It all started with the pandemic. Before now, I have never bought t-shirts with words written on them. I tend to like my t-shirts solid colors...no words, no animals, no flowers, no stripes... As a mother I never bought shirts for my kids with words or messages or cartoon figures on them either. Well maybe one big pink peace sign once.... couldn't resist...but generally my selections were pretty plain.
I say it started with the pandemic but that isn't really true. It started with my dear friend Nancy. She sent me birthday money. A generous check that she urged me to spend on something just for me. I thought about it. I wanted to make sure I bought something interesting that I could tell her about. Not just frivol it away on a few notebooks, something common or paying for groceries. A book? A haircut? Some clothes? How about fresh cut flowers? I almost went for the flowers.....
....but then I got a flash of inspiration. I recollected having watched a video recently, online, in which the t-shirt a woman was wearing expressed the big bold message of YOU ARE ENOUGH. I thought about all the zoom calls I have been on lately...all the opportunity to send a message during this difficult time we are all in. I suddenly realized it's time to break out of my monotony and send a message! So I started ordering t-shirts!
"Expect Miracles" says one. "Oooh I like that" said Nancy. "You Matter" says another. "Everyone should see that message" said a kind man in the grocery store (I could see his warm eyes as he spoke even if I couldn't see his smile behind the mask).
I remember when my kids were first learning to read I became hyper-aware of all the signs out in the world. In coffee houses, on bumper-stickers and sometimes graffiti on a street sign, there were sometimes messages which were totally inappropriate for eager young readers to see. So if nothing else, maybe a positive t-shirt can be one sweet message for a small child to delight in, counteracting other messages out there that might be negative or crude.
At the end of the day it is not what our t-shirt says, but how we live our lives that is important! Our actions speak louder than any shirt, or words for that matter. And indeed, sometimes we might wear a shirt with a senseless message, just as we might make a mistake and say the wrong thing or take a less than admirable action.
But if wearing a fun, positive message on your shirt appeals to you, it certainly can't hurt! It might just be another little positive reminder to oneself and to others...and all our little efforts make a difference.
So here I am with a new look and looking for the next best t-shirt and, who knows, maybe I'll buy bumper stickers next...
What would your t-shirt say?