My Convertible Life

Monday, April 29, 2013

You're Supposed to Smile and Say "Thank You"

Compliments are tricky things, both to give and to receive.

Sometimes we put down ourselves as we lift up someone else -- if only I could be as talented as you. Often we deflect compliments -- this old thing? I got it on sale. Occasionally we give back-handed compliments -- you don't sweat much for a fat girl.

I find I'm better at giving them than accepting them. Not sure if it's a Southern thing or a female thing or just an insecurity thing -- but I always find it hard to just look the person in the eye and say, "Thank you." Thank you for noticing something nice about me and saying it out loud.

So reading my friend Marty's profile post about me as a cast member for the Raleigh-Durham Listen to Your Mother felt weird -- but also a little awesome.

Click to read her profile of me.

So thank you, Marty. Now I'll just be over in the corner blushing.

If you'd like to buy tickets to the show -- this Wednesday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Raleigh -- click here. And hurry -- there aren't many tickets left. Listen to Your Mother is a national series of live readings by local writers in celebration of Mother's Day. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Me, Only Louder With Friends

Some of you who read this blog have never met me outside the pages of the Internet, but many of you know me out in the real world in one way or another.

So when I found out I'd been selected for the cast of the Raleigh-Durham area Listen to Your Mother show, I felt a little weird about asking my friends to buy tickets to the show. Listen to Your Mother is a national series of live readings by local writers in celebration of Mother's Day -- this year launches the first show for Raleigh-Durham, one (okay, technically two, and actually lots more if you count Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Cary...) of 24 cities across the nation to participate for 2013.

Sure, the show is part of a cool national project -- but why would people who have to listen to me ramble for free want to pay money to listen to me read into a microphone?

Then I went to the first rehearsal for the show and heard the other 14 cast members share their stories about the good, bad and ugly in motherhood. And as I alternately laughed out loud and choked back tears, I lost any hesitation about publicizing this event.

I realize you probably don't know all 13 women and our lone brave man in the cast -- but you can meet them online now. Then buy your tickets to the show, where you'll spend a little over an hour feeling like you've just sat down for the most well-written coffee chat that you've even been to with your new crowd of favorite friends. Pinky promise, you won't be disappointed.

If you'd like to buy tickets to the show -- May 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Raleigh -- click here

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eye of the Beholder

Throughout my life, my mom has always told me that I'm pretty. That's a great thing for a girl's ego -- except that often my mother does it in the context of disparaging herself at the same time.

"I wish my hair were shiny and beautiful like yours -- mine is so gray and flat now."

"You have such a nice figure -- I can't wear dresses like that anymore."

"Your teeth are so straight and white -- I've always hated my teeth."

The truth is that my mom is pretty -- and I look a lot like her, so it must be true. She's also 28 years older than I am, so I have a bit of an advantage.

Her habit of putting herself down while simultaneously lifting me up always makes me self-conscious. It's not a competition, I want to tell her. We are always our own worst critics (see the latest from Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign for more on that one). We're both getting older and changing, but I like to believe that neither one of us looks our age.

Then I look at Pippi. And suddenly I see what my mom sees when she looks at me. She's perfect and gorgeous and way more amazing than I am -- but unlike me, she has always looked more like her dad than her mom.

Until today.

This afternoon, Pippi and I went to our favorite salon so that she could get a summer haircut and donate her beautiful, shiny, sun-streaked ponytail to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. As Stephanie snipped and trimmed a sassy little bob and Pippi winked and grinned at herself in the mirror, I watched my long-haired daughter start to look just a little like me for the first time.
Looking at her wearing my haircut -- and grinning from ear to ear -- made my heart melt just a little. When I texted pictures to my husband so he could see the new do, he texted back, "Beautiful! She looks like you now ;)" -- and that made me melt just a little bit more.

It's a funny thing about motherhood, how each stage makes me understand something about my own mother. I'm starting to get it, what she sees when she looks at me. When I look at Pippi, I know she's prettier than I am -- the difference is that she's already got such a big head (literally and figuratively), that I'll be keeping that opinion to myself.

Click here to see the 1977 photo of my mom and me in our matching (Dorothy Hamill) haircuts, along with photos of Pippi's first haircut.