish they had.”

Sometimes, moms are smart. 🙂

So look, you said it’s “getting worse.” If it’s serious bullying, then you need to go to a parent or a teacher you trust and get an adult involved. Because you might look tough, but you’re still a kid!

If it’s not really bullying, but just regular kids picking on kids, then try to be confident in who you are. I’d tell most people to let their inner dork shine through. But in your case, let your inner emo shine through!! 🙂

How do you keep up your confidence when you’re going against the crowd? Are you ever threatened by people who are different or do you admire them?