In the spring of 2009, I began my new life as a single woman. Not only did I have to learn how to be single and on my own, but I also had to get my head screwed on straight. Both involved some effort.
I think, when relationships are going badly, that women have a tendency to try to own the entire problem and I was certainly guilty of that. I felt like a TOTAL failure as a woman, a wife, a person and would beat myself up mentally with “if only I had been more _______ then the man that I loved would have not wanted to divorce me.” The blank line could be filled in with words such as “more understanding…. more supportive …. more attractive …. more etc.”
But I viewed myself as a LOSER.
What I have realized since then is that I had spent much of my life basing my value/my personal worth on “who He was” or “who We were” and had not realized the value of “Who I Was”. This is not to imply some narcissistic thought or imply that realizing my value made me think I was the center of the universe.
But what I have finally learned is that I do have value……I do have something to “bring to the table”. Up until then, my self concept merely said I was lucky to be allowed to sit at the table.
I am much wiser now and realize how damaging those thoughts were.
But in spite of lacking some wisdom about my value, I was at least smart enough to know that I needed to do everything I could to build back my esteem…. to give me back my sense of self worth.
One step I decided to take was to clean out my closet and to assess my wardrobe. Whether it is correct or not, a woman can allow her appearance to control her thoughts about herself and her worth. (I will not argue the truth/wisdom of such—will leave that up to Oprah.)
But for me, I knew that I needed to make certain that I felt good about how I looked. I needed to get rid of clothes that I was not wearing or things I did not like. But how do I determine that?
Being a techie woman, I decided to Google “How to clean out your closet”. There were all sorts of tips and I tried to wade through them. One site suggested you ask yourself some questions such as:
“Have I worn this in the last year?” Hmmmm…..that is a valid question but as I cannot tell you what I wore yesterday or last week, how would I ever remember if I wore it in the last year?
“Do I feel good in this?” Hmmmm…..define “good” as in “awesome good” or “good enough” or “good for a loser?” It was just too vague and also feeling good is balanced by the next unspoken question that could skew the answer which is “am I having a good or bad hair day?”
“If I didn’t feel guilty for some reason, would I be hanging onto this?” Hmmm, as in I paid a LOT of money for this and surely one day I will be invited to a White House dinner reception and I can wear it THEN so I better hang on to this.
The questions I found or “criteria” were not helpful enough. I needed something that would make me be brutal in this assessment….that would leave no doubt as to whether or not to ditch that skirt/blouse/etc. No wishy-washiness would be allowed. None…it was either love it or get rid of it.
So, after much thought, I determined my own personal criteria/question to ask. Once that was settled, I hunkered down one Saturday afternoon in my bedroom—with a bottle of a nice chilled Chardonnay; some cheese and crackers and I opened my I-Touch Playlist (Janet Power Songs) that had some fabulous music such as Tina Turner’s You Better Be Good to Me and Aretha’s Respect and so forth. I put on each outfit/blouse/skirt and stood in front of the mirror and asked this critical question:
“If Sean Connery called me up and asked me out on a date, would I wear this?”
A bit of clarification—One: I am speaking of Sean Connery when he was in the movie The Rock— the combination of the wet suit, the scruffy look, and that Scottish accent…ahhhhhhh… oh, be still my heart.
Two: the date could be fancy (go to the Georgian Club and have a martini and have dinner overlooking the Atlanta skyline) or it could be a picnic with sweet tea, KFC, ‘tater salad, and chocolate chip cookies (store bought of course). No matter how dressy or casual the outfit, it had to be worthy of Sean.
Well, by the end of the afternoon and after several glasses of wine and listening to my Power music and asking THE question, I had a very large pile of clothes to go to the Salvation Army and a very small pile of “Sean” clothes……..which meant I needed to go shopping.
Over the last 3 years I have added bit by bit to my wardrobe and the Sean question is always asked when shopping. If I find myself thinking that the outfit is “practical” or that shirt would “go with everything” but I am not mentioning Sean, it goes back on the rack. Up until recently this has worked very nicely.
But I have received some bad news. I was at a meeting with a good friend of mine, Robin Bishop, and she informed me that she has seen a picture of Sean recently and he is aging and I need to dump Sean for someone else. I immediately went home and Googled Sean to check out his photos.
Aughggggghgh……Sean is 80+ years old. (WHAT WAS I THINKING?) And he IS aging. I am now concerned that if Sean called me up for a date that it would be to go to the Piccadilly Cafeteria or the early bird special at Red Lobster. Eeewwwww—time for a change.
So, last weekend I googled “Actors who are 60” or some such. Being 61, I was trying to find someone in the near vicinity of my age. I was quite discouraged… some of them are not lookin’ so good and I would not want to use them as criteria. Or, they are 50 years old…….do not want to go there either.
My son Chris has given me some suggestions in the past. That is not the sort of conversation I know a mother would normally have with her son but I made the mistake one night after I had seen a video link he sent me of Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder……I made the mistake of telling Chris that I thought Eddie Vedder was kind of cute and Chris immediately emailed me back that I did not need to mess with his rock stars and I should look instead at George Clooney or Pierce Bronson. (Note to Chris: I still think Eddie is cute…. too young but cute.)
George Clooney? Hmmm—no—he is just too smooth for me.
Pierce Bronson? Hmmm—not too bad and has an accent but he is also aging a bit. (Of course, you realize that I am not—I choose to ignore those Crows Feet that look like small craters around my eyes and my drooping chin/neck.)
So, I checked out some of the others….. Bruce Willis (I do like his smile) and Ed Harris (but he looks a little stern) and Liam Neeson is pretty darn awesome (but I have a hard time pronouncing his name.)
But I finally came up with the perfect man for my new criteria.
The winner is Mark Harmon who plays Leroy “Jethro” Gibbs on NCIS. Great smile—cute eyes—has a sense of humor but seems a bit laid back and from what I can tell from photos—aging very nicely.
So move over Sean—time for Mark Harmon.
However I also need to go on record that if I ever wanted a younger man to be the man in the criteria question….then it would have to be Jon Bon Jovi……as in Living on a Prayer! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzpEl_HLEqk&feature=related) (Side note: the drummer in the video is not too bad either.)
With that in mind, perhaps I need to go shopping this weekend. I am sure Mark (or Jon) would like me to have a new fall outfit ready when he calls.