July 24, 2011

Dearest Lady (a cyber letter).

For the polite reason that dictates life, you asking permission to join my table, I shared lunches with you. I said nothing while you explained, very much unprompted, the make-over you had in store for me - because I have such a pretty face.

You suggest a diet, a trope that is recurring in your discourse. In fact, you have followed my weight fluctuations with greater ardour than I ever could muster. Yesterday, you insisted several times, that – grey hair makes me look old and dreary.

My dear lady, you have the spirit of an old aunt, and I was taught to respect my elders.

I have subtly tried to indicate to you that you are being beyond inappropriate, and what is the greater offence, deadly boring. Changed the subject, smiled feebly, and vehemently explained that I like how I am, to no avail.

So, dear lady, and others in this category, I do have something to say to you.

I have lived in different countries, speak their languages, and have managed to learn good lessons from all these places. I travel to countries you do not know exist. I feel passionate about what I do, grateful that people recommend me as a knowledgeable and reliable professional. I am lucky to have access to a wealth of untapped information that reveal individuals struggling with their creative process, their place in the world, the righteousness of their quests – showing me that these essential questions are truly timeless. How comforting to know we are not alone.

I have had the pleasure of being told that I made a difference in the way people see the world. But more importantly, I have had the true delight of telling people that they have changed the way that I see the world, in the way that I love, and work. I work sufficiently hard to ensure that the only reason I will ever need a man is to love and encourage me, not to pay for my face lifts.

I have had the great luck of meeting people with extraordinary stories – some were accidental encounters, all were engaged with the world around them. I also was able to meet and, in some cases, befriend, writers, poets, academics, community leaders, in museums, at university, at friends’ houses, on the street. These were people who took time out of their lives to show me other ways to live, other ways to think, who inspired me by their own willingness to risk the opprobrium of people like you, by exposing themselves, their doubts and their quests, to the world.

I crossed paths with people who are authorities in their fields – most of them true humanists, completely unpretentious; generous with the information they had, absolutely aware that the only knowledge worth having is the one that you share. From meeting them I carry the responsibility of passing on not only their information, but their way of treating it, to others.

The people who truly enrich us are Linux, not Vista. Which one do you think you are?!

I have been flirted with, desired, loved, and made love to by men who were taken by who I am. I can't tell you what their feelings were about my hair, or my weight, as we had other things to talk about. If life only were that simple.

And let me tell you about the women I admire – they are of varying ages, from many places, some are in relationships, some aren’t, some are incredibly stylish, some make me look like Coco Chanel in comparison, some have high power jobs, some just have jobs. Some of them don’t even get along with each other. In common they share a joy for life, creativity for what life throws at them, thirst for new experiences, a sense of loyalty and propriety towards, and unconditional love for, their friends. These women inspire me in the way they live their lives, not in the awesome way in which they coordinate a $500 belt and shoes.

Do you realize how silly your views on my hard earned grey strands of hair sound just about now?

Oh, make no mistake, I love clothes, shoes, and fashion magazines. Although the time I spend on these issues accounts for very little of my time. And never would I dream of, unprompted, informing others of the makeover plans I have for them.

And, what shocks me more, is the waste of time - why don't you tell me about a film, book, documentary, or exhibition that has touched you, changed you, inspired you? I am yet to have a good conversation about the Great Meaulnes, Lady Chatterley, or Glee!

Well then, what I really want to ask is, who the %#@* do you think you are?  I will not.  This being a polite blog, my words would have meant that I was being rude, an occurrence which, by the laws of this blog, void any just claim I would have.

Besides a taste for coffee we have nothing in common. None of your core values correspond to mine. For some hidden reason or insecurity, you have been rude, disrespectful, and insensitive. And, in another demonstration of how truly different we are, you took my polite silence as agreement with your ‘wisdom’.

Unbelievable as it may seem to you, I am well-rounded in more ways than one. I am proud of what I have achieved, relieved that I rely on no man to pay my way, beyond grateful for my friends and mentors, and I look forward excitedly to what lies ahead. Being grey haired doesn’t even compute (go figure! no pun intented).

So, dearest lady, should you be willing to listen to one of the lessons I have learned from others at such a late stage in your life, here goes: if you have nothing pleasant to say, say nothing at all.

à votre santé


Ms. Edna (squared) said...

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