I have a brilliant and talented friend named Kristie.
She was a year ahead of me in college. She and I lived in the same house, and had the same major (English Language & Literature).
She went on to get a masters from Harvard and then became a high school English teacher that I would love to have my daughter study with.
I went on to become . . . well, me.
Just a short time ago, Kristie made her first venture into the world of blogging (she blames me for this). Her first post at Schmidtty First Drafts reveals her wit and way with words. Her second post, entitled “Not Yet, Boba Fett” shares an honest look at the challenges many people, especially women, face as we enter that bizarre between time known as midlife. Her post inspired this post. I would love for you to pop over and read Kristie’s post before continuing with this one, but in case you don’t, she writes about a scene in Postcards from the Edge where Shirley Maclaine, dressed in a glittery red-outfit performs the song “I’m Still Here” at a party that was supposed to celebrate her daughter. Kristie writes:
“As I enter midlife, my disdain for Maclaine’s poorly timed and skewed self affirmation has tempered and transformed. In a culture that devalues those growing older, especially women, her declaration now seems about so much more than simply shouting “Look at me. I need attention right now.” It serves as a siren call, one beckoning us to look first at ourselves. In my midlife world this necessitates a temporal exploration. Who was I? Who am I? Who do I now want to be? That confident (though sometimes needy and sometimes selfish) bravura woman in red, where did she go? Because she existed.”
In some ways, I’ve always been the lady in red. Although, just as often I might be the lady in purple or hot pink or some other bright color that says “Look at me, I’m here.”
While this isn’t really about the color of my clothes, there is a pattern to how I wear clothing. When I most want to hide, or feel down on myself, I wear grays, blacks, neutrals. When I need a confidence boost, or when I have to make some kind of presentation, I’ll either where a professional looking black or the bright reds and purples of a woman who wants to be seen. This doesn’t mean I want or need to be the center of attention, its more like a statement that “I am here and what I say matters.”
Too often in my life I’ve felt invisible and unheard. Yet, the lady in red always wanted to come out. She wanted to sing to the world “I’m alive and full of fun and fabulous ideas!” So I added color to my wardrobe, and began to find ways to be heard,
Except when I wasn’t.
Now, like Kristie, I’m not willing to simply fade into the background as I enter midlife. I’m not willing to disappear as wrinkles and gray hair begin to make their presence known. I’m not willing to accept the status quo. I intend to create a path into the future filled with passion, ambition, adventure and possibility.
I plan to wear a lot of red (or purple, green, yellow, and maybe even orange) while doing it.