I was scrolling through my Instagram feed this morning, and came across a girl posing in her 10 year old prom dress, and telling one of those truly sad prom stories, something to the effect that she was asked to prom by her current boyfriend, Mr. Popular, she bought the dress, was all excited, and then heard that the guy intended to dump her and ditch her at prom for another girl. And that she had been hanging on to the dress all this time, with this dream that she would meet Mr. Right and they would dance the night away, and life would be sweet. She didn't talk about the fact that she looked damn good in the dress, that she has thousands of Instagram followers who she empowers and lifts up everyday, that the guy from that long ago prom could kiss her curvy white ass.
Now, I understand this may have been an instance of "see, I have those sad, I wish I was a princess with a prince" moments, too", but it didn't read that way to me. I read feelings of unworthiness and dejection in that post, and I wanted to wrap this 28 year old girl in my arms and tell her, "dude! wake up! you are fabulous! and you don't need any man to tell you that!" Phew, I'm glad I'm not 28 anymore.
My friend, we'll call her Jennifer, because I have 100 Jennifers in my life, and let's face it, Jennifers are some of the smartest people in the world; so, Jennifer says something wonderful every time I start to get down on myself about something - I'm a bad mom, I failed yet another diet, I missed boot camp last week, I'm lazy, blah blah blah. She has said it here, she has commented on Facebook, and, my favorite, she has grabbed my arm and yelled it at me in person, "Hey! Be nice to my friend!"
I love that. Because, I really try to be a good friend. I love my friends; they lift me up, make me want to be a better person, let me be me, even when I think I'm being annoying. And I try to say good things, and caring things to my friends. And, as I've reached my 4th decade, I've (finally) started to realize, these amazing, caring people wouldn't love an asshole.
Maybe I'm not thin and gorgeous, maybe I'm not as healthy as I want to be (although, I'm working), maybe I am not the mom I wish I was, and yes, I really wish I had finished my degree and maybe was writing a book or doing something amazing and world-changing right now.
Part of my job involves reading obituaries - I process memorial donations, and I pair the appropriate obituaries with the donations to make sure they are acknowledged correctly. It can be a little sad, of course, but often it makes me smile. I've read a lot of obituaries for people who lived long, beautiful, lives full of love and laughter. Their obituaries talk about their humor and their generosity of spirit, never how much money they had, or beautiful house, or their highest degree. They are people I wish I had the privilege of knowing. It makes me realize, even if I don't finish that degree, I can be that person that, at the end of my life, inspires someone to write about the fact that I made them smile. That I was full of love and kindness, with a bawdy sense of humor, and a huge "Read" list on Goodreads.
Your mission today? Go out and do a kindness for someone. And then,turn around and do a kindness for yourself. Tell yourself the things you tell your friends. Treat yourself like your best friend. And know, if I catch you saying something bad about yourself, I am going to yell at you, "Be nice to my friend!" Because I love you, and I don't love assholes.