Years ago I remember laughing over Erma Bombeck’s essay with my friend Birgitta. We both loved the message about living life in an authentic manner and putting on “The Purple Hat.” If you are not familiar with this essay I have included it at the bottom of this post. The message means even more to me today because I’ve realized that since becoming a mother I’ve been guilty of allowing a bit of my light to dim. Motherhood, sweatpants, conformity, criticism from peers and getting boxed in by the mommy crowd has put many of us all into the same clothes with the same purses and the same haircuts. How ridiculous is that? And it goes beyond clothes into how we are all living our lives. How many of you have done the same? We are hiding, blending and conforming.
I’m kind of tired of it.
Last week I saw a woman in the airport. She was in her late forties and was wearing a black shirt, leggings and black boots with seriously heavy rhinestones on them. She set off the metal detector! I will be very honest with you all. My first reaction was “what is she wearing?” My second reaction was “I wish I had the nerve to wear that!” My third reaction was “That woman kicks some serious ass.” It was then that I realized that I’ve lost a bit of myself along the way.
I want it back.
In high school my best friends bought me a t-shirt. Back then it was popular to create t-shirts with graffiti writing on the front. They had the artist write words that I unknowingly used to say all of the time. When they gave me the shirt I was confused because I didn’t even realize I said those words constantly. Those words were definitely a defense mechanism, a communication that I didn’t care about a particular subject or what others thought about me. I wish I had that t-shirt still. I hesitate to even write the words because I’m afraid of what you all will think. That’s the conformed me speaking, the less honest, less authentic me speaking so here are the words. I was a bit of a pain in the neck when I was in high school and college.
Yea I know. Poetic.
It’s time to continue living an authentic life both inside and out. Don’t be surprised if you see a bit of rhinestones or army boots on my feet in the next coming months. I may have to go out and buy that purple hat as well.
It really doesn’t matter how old you are. Live an authentic life, show up and be honest, real and proud of your true self. This is a worthwhile goal. Let go of worrying about what others think, it is liberating! Reject the labels, expectations and insecurities that would try to put you into a small little box. You are not your number on the scale, you are not your age, you are not in high school and you are free to choose you. Throw your hands up, laugh, be brave and go conquer the world! Don’t wait until you are 80 to put on the purple hat. If you practice living authentically it means, as Brene Brown so eloquently states “it’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Being authentic means being brave and confident in who we are at the core. It doesn’t mean changing ourselves for anyone else. Take your God given gifts, make the most of them, live YOUR life and put on that purple hat.
Or army boots.
IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER – by Erma Bombeck
(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”
There would have been more “I love you’s.”
More “I’m sorry’s.”
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute…look at it and really see it .. live it and never give it back.
Stop sweating the small stuff.
Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.
Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.
Let’s think about what God HAS blessed us with.
And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally.
I hope you all have a blessed day.
Beautiful Women’s Month
Age 3: She looks at herself and sees a Queen.
Age 8: She looks at herself and sees Cinderella.
Age 15: She looks at herself and sees an Ugly Sister (Mum I can’t go to school looking like this!)
Age 20: She looks at herself and sees “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly”- but decides she’s going out anyway.
Age 30: She looks at herself and sees “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly” – but decides she doesn’t have time to fix it, so she’s going out anyway.
Age 40: She looks at herself and sees “clean” and goes out anyway.
Age 50: She looks at herself and sees “I am” and goes wherever she wants to go.
Age 60: She looks at herself and reminds herself of all the people who can’t even see themselves in the mirror anymore. Goes out and conquers the world.
Age 70: She looks at herself & sees wisdom, laughter and ability, goes out and enjoys life.
Age 80: Doesn’t bother to look.
Just puts on a purple hat and goes out to have fun with the world.