“You have inspired me!”
She said the magic words. I was feeling a bit discouraged about my “reach”. I had been wondering if anybody cared about my message. I received an email from a woman whom I know only slightly. She wrote those words to me. “YOU have inspired me!” which encouraged me to keep going. When someone says “you inspired me” or variations on that theme, it warms my heart. Some women have even said, “You changed my life.” Those are the words for which I live. And there are so many women whom I wish I could reach.
Yesterday on a visit to Michaels (the craft store), and when leaving the store, I noticed a woman entering. (Noticeable because she needs to read my book!) She was a trim little woman with a grey bobbed haircut and a grey sweater that matched her hair. Her head was down, and she looked defeated, and to most people, she would have been invisible. That is what happens to older women if we are not careful. Don’t let it happen to you. We become invisible. But we don’t have to. Not all women are invisible. You need a plan, and you need to do the work. But it takes focus.
Years ago, I was visiting my Mother in her home in Newport. She was probably 70 or so years old at the time. She asked me which dress she should wear to a party we were going to that evening. In front of her were three dresses, all different pastel shades. One was dusty pink, one was turquoise, and the other was lavender. They had ruffles and tucks and sashes and puffed sleeves and looked like prom dresses to me. I tend to be more tailored in my dress than she was with all those ruffles.
So I said, “Mother, don’t you think those dresses are a bit ‘young’ for you?” And she looked at me with real surprise in her eyes and said, “No.”
It was so obvious to me that she thought this was a silly thing to say that I immediately quit. And it occurred to me that her ‘style’ was precisely this sort of dress. It was no surprise; she always loved ruffles. She always loved pastels. She saw no reason to modify that mode of dress for any reason, especially NOT age.
She continued to dress that way right up to the end at the age of 101. She never stopped wearing colors. When she died, she only had one pair of black pants hanging in her closet. And they were dress-pants to be worn with spangled, bright tops. Read about her wardrobe here.
I wish I could tell every one of you, especially if you are a single woman, to pick some signature things. Wear them all the time. Focus on them, perhaps a single color or a style of clothing that can become your signature. Look for some unique element which in some way makes you stand out from the crowd. It will make you feel so much better to be “seen” again. And it is useful because it helps you get attention in stores and especially places which cater mostly to men.
When I first moved to Charlottesville in 2008, I went to Best Buy to purchase a new computer. I could NOT get the attention of a salesman. Being ignored was NOTICEABLE. Because I really tried to get their attention. It simply felt as if I was invisible. Around that time, I realized that older women could not depend on their intellect or purpose to get attention. We must fend for ourselves. I have discovered that for me, SPARKLE is very effective. People who sparkle get noticed even by bored salesmen.
How can you begin to sparkle? What can you personally do to improve your noticeability? Do NOT fade into the shadows! Shine and Sparkle!
I am on a mission to make women understand how to sparkle. Thereby making themselves feel Sparkly!!!
Copyright©. 2020 Bonnie B. Matheson