Today my area is basking in a break in the weather. No snow, a brilliant and beautiful sun, and a temperature of 37 f. The snow is melting, sidewalks drying, and my street, well, as you can see still a bit dicey but with completely dry main roads. With more doom and gloom being forecast for the rest of the week, I decided I must take advantage and air myself out this afternoon.
Now, normally I take full advantage of my time outside to enjoy watching squirrels and birds, and just to enjoy my environment. (and occasionally make a grocery list in my head). Today, a long lost memory popped into my head. It was swirly and unfocused, but after a bit of effort, I managed to reel the moment into view:
When I was in junior high/middle school, my family moved to Colorado. The school I attended was huge and new and wonderful. (I had come from a very narrow place. The elementary school I had attended was small – in every aspect of that word. I, and many others, were often bullied.) One wintery Monday morning, two blonde girls, (sisters, close in age but perhaps twins? still fuzzy…), were in the hallway with the oddest sunburns I’d ever seen. They saw me looking and gave me that sort of half smile and nod that you give when you pass someone you don’t know. That was surprising because these were Very Popular Girls. ( I asked my friend about the sunburns. ‘They go skiing almost every weekend.’ Ah. the white marks were goggles. got it. )
Sure, I had seen These Girls before, but never really thought twice about them. This time, they stayed in my mind. Popular yet they acknowledged my existence – unheard of in my prior experience. I remember I looked at them hard – not nasty not mean – but just, well baffled. Why were they The Very Popular Girls? They were cute enough, had The Look going on, good but not great grades, in short, once dissected, the sisters were a bit average. But then I got it. It was just them. An inner confidence, a strength, a poise, character, that comes from simple, fundamental self respect.
On my walk today, I remembered those girls. The dignity they possessed that belied their ages. Clearly, today I needed a reminder of the lesson I learned all those years ago. Yes, now is the time to strengthen from the inside out. And to be grateful. As for the sisters? I wonder what happened to them? I don’t remember their names. Hmm… the memory is again fading… Well. Wherever they are – I wish them well.