Ya-Ya, Succulence and Red Hats

“Invent your world. Surround yourself with people, color, sounds and work that nourish you.” – SARK

There is an entire secret society out there. I’m not talking the Templar Knights. They aren’t hiding some kind of scrolls or protecting a family linear. But what they do, it’s just as important. And it’s a sisterhood, not a brotherhood. Ok, so they aren’t a secret, but it was to me, because I just found out about them this past weekend.

Before I tell you about them, let me tell you about my lifetime search for them. You see, I think I’m different from other adults my age. Actually, I think I’m different from most adults, any age. I enjoy being a kid, being silly, and get excited over the most simplest things, just like a kid, and I try to keep my little girl inside of me happy. I remember when I was a kid and looking at the adults around me and thinking, “Wow, they look miserable, and they’re so serious! Don’t they have fun anymore?” And swore to myself that I would never be like that.

As I grew older, I noticed that the more I tried to maintain my attitude of being silly, the more people would distance from me. I began to tame myself in order to not upset others, and essentially keep my friends. Then about ten years ago, what I think is one of the most best movies I’ve ever saw was released on video – The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. One day I was home sick from work, couch ridden, and I watched it about six times. I absolutely loved the bond between the women, the confidence they had, and especially how they were so comfortable with having fun and being silly. I longed to be a part of something like that. This is what I wanted with my friends.

A few months ago I read a book, recommended by my therapist, called Succulent Wild Woman. This is a fabulous book which talks about what a Succulent Woman is all about. It’s a woman who knows what she wants, treats herself with care, and enjoys herself and life. She isn’t afraid of what others think. She is a woman who doesn’t dim down her lights for others, and is true to herself. She is fun to be around, and is full of energy. Hmm, and my therapist thought this was me? Well, I think it’s cool to be considered a Succulent Wild Woman. I love that label!

Now, it’s great to be thought of that way, and I’m beginning to actually see myself through that lens, but it’s kind of boring to be like this on my own. As I mentioned above, I long for that sisterhood, to be understood. Half of my friends from childhood pretty much walked out of my life when my father died, and the other half walked out when I separated from my ex, and really, I have to say that this would be overwhelming for them anyway. The two Succulent Women I know and blessed with their friendship now, are wonderful, but I’d like to see them more often.

So this past weekend I was invited out to dinner. Normally I would just throw on jeans and a nice top, but this time my daughter and I got all dolled up. I couldn’t decide between two beautiful dresses, and so my daughter encouraged me to wear a bright red sleeveless dress. I was so self-conscious and nervous. I was going to attract attention! (Note: I’ve never owned anything that wasn’t black, blue or brown). After a few minutes, I began enjoying the bright colour.

At the restaurant, to my amazement, I saw at a nearby table a group of the most beautiful women that I had ever seen. They were all wearing purple, and on their heads were the most reddest hats ever! I wanted to go up to their table and congratulate them on being Succulent Wild Women so many times, but my courage would just drain right out of me. I couldn’t stop staring. I couldn’t believe it, here, right in front of me, was a sisterhood that I longed to be a part of. Right in front of me! I had so many questions that I wanted to ask, and I was paralyzed by fear. And then, they were getting ready to leave, and my heart began sinking. Then, the unthinkable happened. The gorgeous person sitting next to me stops them and tells them that I think they’re great! OMG!!!

I felt like a babbling idiot, but they were gracious enough to entertain me. I found out that this sisterhood of theirs is worldwide. They belong to the Red Hat Society! It’s about empowering women to have fun, and support each other. Just what I wanted!

I’ve been on their website so many times since then. So I decided to take the leap. I’m now a Red Hatter. Well, technically, I get to wear a pink hat because of my age. Now to come up with my name….should I be Lady Lightbulb, or Princess Peculiar? Or something completely wild like… Duchess Smartie? I’m open to suggestions….really, I am.

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You Are All Beautiful People

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”  ― Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

So yesterday I decided to do something which scared the heck out of me. I decided to put myself out there and ask for feedback. Yes, I did say that I welcome feedback, but after I hit the “Post” button I realized what I was actually getting myself into and thought, “OMG, what did I just do?!!”  I also realized that most of my life I’ve received feedback which was unsolicited, and I had to deal with it. This time I decided to solicit it, and it was torture waiting for the comments to roll in. All sorts of questions were swirling in my teeny, weenie brain.  Would they be good? Would people be kind or cruel? What could I expect?

The results were astonishing, and I’m very touched by the responses I have received. Many of you have decided to keep your comments private, and I will honour this by not publishing them. Others, you put yourself out there and shared them with the world. There have been many different approaches with your feedback, but one thing is noticeable – you are all caring, wonderful people.

One of my readers, whom I will call Caring Carol from now on, took me up on my offer of giving me a topic to write about – “what is beautiful about people” (What a wonderful topic, considering that my readers are the most beautiful bunch around!!)

Everyone is beautiful.  We’re born beautiful.  The question isn’t “what is beautiful about people” or “what makes them beautiful” rather “what takes their beauty away?” Everyone has a spark, a light inside of them that radiates life into everything they do and meshes with everyone they meet. A baby is born angelic, kindergarten students are adorable, teens are full of curiosity and wonder, adults have a wise beauty about them – this is all beautiful. So what is it exactly that diminishes a person’s beauty? If you really pay attention, you will see it around you.  For example, that one person who looks miserable or rarely smiles, and when they do, suddenly their entire being transforms. They are breathtakingly beautiful. What causes this transformation?  Usually, it’s a result of being complimented, validated, heard – essentially, being seen and accepted for who they really are. Sometimes even for a split second. This lifts their mood, esteem, they feel valued.

Some people need help to bring out their beauty – a kind word or act, a bit of gentleness and encouragement. We all know the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and it’s true.  But why not take it a step further?  If you see someone who isn’t radiating their beauty as they should, why not lift them up a bit?  It really doesn’t take much time, and while you are lifting them, you’ll also be lifting yourself.  But the same holds true for yourself. We all have days where we don’t feel up to par, we don’t feel beautiful, we need a bit of a nudge in the right direction. Rather than sitting there and stewing, why not ask for assistance?  I did that yesterday, and look at what happened!

I’m smiling a lot today. I feel good.  I feel beautiful. Why? Because I have discovered that my readers see me. They have validated me, encouraged me, and renewed my sense of purpose, given me the push I needed to continue on materialize my dream.

My readers are wonderful, beautiful people. And I am blessed and honoured that you have chosen to read my blog and follow me on my journey. Thank you!

Hugs,
Smartie