Attracting Attention: Virtue or Vice?

If your upbringing was anything similar to mine, you were probably raised to believe that attracting any kind of attention to yourself was a sin. Seeking attention usually evolved from the sin of vanity or pride, I understood. I therefore naturally developed an aversion to any attention coming my way and ended up with low self esteem – for more reasons than one.

Well along comes motherhood and having a daughter to raise myself now, I have tried to acquire the fine art of balance between nurturing her self esteem and discouraging the sins of vanity, pride and self absorption. Since I often speak on the topic of image presentation and self-confidence, it may seem like I have perfected this art. I can assure you that this juggle has occasionally landed me flat on my face!  While my daughter is a “good” kid, I seek to be educated on the topic and have sought any and every avenue available – prayer, to psychology and everything in-between. All to stay one step ahead – or so I think – of my teenager! From her perspective, I’m probably the Hovering Hornet – or worse!

St.-Baldricks-T-Shirt-DesignWith our society placing the utmost importance on the physical, external image of a person, it is hardly any wonder that the gravitational pull is NOT toward finding the image within and nurturing our soul. I pray daily with and for my daughter that she may be able to use every one of her gifts and talents to fulfill ALL that God has planned for her. While I am still on my toes and not about to relax them any time soon, those prayers worked… The following is an email she sent out to a few friends and family a couple of days ago:

Hey Everyone!!

I need your help please. I’ve answered the call to make a difference! I’m having my head shaved to stand in solidarity with kids fighting cancer, but more importantly, to raise money to find cures.

I have realized lately that my outer appearance is constantly on my mind and I am always worried about how I look. Cancer patients do not have the option of growing or styling their hair. Our society today, including me, cares a lot about the physical appearance and gets way too attached to unimportant things we think make us who we are, for example: our hair.
I really want to make a difference in this world, especially helping kids in need, and this is just one little way I can. On Thursday, March 14th 2013, at 6 pm I will be getting my head shaved -in Atlanta, GA. If you’d like to be there to watch, that will be great as well – otherwise I will have pictures!

Please support me with a donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation – no gift is too small. This volunteer-driven charity funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. Your gift will give hope to infants, children, teens and young adults fighting childhood cancers. So when I ask for your support, I’m really asking you to support these kids. – Thank you!

Here is the link to donate: click here
Please share this email and if you go to this link on facebook, you can share the post there too…

Love,
Michaela

Boys shaving their heads shaved is not too much out of the ordinary; a teenage girl doing it on the other hand takes some gumption! It is not going to be easy for Michaela – her action will not be over and done with in a few days – the hair has to actually grow back! I plan on being there to support and encourage her bravery. In the mean time however, this mission has her excited (yes – still nervous about no hair) and filled with a sense of purpose. While she is raising awareness and funds to help cure Kids Cancer, I believe the initiative is one that is relevant on many different levels in addition because of the “bald” component. As follows:

  1. As she mentions in her note, when kids are fighting for their life – being concerned about HAIR or MAKEUP or WHAT TO WEAR – pales in comparison to FEAR and FATIGUE and VOMIT.
  2. Michaela acknowledges that youth today – including her, have another grave ill to overcome… They are so focused on just their external image that they fail to realize their total potential – thus selling themselves short. This daring shave allows her to use something society – especially her peers – sees as a negative in terms of image (baldness), and call attention to the shallowness.
  3. It encourages diversity of thought and acceptance of diversity in look. Michaela herself has been a victim of bullying because she is not like 99% of all girls today who wear their hair long and as a result has borne the brunt of cruel remarks and jokes. This gives those with the tendency to be petty to take a harder look in the mirror – and possibly re-evaluate.

I believe this is one of those times that making a statement by garnering attention, is for the greater good of us all – a virtue rather than vice. During this Lenten season, I believe Michaela’s sacrifice will make a difference and tell a story she can be proud of for years to come. It is one of those days when Motherhood IS all is cracked up to be!

By

Marisa Pereira is a mother, fashion designer, currently runs a Design and Image Consulting business in Atlanta, GA, is a freelance writer and volunteers at her church and in the community. She holds a BA in Fashion Design and a BA in French with a minor in Psychology and has worked in the Fashion Industry for over twenty years. Frustrated at her inability to find appropriate church clothes for her 14 year old daughter, she heeded God’s call, and created the stylish but modest, Michaela-Noel clothing collection, now available on-line. Having lived in multiple countries, she is acutely aware of the emphasis cultures place on visual appeal. She analyzes the importance of presenting the best image of ourselves and passionately insists that it starts within. She regularly addresses adult and youth audiences – encouraging and teaching them to make a memorable first impact but more importantly - to create a lasting impression. Her websites are: www.mpcimage.com and michaela-noel.com.

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