Monday, July 29, 2002

I am listening to John Mayer –he’s great! I love Neon and 83. The CD is called Room for Squares but you can download some of his live stuff at

The Eye of the Beholder

Ah, it’s Monday. The alarms go off. Yes, that’s correct –alarms plural. It’s that glorious time of the week when we get out of bed and say “I can’t wait to start this day! Everyone at the office will be relaxed and refreshed after a lovely weekend. I know there is so much to do, learn, see, …… “ WAIT! Hold that thought. That’s what I would like to say. However, what I usually utter is something like… “Oh, no. Not again! Is it Monday already? How is it already time to go back to work.” I don’t want to fight the 25-mile one-way commute. I don’t want to leave my apartment between 7:15 and 7:20 in the morning just so I can be somewhere by 8:00 a.m. I don’t want take a 30-minute lunch. I don’t want to be dressed up when it is 98 degrees outside with 100% humidity. I don’t want to have to put my makeup on in the car on the way to work this morning. I don’t have to put on makeup at all! I didn’t wear it at all over the weekend.

In fact, it was refreshing. It was liberating. I am amazed at how late in life I am coming to discover the joy of my face being freshly scrubbed with my freckles showing. I used to have this completely convoluted idea of myself and what was attractive. I guess in some ways I still do but I’m working on it. I grew up with a Mom who was, and still is, the picture perfect epitome of perfection. (I love alliteration! HA!) Her hair is always perfect; her nails are always painted, and she’s always thin. She never goes out of the house without her makeup and jewelry on—even to work in the yard or exercise. It took me a long time to realize that I did not have to look and act exactly like she did. In my mind “natural” was not pretty. Yes, I have always known that true loveliness comes from within but the rest of the world seems to prize the outside significantly more so and I was always concerned with what others thought of me.

Growing up the women I idolized were not what you would call natural. You see I love old movies. A few of my favorites are: Rear Window with Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart; Charade, Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant; To Catch A Thief, Grace Kelly and Cary Grant; North By Northwest, Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant; and Bringing Up Baby Katherine Hepburn and Carey Grant. Do you see a pattern here? Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Grant was handsome and dashing with his dark hair and eyes—so mysterious. He was so sophisticated and debonair you just knew that whatever problem came up, he could handle it. I always wanted to be the girl that caught him. I wanted to be Grace Kelly. She was so amazingly beautiful and always polished and made up from head to toe. She never had a hair out of place and her lipstick was never smudged. If I had to pick one word to describe her it would be liquid. She flowed so smoothly and was calmly serene. In my mind, she was what was “beautiful” and I wanted to be just like her.

Wanting to be Grace Kelly, somehow I wound up more like Lucille Ball. No, I don’t have red hair. It’s blonde like Kelly’s and I have blue eyes like she did too but the similarity ends there. I got the clumsiness of Lucy. I also inherited her ability to be a living example of Murphy’s law. No matter how much I plan, something always goes wrong but at least I always end up with interesting memories.

If I had to pick one word to describe me it would be dichotomous. I am always contradicting myself. I am half-bohemian, half-preppy. I am half-granola, half-glamour. Wait, that’s four halves, but you get the idea. I like to get all dressed up, go to trendy restaurants and shops. I like to put on my hiking boots and enjoy the great outdoors. I like the lights of the big city, the atmosphere of culture when going to the symphony or a play. I like to lie on a blanket at night, in the middle of nowhere, stare up at the stars for hours and breathe in the clean, soft night air while listening to the symphony of the crickets. I like the conveniences of city. I like the quiet of a small town. I like the luxuriousness of silk and the intoxicating smell of a spicy perfume. I like how soft a pair of jeans can feel after they’ve been washed a hundred times and the smell of freshly cut grass mixed with wild onions in the middle of the summertime. See, dichotomy.

One nice thing about getting a little age on you is you realize you don’t have to have all the answers. I am not nearly as concerned with how others perceive me as I was, say, ten years ago. I am more comfortable in my own skin. So now I am altering my view and in the eye of this beholder kakhi shorts, a t-shirt, Birkenstocks and no makeup can be just as lovely as the pale yellow silk dress, matching jacket, adorable strappy, wedge-heeled sandals and the perfect shade of lipstick.


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