(Disclaimer: I may alienate my male readership with this post, but I am near certain that demographic is populated solely by my husband and he’s got to love me anyway. He promised.)
There is this part of my personality and I don’t know where it comes from, that simply savors good advice. I genuinely adore whenever someone cares enough about me to impart some piece of their own story on to me, with the sentiment that it might do me some good. And whenever I listen to someone share with me, I try really hard to send out vibes that let them know This matters to me. Thank you. I’ll try to be a good steward of this information and not some maverick who wants to live fast and die young.
You know, I want people to know I’m not a maverick. (Ha.)
Maybe it’s because I treasure it so much that people feel inclined to take me under their wings and give these gifts to me. Or maybe I’m sincerely likable and universally adored. Or possibly I’m such a train wreck that folks fear the consequences if they don’t intervene. No wait . . . It couldn’t be that. Let’s go with universally adored.
The point is I’ve had these lovely mentors in and throughout my life and they’ve lifted me up and loved on me and spoken true words of wisdom and encouragement.
My grandma was one of my earliest heroes. She is so damn smart and a firecracker to boot. And she begat my Aunt Cheryl who to me, now and always, is the picture of good taste and deep loving. And she begat my cousin Jer who has loved me like I was her own babydoll and is the first person I believed thought I was beautiful (even when I didn’t believe it myself). I have a big big place in my heart for those ladies.
My first boss Debi who become more like a mom and a lot like a friend who would dutifully listen to me launch into “So Brett and I got into a fight. . .” every Monday morning during the first year of my marriage and gave me the immutable advice to Be patient. Be kind. Listen first. (In addition to giving marriage guidance that is just aces, it’s also worth noting her fancy footwork in a board room. She’s got moves.)
And I have these friends, who have given me enough guidance and goodness that I need to call them something more, like Rachel (who has a PhD and yes, I mention that because I’m awfully proud to have a friend with a PhD) who taught me how to ride a bike (yes) and reminds me ALL THE TIME just do what feels good and keep doing it. Or my other Rachel who came into my life via my husband and his good taste in friends and his friend’s good taste in beautiful women, who I have seen become a MOTHER (you guys… she’s incredible) and who always takes the time to share with me how important it is to Love yourself first. Or Holly who has evolved so far beyond me that I literally pay her to tell me what to do.
It’s pretty likely that I’ve left someone influential off this list, but if I did, here’s one thing I can tell you: Its a woman.
Ladies. What I am trying to tell you is that I need you. We need each other. When I think about my people, my team, I see this crowd of gorgeous and intelligent women who decided it would be the best thing to help me get better. And I want that for our girls.
Last night in the locker room after spinning, my friends and I got to chatting with a couple other girls about my Six Dollar Boots. We talked about good buys and crappy shoes and back problems and I got to brag about my Six Dollar Boots to an audience that isn’t Facebook. When we left, I said “Girls, this is going to get me through my week,” and I wasn’t joking.
I live on that brand of social kindness. When someone interjects with joke? That is like flipping on the light switch of my heart. Because I am sincerely afraid of people. And since my gym is a facility of the medical school where I work, I can tell you honestly that I am terrified of the students who are smarter than I am, stronger than I am, and can somehow spin in a hooded sweatshirt without the threat of heat stroke (isn’t that the epitome of cool?!).
But what if we as women moved about the world in such a way that said to each other – You don’t have to be intimidated by me. This is not a competition. Get over here so I can love on you. What would it look like to give that gift to each other?
I think we can do it. I think we can do it if we are socially awkward or misfits or introverts or pageant queens (Hi Jenny!). I think we can do it if we are medical students or grant writers or teachers. I think God has given women the gift of magnificence and our consumer culture has worked us down into tight little fuzzballs of anxiety. Let’s free that up. Let’s unclench. Let’s take a girlfriend to lunch and spend almost the whole time telling her that her hair is driving us to tears it looks so good today. Let’s step into a coworker’s office and remind them how they killed it during their presentation. Let’s call our mamas (or papas) and thank them for putting us into this universe where we can do things like take friends to lunch and freely give compliments.
Not everyone is like me, I know. A conversation about Six Dollar Boots doesn’t do it for everyone. But it never hurt anyone, either. And you might just speak love to someone who needed it so bad today. Give those gifts ladies. Give them freely.