Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ode to Mrs. P.

I wouldn't say that I know Mrs. P. well.  But, I have known her for over 14 years, worked with her on community projects, and waved hello at least weekly.  She has always been incredibly nice and supportive of me, and even more so of my daughter.  I always thought of her as a good deal older than myself, but looking at things now, noting the age of her child, I realize she is probably very near my age, if older at all.  She just always seemed...well, matronly.  Her hair was always "done" in  a "set".  Or else, she was lamenting about how bad it looked, because she hadn't had a chance to roll it.  She has always been so supportive of my running, but when I would stop to chat as she piddled about in her yard, she would recall how she used to love running, but could no longer do such things because she had a knee injury (Which was real and significant, she had to have several surgeries to repair it.) and had "gained all this weight".  Her comments were always kind to others, but unfailingly self-critical.  I am extremely uncomfortable with self-deprecating comments and humor.  I have never found them funny.  Heavy comedians with "fat jokes".  Not funny.  Just disconcerting.  What are you to do when someone tells you they can't run because they are too fat?  Answer, "Well, that's for sure!"  Or lie, in the face of the obvious, "Oh, no!  You're just fine!"  Both seem grossly inappropriate.  So...I never knew what to say.  But, I knew exactly what I wanted.  I wanted Mrs. P. to be the person SHE wanted to be.  Whoever that was.  A person who may have weighed a bit too much and did little odd jobs in her yard with her hair "done".  A person who was active and participated in outdoor activities that she seemed so wistful for.  Either way, a woman who was proud and accepting of who she was.  But, how do you say that? How do you give that to someone?  How do you gain that for yourself?

Not long ago, I was returning to my neighborhood after a run, and was passed by a grey convertible, top down, nice looking lady with hair flying in the breeze driving, with a huge smile and big wave.  Who in the world?  That looked like Mrs. P.!!!  Sure, enough, as I turned down the street, there it was, the convertible, parked in her drive.  Later, I spoke with her briefly as she worked among the flowers in her yard. Slim and trim.  Younger.  Cheerful.  Happy.  No self-deprecating comments today.

Her transformation makes me smile each time I pass her house, no matter if I see her or not.  You GO, Mrs. P!!!!  Let your hair and your freak flag fly!  You are wonderful and I'm glad you know it!!!

So, for the rest of us:
Live like Mrs. P...let the top down...enjoy the breeze...let YOUR freak flag fly!-c

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