An Interview With My High School Self
Have you ever wondered what you would say to your high school self if you saw her? I started high school 20 years ago, and though the foundations of who I am remain the same, I am not the same person I was then. And I am hopeful that no one remains the same 20 years from their first day of high school. Here is a fabrication of what I might say to 15-year old Denae Wittmeier.
Young Denae: So, what exactly is it that you do now?
Old Denae: Well, I am a women’s event speaker.
Young Denae: Oh yay (insert sarcasm). Another motivational speaker. Just what the world needs.
Old Denae: Actually, I, along with my business partner, Nancy Iverson, teach women about style. We teach them what their dominant colors are so they know what colors to wear, and we teach them about what clothes to wear for their body shape and their own personal style.
YD: So, you are a style coach? <laughs> Have you met your high school self? Do you remember me? I would hardly call me a fashionista.
OD: <chuckling> Wow, we are not holding anything back here, are we? No, I suppose I wasn’t a diva. Okay, who I am kidding. You were there. I had my own sense of style, and it wasn’t the norm. I got reminded of that often.
YD: Don’t you feel a little self-conscious standing in front of a room full of women and telling them how to dress? What if they don’t even like what you are wearing? Why would they want to listen to you?
OD: Dear self, that is something that has changed tremendously since high school. I no longer let anyone define who I am by what they think of me. I teach women how to dress based on facts and science. It’s a boatload of fun, and I have learned how to get something out of my closest EVERY SINGLE DAY that looks good on me and makes me feel confident. If I, someone who was, *ahem* fashion challenged in high school, can love myself and what I wear every day, than I am certain that I can teach anyone the same skills.
YD: Wait a minute, you teach about OUTER beauty? Isn’t inner beauty more important? What kind of woman are you, anyway?
OD: Ah, yes, the age old question. The question people always ask when they are trying to trap me. Of course inner beauty has it’s place. After all, a physically beautiful woman can be very ugly indeed. But, what we teach is confidence. And that comes from really finding yourself as you are meant to be. It comes from trying and finding a hair color and style that you love. It comes from feeling like your eyebrows are shaped in the best way to make your best features stand out. It comes from knowing, accepting, and shopping for your clothing colors and personality. It comes from knowing that you are treating your body in a respectful way. It comes from searching and finding make-up tips that, when used, make you feel as beautiful as you are. And that confidence is what gives you a brand new radiance that just attracts people to you, and enables you to love what you see in the mirror. We teach about outer beauty because God made the outside just as much as He made the inside. And I know that a journey to find and love your outer self will result in changes of your inner self as well.
YD: It seems like this would be good information for everyone, not just old ladies like yourself. Uh, I mean, more mature women. Or, you know, it seems like it would help lots of ages.
OD: <laughing> Oh yeah, I remember when I thought 35 was old. That’s funny. Now I think 110 might be old. We teach girls as young as 10 and women as old as 100. We have a special program for middle school and high school girls to help them find their own sense of style so they can know exactly what to wear to feel trendy and cute, without looking like a hooker. Anytime someone can pick out clothes and know they are wearing the exact right thing, it’s a good day. Every single woman can benefit from that knowledge, whether they are 12 or 82.
YD: Last question, do you have any advice for me as I wade through high school?
OD: Yes! You are a “warm”. Embrace it. Dress for it. You are a creative original. No one is like you, and you are not like them. That is okay. It is a good thing. The plans for your future life will demand that you forget other people’s opinions of you. Dress for who you are and what you like. Sometimes there will be circumstances that are less than ideal. It’s okay. You are stronger than that and can rise above it. Remember how it feels so you don’t turn around and put other people in those same situations. Stop hating your red, curly hair. Figure out how to love and embrace it. It’s part of what makes you different. Embracing your differences and your strengths is what makes you able to stand in front of a room full of women when you are 35 and teach them how to love themselves through the way they dress.