I woke up this morning in a rather amusing way. I don’t know what sparked it but the word britches (or breeches for my bourgeois people) seamed its way to the front of my mind. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, the word is simply a reference to pants/trousers.
When I was coming up, the word britches had been sewn into my memory basket. From my parents to grandparents, I would hear this word constantly in various ways. Pull your britches up and don’t get too big for your britches are the two phrases I remember the most from my youthful years. I used to think to myself—dang, my britches just may be a serious thing. I better start taking them more serious. I’m somewhat joking but as I think about it, it’s kind of true.
I’m about to engage you with my twisted, yet rationale way of thinking. For many, words and phrases are simply taken and understood on face value. However, I’m not like most people. I tend to have a knack for looking beyond the stitching in the fabric (which tends to get me in trouble at times). So, allow me to hold your attention for a second as I breakdown why you should begin to take your britches more serious.
Similar to fabric, words/phrases can be used or interpreted in a variety of ways. Like fabric, the words we use with each other are often meant to “fit” the party with whom we are engaged. Within our “tailored” discussions amongst family and friends, those conversations are often “shaped” to become lessons of some sorts. At times these lessons are meant to foster change, growth and prosperity. I believe my mother was trying to teach me such lessons when she used to tell me to pull my britches up or advised me not to get too big for them.
Lesson 1: Pull your britches up.
Let’s think about this for a second. By now you should understand this as boy, pull your damn pants up. Let me preface this by saying that I understand fads and fashion as it relates to being a youth. I was one of those kids that wore my pants a size or two too big at times (not much as I was more of the prep type, the Black Zack Morris to be exact). I grew up in the 90’s and baggy wear was the fad for most of the decade. Just like fads prior to the 90’s such as leather, conks, zoot suits and bell bottoms, such fashion statements has always been the rebellious voice of the youth. It is this rebellion that creates the imaginary (or maybe not) wedge of conflict between parent and child. To put it in the words of an 80’s baby, parents just don’t understand (one time for DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince).
So let’s examine this phrase on a deeper level. Why was I told to pull my britches up? The first thing that comes to my mind is—respect. Respect for self and respect for others. We all understand that at some point in our lives presentation and first impressions are vital to certain aspects of our come up. Albeit, I didn’t understand this in my teen years (and early 20’s), I know this to be true now.
Let’s be honest the respect level amongst some of our youth has been drastically diminishing as the decades turn (for reasons beyond just this article, but I’ll stick to this topic). Coincidentally (or maybe not), the drop rate of britches has followed suit. We’ve all either witnessed or engaged in the topic of sagging pants as of late. And we all may relate to the trend in some form or fashion, but one must agree that it’s getting out of control (especially sagging with skinny jeans).
I’m one that tries my best not to judge, but we now live in a world where you can become a trending topic or meme in a matter of seconds. Prospective employers are utilizing the internet more than ever to get a sense of who you are as a person (right or wrong). However, perception is KING in most eyes. So we have to play the game accordingly (unless you’re privileged enough to make your own rules). I had to realize that I was a representation of my upbringing. I was representing more than myself. Therefore, I began to pull my britches up in more ways than one.
Lesson 2: Don’t get too big for your britches.
Okay mom either you want me to pull them up or not get too big for them…which is it (sarcasm is real)? After years of thinking this over, I finally came to the conclusion that my parents/elders was simply teaching me to stay in my lane.
This is something that has continued to push and carry me throughout the years. In almost every aspect of my life, I’ve always kept this in mind. I took the meaning beyond just staying in my lane as in playing my position from a subordinate level. I took the meaning to be more of a token of ownership as in creating my own way/path. By staying in my lane, I was able to grow and flourish without the unwarranted pressures of living up to others expectations. This way of thinking allowed me to become more comfortable with the skin I was in. There was no need for me to compete or try to keep up with others because I was in a race against myself.
The phrase is also humbling in some aspects. I used to feel guilty about some of my minor successes I’ve encountered in my adulthood. Now I don’t apologize for my success, but I more so focus on remaining humble with it—hence not getting too big for my britches.
I hope these lessons have not only entertained you, but provided some great jewels for you to share. These are just a few of the nuggets of wisdom I’ve encountered within the village I was raised. Things were so simple, yet so impactful. At times we didn’t have a lot, yet we gained so much in the process. I would like to reiterate that this is not a bash against those who decide to sag their pants (unless you’re over 18—you should know better by then). I’m just providing some insight into why you are being asked to.
To conclude I would like everyone to figuratively (literally in some cases) pull up your britches and don’t get too big for them.
And don’t forget to take your pants (britches) more seriously!!!