Life Lessons, Mothers and Daughers

How Do You See Yourself?

A collective groan came from the women in my office – myself included – when we recently found out we had to write a self-evaluation for our annual performance review.  Meanwhile, the guys seemed unfazed.  Why were the men so comfortable when it came to tooting their own horns, while we women struggled to recognize our talents and quantify our skills – let alone engage in anything resembling self-promotion?

So, as the guys retreated to their respective offices to write their evaluations, the women did what women do – we came together – to talk and share, and basically buoy each other up.

We put aside basic competencies and all the long hours we logged in at our desks.  Instead, we thought about who the three of us are when we’re not at the office: a mother to a ‘tween and a teen; a preacher; and a writer.  We looked at all the “life stuff” each of us brings to the table.

Hearing my co-workers’ observations reminded me of the way my mother would often compliment me when I was a girl.  When I dismissed her praise, insisting that she couldn’t possibly be objective, she would reinforce it saying, “I wish you could see yourself the way other people see you.”

In the end, I wrote about my challenges and accomplishments.  We all did.  Because when we saw ourselves as our peers see us, we looked pretty damn good.

Girl Talk, Life Lessons, Mothers and Daughers

A Red Swing Coat

She stepped out of the taxi, so vibrant, so cute, in her hot pink woolen swing coat.  Her lipstick was a perfect match.  She opened her vintage black patent leather kiss lock purse to pay the driver.  Then she was on the move.  She clearly had places to go.   It was many years ago, but I still remember that older lady in the bubblegum pink swing coat, and how I thought: I want to be her someday.

Now let me preface this by saying that my mom has not yet reached the age of that older lady in the pink swing coat.  She has a way to go yet.  But during one of our recent shopping expeditions, the topic of dressing one’s age came up.

Me, I’m of the belief that looking fashionable has no age limit.  My mother, however, was concerned that the pair of dress pants she was trying on were not exactly age appropriate for her.  “Are they too trendy?” she wanted to know.

Forget that we were shopping in a store that caters to women of a certain age.

“No,” I asserted.  “They fit you like a glove – and you look great.”

She shrugged, “I don’t know…”

vintage-red-swing-coatJust then, the older lady in the pink swing coat came to mind.

“Do you like these pants?”  I asked, “Will you enjoy wearing them?” and before she could answer, I added, “Then who cares what anybody else thinks.”

I shouldn’t have had to convince her to buy the pants.  It’s a shame that we, as women, are always questioning ourselves, especially about our appearance.

As for me, I’m still planning to wear a lively swing coat someday.  But I’m not a pink girl.  So mine will be red.  And with it, I’ll wear lipstick that’s a perfect match.

red poppy

Life Lessons

Table for One

dinner for one

You’re on your own.  It’s late, you’re out, and you haven’t eaten dinner.  You’re starvin’ like Marvin.  What do you do?

A- Go home and eat a bowl of cereal, which is fine for breakfast but…remember you are very, very hungry.

B- Get take-out which will become cold and considerably less appealing by the time you sit down to eat it.

C- Resort to the fast food drive-thru window where you’ll be handed a paper bag full of calories, but lacking in nutrition.

D- Choose a respectable restaurant and have a proper meal.

My choice is D.  I want a place setting, a menu, and some good food.  Besides, dining alone is nothing to be ashamed of.  Sure, it requires a certain confidence.  But experience has taught me that this skill can be acquired.

In my twenties, I ate alone at the burger joints and coffee shops where nearly everyone eats alone.  Anything beyond that was outside my comfort zone.  By thirty, I’d mastered the art of reading a book or magazine while dining alone in upscale eateries.  Nowadays, a smart phone and earbuds provide company at a table for one.  But I no longer need props when eating out alone.

Recently, I went to one of my favorite restaurants on an uncharacteristically slow night.  There were only a handful of people at the bar, and several tables remained empty.  As I sat at the bar waiting for my meal to arrive, I chatted with the bartender, another single woman like myself.

What was her take on a table for one?  Eating alone is not an urban phenomenon – the suburbanites do it too.  Many more women eat alone than do men.  She observed that men appear more self-conscious about being without a partner.  From her vantage point behind the bar, she could tell that most people don’t even notice when someone is dining alone.  It’s just not a big deal.  Finally, she admitted that she enjoys eating alone because she finds it relaxing.  I had to poppy