Awards, Week Thirteen in the New Normal

Though award shows don’t hold the same cache as they did in my childhood, this weekend is the Academy Awards.  Fraught with politics and self-promotion, the awards have lost some of their shimmer.  Yet, while growing up I wrote and rewrote my acceptance speeches.  It was my fantasy of ultimate success.  If I felt insignificant or hurt, my bright future would prove to the world I was somebody.  My bullies would see I was special.  That was my secret revenge.  

I can tell you that the bullies probably don’t remember me, even though that cruelty is etched in every child who was ever bullied.  Children who’ve been bullied often have a significant fantasy life.  Mine, like a cliché, was a girl singing show tunes into my brush handle in front of the mirror.  Thank goodness for my RCA portable record player.  It got me through some rough school years.  

Now, I’m ages away from those award-winning dreams.  But I do find something meaningful in rewarding ourselves for the wins in our lives.  And even if it’s not a public speech, acknowledging those who have been supportive are important to recognize, too.  We enjoy celebrations during our milestones, like graduations and special birthdays.  Perhaps we can find a way to receive an award when we go above and beyond, instituting courage to gain a win.  It can be small.  It’s simply a nod for our personal wins.  We can get stickers, or a new kitchen utensil.  Calling a friend and sharing in our happiness multiplies the joy.  It gives us a chance to say we matter.  And we do.  

If you choose to watch Wanda Sykes, Regina Hall and Amy Schumer host this year’s Oscars, have fun. Perhaps enjoying the show can be a reward in itself.  If I can stay up I will think of my younger self.  Though now I have little interest in a red carpet, I’m simply satisfied to watch from my living room chair.  

Self-Care Tips:

  • Write a list of what you’ve accomplished, big and small, this week.  Draw a star or a symbol next to each to congratulate yourself for a job well-done.  
  • Create a thank you speech for those who have been good to you over the years.  If possible, send them the written speech so they can know they made a difference.  
  • Don’t forget to put on some music and do a happy dance.  If you want to do that in front of the mirror, go for it.  

Popularity Contest, Week 22 in the Time of Transition

Over fifteen years ago I organized a networking event for psychotherapists and others in related fields.  I hosted it in my office garden and prepared a beautiful buffet of crudité and homemade dips and finger food.  I received a lot of maybes, and about fifteen said they would attend.  Of course, I over-estimated and prepared too much food.  In the end I had five guests, two just stopped by.  

It was an intimate event. The four of us were able to appreciate and understand what each of us offered clients, and it ended on a positive note. However, I was mortified that more people didn’t come.  I was embarrassed for myself, and felt I let my colleagues down.  It was challenging to stay focused with the other women who came. Instead I spent too much energy  focusing on who wasn’t there.  

It harkened back to parties in elementary school and junior high to which I was never invited.  Or times when the red rope was not unhooked for me at Studio 54 and the Palladium.  The rejection felt personal.  I was not one of the chosen ones.  

Since those times I realize I do better in small groups or one on one.  I get too distracted at large parties.  Yet, as I currently work on a book, mostly on odd weekends, I have been told by so many that I need a platform.  That means that I must amass followers and readers.  I always feel awkward when asking for others to read my work.  Larry, my husband, may be the exception. 

I like writing, but I don’t like marketing for myself.  It feels too much like my 10-year-old-self asking to be liked.  No, thank you.  I will continue to create this book on getting through difficult times with self-care tips, slowly and painstakingly.  I don’t know that I’ll get an agent or get it published. Nonetheless, I will proceed, trusting that I don’t need to be someone I’m not just to be popular.  It is not in my best interest to consider numbers rather than you, dear reader.   

Self-care Tips:

  • Affirm that you are enough.  Write “I Am Enough” on post-its and place one on a corner of your bathroom mirror, and other places you  view daily (inside a drawer, on your refrigerator door, etc.)
  • Learn a new song.  It can be easier to remember things put to music.  So learning a new song is a great way to exercise your brain.  
  • Remind yourself that bigger is not necessarily better.  When plans change and you have a smaller event (as in these past 18 months) find the sweetness in the intimacy of the experience.  

Something for Nothing

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I am easily seduced. Obtaining a bargain, or being given the possibility to win something is an easy hook. But now, after years of winning nothing of substance, I am on email lists for any number of companies who want my business. Most of the emails get deleted without a second glance. On the one hand, I have a Pollyanna view of life, hopeful that things will turn out. On the other hand, I’m a sucker. I want something for nothing. And the something I get is an overabundance of emails luring me to go on vacations, acquire luxury products, or donate to another crowd-funding start-up.

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This is nothing new. My father has always loved a good deal. He chose his present home, a two-story town house in an over-50 community because it was priced to sell. A Pollyanna himself, he didn’t figure in stairs as a deterrent for a couple in their 80s. While growing up he always brought home dented appliances because of their low price tag, while my mother scoffed at the impaired item. No matter how much my mother begged him to buy at a regular store, he couldn’t stop himself from scouring the off-brand warehouses popular in the 60s & 70s.

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And, so, in my father’s footsteps I get excited when I see that I could win a trip to Tahiti, or win a shopping spree on a site that probably doesn’t accommodate for my curves or my age. I did stop myself from purchasing a membership to the Oprah Club. The ad promised free give-aways and deep discounts. As much as I love to get something for free, I decided that the price of the club wasn’t worth it.

Nonetheless, I have spent more time than I’d like to admit filling out surveys for a chance to be entered into a special drawing for one thing or another. I did win a free bag and a $25 gift card to Trader Joes once. But it wasn’t because I entered anything, I merely brought my own bags for shopping and was entered into their drawing. I like Trader Joe’s because they always have great prices even though it’s not a discount store. And, since I always bring my own bags for shopping, I can enter the drawing with the hope of winning another $25 gift card.

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But no more online contests. Luckily my Dad doesn’t own a computer. So my parents dodged this bullet.   And now now I’m spending my time unsubscribing from email lists. I don’t want the temptation of a big win to get in the way of living my life. My time is dear. I can use it enjoying what I already have.