I get one of two reactions from people when I wear my owl hat. People either say something along the lines of, "OMG. I love your hat! Where did you get it?" or... they laugh hysterically.
I walked into Bible study last night wearing my owl hat and two of the women just started busting up. Of course I just smiled, stretched my neck and said "Like my hat, huh?" And talking to one of them after class, as she once again started laughing when I put my hat on, she said, "People would have me committed if I wore a hat like that." I said, "It makes people smile. I don't care if people laugh at it. Everyone should smile more."
When I was a kid, I would have never worn that hat again if someone had laughed at it. Now that laughter brings a smile to my face because I understand it's genuine -- they're not making fun of me, but laughing happily. Isn't it amazing how a little perspective can change your life? Instead of being offended now, I smile right along with the laughter.
It's so easy to take things personally. Especially for us women. I don't know what specific event caused me to grow a thicker skin, but I can tell you that I'm not so easily offended anymore. And that has freed me.
It's freed me to wear a funny owl hat. It's freed me to have more honest conversations with people. It's freed me to own my mistakes and then set them right.
As the saying goes, what other people think of me is none of my business. That doesn't give me the right to treat other people poorly, but it does give me the freedom to live my life for the right reasons. For God, for family, for the change I want to make in the world.