Shoes. Whether you’re into high, strappy sandals or stomp-the-earth combat boots, women love shoes. Heck, I even named my blog, “Stilettos Not Required!” I have so many shoes that my husband expects to find me buried in my closet under a pile of wedges and platforms one day. But lately, my higher heels have been just for show. I wear comfortable shoes to drive and walk in, and then, if it’s a special occasion, I bring sexy heels to change into. I can sit in heels all day. International shoe maven Taryn Rose is all about sexy AND comfortable. She’s an orthopedic surgeon, so she knows how to keep the foot from being tortured. But she’s a fashionista and, she’s short…so high heels are her thing. Pain is not. Sexy, comfortable shoes, on Keep it Juicy.
A few weeks ago, I posed for a publication that I write for and I did it with no makeup. The magazine, Skirt, is one I write for regularly and this was their “Age Is Not An Issue” issue. So, I trusted them when they asked me to pose with no makeup. I even talked a friend into doing it with me.
Afterward, I heard lots of “how brave” comments. My friend and I were on the older end of the photo shoot spectrum. The youngest was a reality TV star who has done some modeling and the ones in between could all be models, if they aren’t already.
So maybe the comments were because I was an old broad without apology and without blush. As though I had shown not just my makeup-free face, but some more intimate part of myself.
That was not comfortable. Not the photo shoot itself, although the photographer was lovely and won my trust. And not the notion that my face was so shockingly bare that people thought I was brave to show the world what I really look like.
So, not comfortable. But it was not brave.
Here’s what’s brave:
The woman who survived a childhood as a Rwandan refugee and grew up to write the beautiful, “The Girl Who Smiled Beads.” If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.
Brave is anyone who has kicked cancer’s ass, and anyone whose ass has been kicked by cancer.
Brave is anyone who deals with depression or mental illness and is still here and still fighting.
People who have been kicked in the teeth by love but still believe that true love is out there? They are brave.
People who have been bullied or abused who figure out a way to make that violence stop before it gets its oily fingers on another generation. Those people are brave.
And if you stand up to a bully or an abuser, whether you’re the one being abused or whether you just see it happening? That’s brave.
It’s brave to take the time to talk with a homeless person, especially if you stop long enough to make eye contact.
People who figure out what it is that scares the hell out of them – could be jumping out of an airplane, could be public speaking – and goes ahead and does it. They’re brave.
Anyone who has the grace to speak honestly but kindly is brave.
All of those things are brave. But showing my face without makeup? That’s not so brave. I may look more tired than normal in that photo or older. But it’s not a brave face.
Depending on my mood, I’m likely to say that I just have big bones, or obsess about whether that freckle is melanoma. Usually these extremes come when I’m stressed out and angry that my body is demanding attention when I’m so freaking busy. Dr. Heather Bartos, talks about how nobody is the boss of our body but us…and how sometimes we abdicate that responsibility to doctors or loers or that tub of ice cream. Taking control of your weight and your health, on Keep it Juicy!
Let’s talk social media. Not the Russian infiltration or the zombie screen-starers it has made of all of us. I want to talk torture by my friends, wonderful people who ought to know better.
First, I have a confession to make: I didn’t get you anything for your birthday. You and I don’t have that kind of relationship.
I do celebrate the day you were born – you wouldn’t be my friend if I didn’t feel that way. But we don’t have the kind of friendship where we get each other birthday gifts.
So, why, I have to ask you, did you think I would send money to your favorite charity in lieu of the gift I was never going to get you?
If you’re like me, your social media feeds are filling up with virtue. This friend and that friend are saying that, for their birthday, they are raising money for their favorite charity. Well, bully for them.
I have my own charities. They’re meaningful to me because of the things I’m passionate about. Animals. Children. The environment. And when I am feeling charitable, I give to them. But I’m not expecting my passions to be yours. You do you.
Now, I know my friends and I love them. So, I know this all comes from a good place. But I can’t help but feel cranky about all the virtue showing up on my feed. I want to know about your life and your kids and even your job, but stop asking me for money!
In fact, I thought I had invented the phrase “charity shaming” but the urban dictionary tells me someone got there before me, so I’m apparently not the only person getting tired of the more-charitable-than-thou stuff on social media.
Confession time. I am reading six books at the same time.
Last time, I talked about how I have FOMO – or the fear of missing out. So, you might think that I’m greedily reading all of these books because I’m afraid of missing out on something.
But, the truth is, the books are all for different reasons.
There’s the book that I’m reading for sheer pleasure; for a book club (the book When that I mentioned is for the book club) ; the autobiography that takes forever to finish; the one that’s going to be a movie soon; the book about the craft of writing; the one that’s teaching me about Ayurvedic health; and sometimes, there’s even a seventh book if a podcast guest is also an author, so I can bone up before I interview them.
And, that doesn’t even count the two daily newspapers, and the countless magazines that I’ve learned to get digital subscriptions for so I don’t kill more trees.
So why do I read so much stuff?
First of all, I love to read. I’ve always loved to read. I don’t read because of FOMO – the fear of missing out. It’s more like FOGS – the Fear of Getting Stupid.
The older I get, the more I worry that my knowledge will decrease. Or get out of date.
I can handle if my body changes with age. Well, I’m not thrilled about it, but I can handle it. But the thing that scares me the most is losing mental agility.
So I try to keep learning things. And I read. A lot.
What is it you do to keep your mind sharp? I can’t be the only one. Anyone else out there facing FOGS – the fear of getting stupid?
I have lots of friends who are writers, or who want to be writers. We wonder what magic dust has been sprinkled over successful writers, and we want to know the clues. Best-selling author Beverly Donofrio knows about that magic dust – and guess what, it’s not magic. It’s hard work and rewriting and then even more rewriting. Beverly has written lots of books, but she first burst onto the scene with Riding in Cars With Boys, which became a movie starring Drew Barrymore. Since then, she’s written memoirs, children’s fiction, and she’s written essays in the New York Times, LA Times, Oprah Magazine, and Slate. Living a juicy writing life, on Keep it juicy!
We’re not children anymore, but the stuff that happened to us as children can still have a big impact on our lives. It can block us from living the life we want and it can block us from finding the love we need. And childhood trauma can really kick up a fuss when we try to manage the transitions that are part of being the age we are now. Certified relationship and life coach Riana Milne talks about traumas and transitions.
Now, I know enough about branding to know that she wasn’t talking about a flaming piece of metal to my flank. She’s talking about the marketing kind of brand.
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as: “A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”
Companies do it all the time. The Pillsbury Doughboy is the playful provider of family baked treats, and Zappos is the online provider of shopping made easy for all the shoes you could want. Or at least, that most people could want. Maybe not me, because I have a true shoe addiction. But that’s a blog for another day.
So, I guess in that sense, branding myself is setting myself apart from everybody else out there. And that’s kind of a problem.
Talk about uncomfortable! I went to school to be a journalist. This was back in the Woodward and Bernstein days, when the reporter – well, reported – the story. You stayed in the background, didn’t let your real opinion show, and just gave out the who-what-where-when-why.
That’s not me! I’m not the story! I don’t want to be a brand!
How can I maintain a consistent brand when I’m still figuring stuff out? Even at my advanced age, I’m still making it up as I go. Heck, on any given day, you don’t know how I’m going to leave the house – dressed in Earth Mother flowy clothes, or a sharply tailored dress. It all depends on my mood.
Moodiness is fine. But, what Brenda explained to me is that I’m all over the place. I have a lifestyle blog called, “Stilettos Not Required,” that lets me get really up close and personal. And I have a podcast called, “Keep it Juicy!” that lets me act as the objective interviewer. I have followers on both.
But, unless you’re my husband – or Brenda – you probably don’t know about each other.
Maybe you’ve got a junk drawer or a closet door that you have to really push to get it to latch. Maybe your whole house is a tottering pile of things you just haven’t gotten rid of yet. We talk with life coach Julie Coraccio about decluttering your life. You might be surprised to find out that, as long as you’re cleaning house, you can even declutter your relationships!
We’ve all heard about the midlife crisis. It usually involves a red convertible and a blonde. But what about the midlife funk? Life coach Suzy Rosenstein talks about the midlife funk…what it is and how to shake it. She also talks about how to regret-proof your life. I’ll bet you didn’t think that was even possible!