Be true to what makes you different.
That’s what is printed on the inside of the box that comes with every Blumaan Product. This week that phrase has been burned into my brain because today March 14th 2019, is the 25th birthday of the person that most defines that phrase to me, my little brother Tyler.
For him staying true to his individual style, was as easy as breathing. It was an everyday thing for him to get up, style his shaggy hair and dress in colors and patterns that expressed his personality. It showed people exactly who he was.
Most days for him meant bright purple skinny jeans and a band t-shirt or a matching purple button-up. Everything on him was calculated from the piercings in his lip to his skateboard that was covered with panda stickers. His style wasn’t extremely crazy, it wasn’t lavish, but it was a direct reflection of him, and that’s why it’s important.
Everything about him just screamed confidence to me and this is something I’ve tried to adapt for myself. Everything I do with my channel, the products I help design, my own style choices are all a reflection of the things I learned from him.
He taught me that your style is a direct reflection of your personality and you should always be true to that, even when people try and tell you that you shouldn’t. And they sure did with him.
For a while, he was bullied a lot for the clothes he wore, the way he styled his hair ( the fact that he styled his hair at all was even something they would tease him over) but he never caved to the pressure. I remember one day specifically he had been suspended from school for fighting with another kid who had called him a very nasty name. After I picked him up and took him home I remember asking him if he thought it might be worth it to not wear the purple jeans (they apparently were the reason for the name calling) and I will never forget what he said to me: “Why should I stop? Why do I have to be afraid to wear something I like?”.
At the time that didn’t sink all the way into my brain, but much later it very much became the center of my thinking when it came to getting into grooming myself, and focusing my interest in photography and video into the ideals of expression that he taught me.
For Tyler, his outfits, his hair, his piercings- they were all tools of expression. A way to show people who he was, without words. We all have the opportunity to express ourselves in many ways including this one and just as he said, we should never be afraid to express ourselves in this way, or any other.
My little brother took his own life on September 29th, 2012. The biggest thing I have of him includes his senior photos that I took just 2 months before his death and when I see those photos I see someone who’s completely fearless and I think we all could benefit from hearing the message he tried sharing with the world for his 18 years.
So next time you go to the mirror and grab your jar of Original, or Cavalier – whatever the product may be. Ask yourself if you are being true to yourself and what makes you different.
“Its a tool for the soul and when you can touch someone’s soul, that’s limitless”-Steve Jobs
Happy Birthday little brother.