There’s always a little voice inside my head that questions whether I’m good enough. As I’ve gotten older (please note, I did not say “matured”), it occurs to me that I’ve got to get on the stick and kick this hefty can down the road and out of sight. It’s rusty, dented and contains so much stuff that I will likely never resolve, so I might as well get rid of it. Besides, I like the look of this guy…
It feels so defiant to say ‘take me as I am’. So risky. At least for me. Of course it also suggests that I am completely sure who I am – and I guess that is sort of a work-in-progress exercise. I’ve never been an either/or person, the world to me is so resplendent with colors and shadings that absolutes are the bigger challenge (one exception – the words of one of my first bosses “Today, you have full authority to do the right thing” – I try to remember that daily. Other than that, all bets are off).
So despite my continued lack of personal clarity, I marvel at my friends who love me in spite of myself. Jo and I go months without seeing each other and literally pick up conversations mid-sentence. When we finally saw each other Friday night, all Andy could do was shake his head with a smile and say “I totally get it”. I know her eyes, can see what they’re telling me; I can tell by what she doesn’t say, exactly what she wants to say. This friendship from childhood provides a secure knowledge and confidence that the elemental aspects of who I am is understood on the most intrinsic level. Whether or not you are sure, someone with a historic reference is sure I’m more than ok. The joy of rediscovery.
The prism through which friendship is viewed, can be seen from a different perspective with new friends. Carrie, Donna, Lori, Rhonda…I have been blessed with these women through serendipity (waiting for a manicure, Andy’s bowling team and through our blogs respectively). As Carrie and I spoke yesterday over mediocre Greek salad (a nod to my Jenny Craig efforts – I am craving a milk shake about now), I realized how our friendship developed without pretense or guile – we passed those markers somewhere along the road and no longer have any patience for either. I have connected with women who are wise and strong, experienced and romantic, tender and tough enough to have withstood their share of challenges and pain. They don’t suffer fools, but they embrace you if you hurt. They hug hard (figuratively and literally) and protect fiercely. If I am defined in part by my newer friendships, I’m feelin’ pretty damn good. The joy of renewal.
The knowledge that I have gained from less-than-positive choices runs deep and is beginning to hurt less. Learning the difference between providing a service to someone v. sharing in a friendship is a tough lesson for me to absorb. This first year away from the firm has been painful in that regard. On the one hand I am surprised at myself – I know a little bit about human behavior, what drives office dynamics and what distinguishes mutual understanding – ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ – from friendship. I was unceremoniously dropped and the pain of landing on my butt was unexpected. A year later, I wish I had chosen to be the one who walked away. I certainly would have felt more graceful.
How cool to still have the time and luxury of finding me – if I choose to look – and to do so with the confidence that I may never know? Better still is the feeling that I can look around and find the best, most flattering definition I will ever seek. My friends.
70 thoughts on “Take Me As I Am – Whoever That May Be”
I am not an either/or person either–I have fence sitting down to an art – enjoyed this post
Lol…sounds good to me – as long as it’s not a picket fence – that would hurt!!!
ha ha – or a wrought iron pointy one
I love this, especially the last paragraph. I’m in a similar situation, as you know. It will be interesting to see who remains in my life this coming year and I’m looking forward to the new and interesting friendships ahead. Thanks for sharing.
It is certainly a process and arguably a metamorphosis. I am learning so much!
you speak such great truths mimi
Thank you Kyle – I really try..though I must admit, sometimes such honesty is a bit tough..
but always worth it
I think so…better to be straight with one’s self than delusional (although there is something to be said for the occasional delusion…:-))
Reblogged this on Life In The Dash Lane (1962 – ?) and commented:
Worth reading……. 🙂
Love the post Mimi, and I especially love the quote from your boss…I think I will borrow it for myself 🙂
He was a lovely man though a challenging boss. But those words have stayed with me for decades…:-)
I understand why.
Our friendship mentioned specifically!! It warms my heart to realize you find our budding friendship a treasure too. I think a critical part of connecting with others is being comfortable with myself. If I’m not, then I try to be the person I think is expected and my “play acting” further devalues my self worth.
You are a treasure Carrie – and shame on anyone for whom you need to ‘play act’. They aren’t worthy of you.
I love the picture Carrie!!..does this mean that you have started writing???
Wow – the joy of rediscovery. I could have written the same words and therein lies the beauty of our friendship. We have always tried to blaze the right trails; some days more successfully than others. Doing the right thing and making a difference were important but so was being “liked” for making the decisions and choices. I love the visuals – the dog and the poster. I think it has a lot to do with our jobs no longer being the definition, in part or as a whole, of who we are. Traveling unpaved roads to finding our true selves and being honest about what we see is challenging on the best of days. I like the metaphor of being “a work in progress”; continuing to evolve. I love when I hold the mirror up to my face and I see what you do and then I try to embrace that for as long as I can. And I know when I hold the mirror for you; you do see what I see, what Andy sees, what your kids, their respective spouses and girlfriends, your friends- both old and new – who love you abundantly and your extended family who does the same can attest to. (boy, for a former school teacher the previous sentence has so many semantic and syntactic errors, I should be ashamed – but I’m not because I am writing today from my heart. Just had to make note because I am still working on the “take me as I am” piece). Who would have ever thought that writing a blog would open so many doors and precipitate so many adventures and new journeys for you? Being open to the joy of discovery, the beauty of reinventing and reaffirming all the good that one holds inside is transformational. Enjoy the ride, my dearest friend. You reap what you sow. Friday night was magical as is every moment we are lucky enough to grab on to. And, kudos to both of us for recognizing that and taking advantage when we can. Another testimonial to “retirement” – making the choices you want to make and being comfortable with them. As a life-long learner, I have always believed that change is a catalyst for growth – notice I didn’t say maturity :). You have been given the gift of having a great set of tools in your tool box – I am just one of many lucky people who have benefited because you have always “played well in the sandbox” and are more than willing to share. Let’s continue to complete each others sentences and enjoy all the well-deserved wonder moments yet to be. Have the best Tuesday.
Wow Jo – I really think you should blog too . You are eloquent and heartfelt and know when to forget the structure of a sentence and just go with it. Certainly retirement has been the catalyst for much realignment for both of us – and how fortunate I am that we unintentionally timed this new journey so well. For once again, we’re on the metaphoric road together. And given all that is going on promise me that until we see each other again, you ONLY use my mirror. Put yours away…with love, me
Consider it done. Your mirror has better light right now. It’s warmth will give me the strength I need and I will hold it close to my heart – right next to the place where you have always had a space. Should you need to borrow mine – it’s yours as well. Always xxoxxo
I always keep your mirror close to my heart for the days I need it. Right now though, we’re talking about you – and the only reflection I wish for you to see is the one I have of you..xox
You are a gift Mim. An honest to God gift in my life. And I’m on the side of that road of which you speak cheering you on…I’ve even got pom poms, but please don’t make me use them. Don’t shy away from the occasional dirt path of delusion either, they can be so much fun. I see the place in the near future where out roads come together; that is the place I’m headed. Meet ya there in the fall.
love you loads woman
Love you tons and tons Rhonda..and though I hate to admit it, I have my poms poms too but will keep them in the closet. I am beyond grateful that you are in my life, and pal, you’re in it all the way. Don’t know what I did to deserve it, but you have filled spaces that I never knew were empty. How lucky am I…xox
Oh man. You are working so hard to get rid of stuff filling your spaces and here I am adding it back. Well, I’m not low calorie or non-fat, but I’m still a healthy choice! I’m glad I’m on your diet plan! Your behavior modification plan, even better! Lasts a LOT longer and is better for you. 🙂
No matter the diet or program, there is always room for you babe…now that you’re here, you aren’t allowed to leave..:-) And, btw how interesting is it that we both wrote of similar things today?
I know! It’s funny and it happens quite a lot around here. Wavelengths touching in cyber space somehow. It’s great and I LOVE when it happens.
And not to worry, not going anywhere!
I think you speak for so many through this post. This should be mandatory reading for all women starting at 40! This was great.
Thank you SO much! It’s the balance of what to hold onto and what to let go of so that there’s room for new and wonderful people that is the tricky part, isn’t it?
Being on the list of newer peeps in your blogging circle, I can’t quite find the right words to frame my response – but I absolutely adore what you have shared …I take you, just as you are…I think you are awesome and I wish we could sit and talk over a mediocre Greek salad too…or any kind of salad! 🙂
I have that same little voice inside my head and I have to tell it to shut the h*ll up just about every day. Can our little voices go out back and have a chat and be done with it already? You are an amazing person, an incredible woman and to me, I see such clarity with who you seem to be. But it’s always harder to see ourselves the way others do…(I have a rambling set of thoughts on this…that you just helped me get closer to to understanding and perhaps writing about at some point, it’s definitely something I am a work-in-progress on also). You rock, Mimi, and I couldn’t be happier that our virtual paths have crossed, because what’s here is not necessarily virtual, I think it is real 🙂 and like you said, without pretense or guile, and in that case, perhaps we get to truly be who we are, safely and securely. xo
I am so glad you are in my little circle – for though you and I are new to each other, I’ve got that same tickle in my heart that tells me we are friends who will one day share that salad, or coffee, or email chats or whatever we want to do. I send you many cyber hugs and tremendous joy that you’re here (or I’m there)…xox
Wish you could see my grinning from ear to ear 😀 Your circle is such a good place to be. Those cyber hugs are coming right back to you, and yes, big joy that we are both here! Amazing…you just never know, do you, when the nicest surprise will come around the next corner. I am enjoying this one….xoxo
Great motivational speech for the rest of us to get out from behind our keyboards. Hold it you want us to interact with others in an understanding and compassionate manner while accepting them as they are. I have but one thing to say Viva Le revolution, and lead on.
Did I do that?? Really?? Well then yay on me!! Yay because it came from my heart, without expectation or pre-text. And an even extra special yay if the takeaway is that we interact with compassion and acceptance. You have made my day Keith – totally made my day.
Powerful! Love, love, love this!
🙂 That makes me happy..
I love this and all the comments! I share a lot of your sentiments in most of your posts! You are an amazing person and all your different colors and lights shine through in all the pages of this blog! You go girl! 🙂 Blessings!
Talk about karama – when my friend Carrie and I say good bye she always says “Blessings” – and I love that! Thank you for seeing all my colors and for being so wonderfully supportive of the blog! As you know I’m one of your huge-est (ok, it’s not a word, but..) fans..
Thank you! I appreciate your support a lot! It is hard not to see all the goodness in all your pages! … and I think hugest should be a word! 🙂
Ok – it’s official – ‘hugest’ is now a legitimate word in blogger-land…
… so proud! the first word in our new blog dictionary! 🙂
🙂 well Rhonda has come up with a few too, I must tell you…
sounds like a new post on the making …
Ok you two…you’ve just tickled my brain…now I have to go back and find all those words and do a post about them. I KNEW I should have written them down! 🙂
Honey, they are written down – in the archives…It’s a pain in the butt I know, but it’s the price you pay for brilliance…Good morning sunshine…oxo
I was just thinking the same thing…I’d be spending some time going back through the old posts…haha
Good morning to you…send you an email a bit ago with a question.
Got it and wrote you back love…
I LOVE every aspect of this post from your vulnerability and insights, to the way you describe your life-long and newer friendships, to the photos, and to great framed message at the end! Thank you for the WONDERFUL post, Mimi!
Oh Russ, thank you so much! That message was in an email I received and it just drove the whole post…I am so inspired by your writing that to receive such an endorsement from you means so much! I even got words in CAPS – how cool is that!!! 🙂
Absolutely crazy about this post! haha sorry for such strong words. But since your post is very strong in TRUTH, I could not find better in such short time. There is no better investment, than truefriendship. I am also not a fan of ’you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ mentality, ocean of sharks. Any day can be your last, so you better attack while you still can mentality. Hope this will start changing soon. Or maybe I am just naive to hope this. Thanks for sharing.
I think the workplace can bring out some wonderful qualities in people – and some of those qualities are driven by motivators that are not always about friendship – which I never fully realized at the time. Perhaps they’re driven by survival, a need to affiliate in an ocean of sharks, protection, better raises or bonuses – whatever. In some cases the motivation is friendship – and that in and of itself – is a gift..
What a wonderful tribute to the women in your life! Gorgeous. Also, I now have Idina Menzdel belting “Take Me Or Leave Me” in my head, so thanks for that! http://youtu.be/ENeVzS9mgFc
Oh any time you have Idina Menzel in your head, enjoy it!! What a fabulous song (as is every song from ‘Rent’ but I admit to a bias – I think I saw it live twice and at the movies two more, have the cd…)..:-)
I found this post through a reblog, and boy am I glad I did! First of all, I now have Take Me or Leave Me from Rent stuck in my head ( youtube.com/watch?desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DmAfMZ_vWJDo&v=mAfMZ_vWJDo&gl=US). I absolutely LOVE that song, though, so I am very happily singing it all through the house while my husband cooks dinner and looks at me like I’m crazy.
Secondly, I love this concept. I am a work in progress, too, but there are definitely things that are just part of who I am. Things that make me me. I have found some great people who love and accept me for my particular brand of unusualness, and I cherish them!
Sing it loud!! Thank you for stopping by and for your wonderful comments. My hunch is that your friends do far more than ‘accept’ you – they love you for those qualities that make you uniquely and terrifically you..
Beautiful post, Mimi. It is funny because from where I sit you couldn’t be any better! Those damn voices in our heads are so damaging and ugly. It is amazing that every person seems to have them, no matter how confident and competent. Thanks for your honestly and for exposing your vulnerabilities.
Another great post that’s for sure, loved the pictures that dog is super cute, I have had problems form time to time with the voices in my head telling me negative things but I am getting better at not paying any attention to those voices…………
Good for you!!! I’m definitely a work-in-progress at best when it comes to ignoring that niggling voice in my head..:-)
I absolutely love this post! My newest friendships (especially some that I’ve made through this crazy blogging world) are some of my truest and, quite frankly, that surprises the heck out of me!!! Who knew? Thank you for sharing 🙂
Pretty flippin’ wonderful isn’t it!! 🙂
Funny…I have that same “little voice” in my head too! Great post.
Really? I never would have known..:-) Um, can I chat with that voice for a minute, please? Thanks – ok David, you can go away – just for a second – or stay, you won’t listen to me anyway..
Hey little voice? You’re in the wrong head. David is way more than good enough, and you know it. It’s not nice to screw around with someone like him. Could you please re-locate your mouth to another brain? Thanks. David? You can come back now.
Nope. Still whispering… 🙂
DO I NEED TO TALK LOUDER???
Don’t think so. I think a swing of a bat might do it.
There’s no way I’m going to hit your head with a bat – I reserve such measures for people I’ve actually met. Perhaps you could ask your son to do me a favor??? 🙂 Just kidding..
My dearest Mimi, I am touched beyond words to be included in your list of friends. You entered my life in the most serendipitous of ways and slipped right into the spot in my heart that’s always been waiting for you. 🙂 I have felt from the earliest days of our friendship that I have always known you–and what a gift is that?! You are a constant source of inspiration to me — your honesty, your candor, your compassion–are all things that I aspire to. You are a beautiful soul and I count myself fortunate beyond measure to have you in my life…. Xoxox
Oh now Lori…it’s early and I’m crying already and this makes two leaky days in a row. I proudly assume my place in your heart and promise to do my best to protect that space. It is true, I think we connected immediately – friends at first write (ok, that was kinda cute, no?)…I can’t imagine you aspiring to qualities which you already possess in multiples of multiples. People are drawn to you because of your generous heart, loving soul and abundant sensitivity. And I think there were friends that I needed that i didn’t even know I needed – and here you are. If that’s not a wow, I don’t know what is…xoxo