My mother has cursed me. There’s no other way to explain why my four-year-old daughter enjoys dressing like a “street walker." Those are the words my mother often would use to describe how I dressed during my teenage years.
I was the type of girl who left the house in one outfit and then changed into another, much less appropriate outfit, once I got to school. Tight jeans, rocker t-shirts and a ton of Aqua Net hairspray for my teased-hair were my staples. I was a child of the 80s, living with conservative parents who grew up in the 50s.
The fashion conflict was just the beginning. When I was 16, I jumped out of my second story bedroom window to meet a boy. Luckily, it was snowing, so it softened the fall. There was another time when I snuck out of the back door and jumped the fence to go to a concert, when I was grounded, while my unsuspecting parents were in the front yard talking to neighbors. My worst infraction was running away. My parents didn’t know where I was for 24 hours.
As a parent now, I can’t imagine how my mother and father must have felt having such a rebellious daughter. As an adult, I have apologized to my parents multiple times. Now that I have my own daughter, there’s no denying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She is strong-willed, determined and highly opinionated.
My daughter has loved fashion from an early age, but the outfits that she picks out are often outrageous. Most of them are hand-me downs from a friend who gets a kick out of cultivating her daughter’s “inner diva”. My daughter is like a magnet attracted to metal when a new bag arrives at our door.
Every time my daughter comes strutting into the room with a new outrageous outfit, and trust me, she struts, I can’t help but cringe and think about what I put my parents through and pray that my daughter doesn’t go down the same road.
It’s during these moments that my mother often says, “God help you.” As I see that little gleam in her eye, I can’t help but say a silent prayer. Yes, God, please help me.
Sloane Heffernan is a mom of three and a reporter for WRAL-TV.