Name: Stasia Savasuk
Blog: Thrift Me Pretty
Number of Children and ages: Raisa, 9 and Zealand (ZZ), 3
Most embarrassing mom moment:
My most-embarrassing-mom-moment had little to do with one of my kids, but everything to do with me. Last fall, we spent Thanksgiving weekend at a family-style mountain lodge, tucked away in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They had family bunk rooms and shared bathroom facilities. One evening, as we were getting ready for bed, I went with my daughter, Raisa, to the bathroom to shower and brush our teeth. There was another mom in there with her nine-ish year old daughter, who from the moment we walked in, started giving me the hairy eyeball. Her disgust with me was overt and ugly, and I had NO idea why she could be so visibly angry with me, a complete stranger. It took me a few minutes to figure it out... but then it hit me. She thinks Raisa is a boy, and she's MAD that I brought my nine year old "son" into a female bathroom. My ninja-mom, save-the-day moves were less than stealth.
"Raisa, SISSY-GIRL, why don't we go find your brother, because he's probably missing his SISTER - GIRL - SISSY, because he loves you, his SISTER - SISSY -GIRL sooo much and you know how much daddy loves his DAUGHTER and he's probably saying where is SISSY because SHE - GIRL - SHE is so beautiful and I love HER so much."
No words were exchanged, but the woman clearly got my ridiculous message.
Raisa just looked at me with a quizzical look on her face, wondering what in heck had just happened.
I was embarrassed. Not of my daughter for dressing "like a boy", no way! But by how we, the grown ups, fumbled through false assumptions, misdirected anger, overt discomfort and over compensation.
It's time to start expanding what it means to look like, dress like and act like a girl. And it begins with us!!
If money didn't matter, what is your dream job?
Girl, I'm doing my dream job! I've had many jobs that I've enjoyed, but working as a Personal Stylist + Empowerment Specialist lights my soul afire like NOTHING I've ever done before!! Supporting women bust out of their societal and self imposed broken-down belief systems and FLEX THEIR BRAVE MUSCLE is what I was born to do. It's equal parts motivational, inspirational and magical. If money were not an issue, I'd spend a year traveling the states in an airstream with my family, stealing wi-fi, and running Stasia's Style School from the road!
Who is your hero?
That's easy. My daughter, Raisa, is my hero.
Just last night we had a conversation about staring. She told us that she knows people stare at her because she looks different than other kids, especially when she goes some place new, like summer camp, but it doesn't bother her. She said, "it's no big deal". I don't mean the dejected kind of no big deal; I mean the I'm-cool-BECAUSE-I'm-different, kind of no big deal. My husband and I sat there in awe of her inherent knowing that she is good people, despite the gawks and stares and sometimes rude comments that are slung her way.
Imagine if we all had such strength to stand tall and SHINE in the face of external criticism? Whoa, right?
Belief systems are a bugger, aren't they? Most of the time, we're so steeped in them, we hardly recognize that they exist, let alone recognize that we're a part of them.
And no-thing or no-body will rock your socks and challenge everything you THINK you know more than your kids.
So begins my story...
Since Raisa was a young girl, maybe 2, she's been drawn to what are traditionally known as "boy things". Whenever she went to the babysitter's house, who had two boys of her own, Raisa would come home wearing their clothes. I never made much of it, and never considered that this would become a real thing, because though she loved "boy" clothes, I could still get her into "girl" clothes without TOO much trouble.
By the time she was 4 or 5 years old, getting dressed became an all out battle. I had given up on tunics and tights, but she wanted nothing to do with ANYTHING that was even remotely "girly". No capped sleeves, and certainly no boot cut jeans!
We battled long and hard until one winter's day, when she was 6 years old, we were at a thrift store, and she asked me to buy her a shirt and tie. A SHIRT AND TIE!! Ugh, I resisted, but when she found one that she LOVED, I went ahead and bought it for her, knowing right well that it would likely "disappear" in the night.
When we got home, she immediately put on the shirt and tie, and stood in front of the mirror. When she first saw her reflection, she became motionless and said to me in a whisper, "Mama, look how handsome I look." Then she bolted across the dining room and said, "Mama, Mama, look how fast I can run!" and then she jumped up and down and said, "Mama, look how much higher I can jump when I'm wearing a shirt and tie!" I just stood there, ashamed, shocked and in disbelief.
Here I was, a personal stylist, helping my clients dress in a way that reflected their soul-fire on the OUTSIDE, but I was completely ignoring my daughter's plea to dress her own authentic inside-out spirit!
I thought I was protecting her. I mean, she looked different than other kids, and I was doing my best to make sure she looked cute in her tunics and leggings because if she was cool, people wouldn't pick on her. Except, I was doing FAR more damage than good. I was applying a belief system of what a girl was supposed to look like and dress like to my kid, and doing my damnedest to make it fit.
Belief systems crumbled that day, and ever since, she's been rockin' HER style like a champ. I used to say that she loves "boy clothes" but I've come to see how myopic that is. It just feeds the stereotype of what girls and boys are supposed to look like and dress like, so instead, I just say... she wears CLOTHES.
Collectively, WE can start to redefine what it means to be a girl. We can expand that definition, so it doesn't leave huge gaggles left on the fringes, trying to figure out where they belong.
Thank you, WeeRascals, for pushing and expanding those boundaries. We love you!