Am I Really Hugging Myself…Then Throwing Up in My Mouth a Little?

Vday Paula Dean

It has been said on more than one occasion, I am too hard on myself. I downplay my life’s achievements (too boastful), I envy other’s smooth skin (too old), I judge my hair (must I always look like Drew Barrymore from the movie Firestarter?), and God forbid you give me a compliment (Oh, it’s just these pants that make me look thin. I’m actually very bloated from eating all those spicy peanuts.).

Good Morning America.

Good Morning America.

I am not alone.

While this phenomenon seems to mainly circle around women, I am going to direct this question to all human kind: How did we learn to be so mean to ourselves?

My brain's playlist.

My brain’s playlist.

While we definitely need to be kinder to ourselves and proud of who we are, please don’t go 180 degrees in the opposite direction. You don’t want to be the Kardashian of constant selfies and posts stating, “I totally dominate this bathing suit!!” or, “I could so rule this African pygmy tribe.”



Maybe that’s too confident. And by too confident, I mean maybe that person should not speak. Out loud.

Nope, I’m talking about giving ourselves a break. Which apparently is a very difficult thing to do.

Somewhere along the line, we were conditioned to be embarrassed of ourselves. To hide our talents and gifts, and say things like, “Oh, that’s okay. I’ll volunteer/bake nine hundred Bundt cakes/take on forty extra clients to pick up the slack.”

No. It is not okay.

We can sit here for years discussing where the beat down came from. Parents? Childhood bullies? Mean teachers? The list and therapy sessions could be endless. Bottom line – we got here and we need to get out of here.

So during this season of icky, gooey, sugar-betes love sonnets, maybe we focus inward instead of outward.

When someone compliments your outfit, just say “Thank you.” When you start comparing yourself to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, just stop. Most of society doesn’t look like that. When you beat yourself up for driving through Church’s Chicken for dinner, instead of planning an organic meal, give yourself a break…then call me because I really love fried chicken. And when someone asks you about your recent job promotion, prize winning peach pie, or how you find time to make stylish clothes for your children, tell them all about it. Your efforts earned those achievements, be proud of who you are.

So good.

So good.

Then seriously call me. I wasn’t kidding about the fried chicken.



Photos courtesy of:

Paula Dean –

Drew Barrymore in FIRESTARTER –

Mean Girls –

Selfie –

Fried Chicken –








Am I Really Letting the Hem Out on My Mini-Skirt?

Old People Dancing

The other night, I was rehearsing with my new improv troupe. We were sharing 5 Fun Facts about us. Along with my affinity for metal bands and the city of Boston, I mentioned I have an eight year old daughter.

A collective gasp came from the room.

Of course most of the group is still in college. So there’s that.

            Hmm, I thought. Which one of these is not like the other one?

This reaction seemed odd, because in my head, not much has changed since the eighth grade. I think the same, view the world through the same eyes, and I am the same height.

Except my age. Somehow, I got older while my mind stayed the same. How did that happen?

When around younger people, there are some behaviors which make me hyper aware of my age gap. Since I am big on super sexy lists, and buy super sexy I mean OCD, I’d like to share with you all the things which bring to light how I am no longer twenty:

  1. Smart Phone Addiction. Honestly, I could give a rat’s ass about being on my phone all the time or Snapchat. I just don’t care. Here’s the irony: if you are a person trying to move forward in this life, you have to be on social media, constantly culling for followers, posting witty things, and being edgy. I just don’t have it in me. I post when I feel like it, but would rather watch the sun set.

    What the age gap feels like.

    What the age gap feels like.

  2. Hygiene. Sometimes I just want to run a brush through a young twenty-something’s hair, and not in the sexy SkinaMax way. I sound more like the old Mrs. Wisenceck down at the bakery when I see an “earthy” young person, “You have such a pretty face. Why do you hide it with unclean hair? Here, take this kolache, you are too skinny.”

    This makes me want to stand up and brush someone's hair.

    This makes me want to stand up and brush someone’s hair.

  3. Sitting Down. I have actually muttered the words, “I can’t wait to sit down.” Who knew sitting down was something to look forward to? Here’s the kicker, after sitting down for a while, the words, “I need to stand up and walk around,” fly out of my mouth. I’m like a Selena Gomez /Justin Bieber relationship. Fickle.
  4. Health. I am a crap-ton (yes, this is a measureable amount) more concerned about my health today than I was twenty years ago. I have always been a physical person and a healthy eater, but nothing makes you think about your own mortality than a couple of health scares. You have one body. Take care of it.

    Wrong kind of crow's feet.

    Wrong kind of crow’s feet.

  5. A Sense of Urgency. When I was twenty, I felt like I had all the time in the world. I did. Now there is this sense to do more and leave my stamp on the world. I now understand the full voracity of the quote, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” We only get so many days on this earth. I don’t know my number, so I better not eff them up.
  6. Asking for a shawl when chilly, falling asleep anywhere, and eating dinner where I can get a discount. I have done all of these. Sometimes all at the same time.
  7. Going Out Just Because. I’m social, but the thought of putting on lipstick and listening to Jim from Finance talk about the conga line from his recent Carnival Cruise is just too much. I used to live for this nonsense just to get “out.”
  8. Emotional Outbursts. I wish I could say I am totally past these, but my hormones are going berserk, so no. However, this emotional rite of passage needs to stay. How else can you get to the other side of the bridge? There are pills for that over here.
  9. I Don’t Get the Show GIRLS. I have watched this show and it is so well written and acted. Lena Dunham has done a good thing here and I have much admiration for her. But my old ass just can’t identify with it. I usually end up falling asleep about twenty minutes in. Probably because I am sitting down…with a shawl.

    Sorry Girls.

    Sorry Girls.

  10. Late Nights. These are fun every once in a while, but my next day is wrecked. Plus, I can’t sleep until 2 p.m. anymore. I like the TODAY show too much to miss it.

I would be lying if I say I don’t miss my youthful, collagen-filled skin. I would be remiss in saying it doesn’t bother me that I have to fill out extra forms at the doctor’s office because I am of that age now. It would be a charade to think I don’t miss people calling me Miss, and now call me Ma’am.

But am I ashamed of my age? Nope.

I think I’m lucky.

I have been lucky enough to listen and dance to good music. I’ve been in love. I’ve had my heart broken. I’ve been so excited I have nearly peed my pants. I have laughed so hard I have nearly peed my pants. I have been able to buy new pants. I have struggled financially. I’ve had sex (let’s hope more than a twenty year old). I have known what it’s like to carry a child and hold her in my arms. I have lived all over the country. I have learned not to give a damn about some things and care more about others. I have made mistakes. I will continue to make more.

So if you ask if I am sad or embarrassed about my age, I will say no. Look at all this cool stuff I’ve been lucky enough to experience – for all these years. I can’t wait to get more of it.

Especially if it involves laughing so hard I pee my pants a little. That’s how I got my crow’s feet.


Photos Courtesy of:

Old People Dancing Cartoon –

People on scooters –

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber:

Black Crow –