grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

Reclaiming Me :: Mind/Body

on March 6, 2015

{Throughout 2015, one of the ways I’m going to overcome my Writing Laryngitis is to post about ways I’m Reclaiming Me :: Body, Mind, and Soul. Here’s a bit more of that Reclamation.}
<< Livestrong @ the Y // Week Five >>

Someone called me ma’am today.

At the gym.
AFTER I’d kicked butt on the elliptical and unleashed my inner Amazon Queen on four Leg Day stations.

After how hard I worked the previous hour, it was a little disorienting.

I was feeling like I’d just rocked it with my inner athlete.
The one who is frozen in time in my mind.
At around age 20.

So being called ma’am knocked me out of my self-congratulatory reverie.

Do I look so old that the default is ‘ma’am’?

I drove home in a bit of a stupor.

That hurt.
More than I’d like to admit.

I thought about it all morning.
Trying to pull apart why I felt so dejected.
Attempting to find a way to healthfully frame it.

And then I recognized that something else entirely was impacting the processing of that exchange.
Another layer to my reaction?
My birthday is coming up really quickly.
And I haven’t yet arrived at the place where each additional year is embraced with glee and gratitude.
(Is that a real place even? I’ll let you know…if and when I ever arrive there. *wink)

I mean, I love my birthday.
And thriving through a battle with cancer does afford one a deeper level of tender thanks with each passing year.
But c’mon, man…Ma’am??

The way I see it, I’m facing a tough, but clear, choice.
I can rage against the dying of the light.
Let that four letter word (ma’am) penetrate my heart and mind and lodge deep in a way that could potentially make everything – not just gym workouts – harder and more of a challenge.
Or I could smile at the passing of time and do my best to make friends with it.
Maybe acquaintance-level friends at first, but friends nonetheless.

Don’t we all have that choice?
Whether we’re excitedly grabbing hold of the fresh, new beginning stages of adulthood…
or realizing that we’ve reached the top of the proverbial hill and are falling…oops! I mean heading over it…
or gratefully acknowledging a long, fruitful life while desiring to live each moment to its fullest…

Do we rage or make friends?
Do we fight and fear or embrace and esteem?
(And does it cause anyone besides me a bit of a stomach ache to admit that the better choice – the one that holds the most potential peace and joy – is the hardest? It’s just you and me here — you can be honest.)

Because in theory, it doesn’t seem like much of a contest…rage and fight or make friends?
Who in their right mind would choose rage? fight? fear?
No one I know.
At least not in theory.

But I propose that we choose those darker views by default when we get tripped up by being called ma’am or…wait…what even IS the male equivalent of ‘ma’am’? Sir? I don’t know. But you get the point, right?

And I, for one, don’t want to live by default.
Let’s choose well and embrace the days.

Even if someone calls you ma’am.


4 responses to “Reclaiming Me :: Mind/Body

  1. Oh, this is good, Laura. Honestly, I just don’t know if young men know what to call us. We can’t be Sugar Pie, or honey. We are beyond Miss. The only other word they may know is Ma’am. Truth. And, maybe, Ma’am is a name we’ve earned, if we honor it as a woman with wisdom. 🙂

  2. Robin Smith says:

    Several friends and I were discussing lack of manners in young people the other day and how respectful acknowledgement of others is sorely lacking in society in general. I’m delighted when I hear the word, Ma’am because it denotes respect as well as showing some good, old-fashioned manners. Laura, feel honored and SHINE. xoxo

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