Stories about Words. (Aplomb)

I’ve been a lover of words since I can remember, especially when my father bought me my first dictionary when I was 10 years old. (Being 10 and randomly finding the definition for decade one day made things even sweeter.) Once in a while, I’ll tell you some memorable stories about my ongoing love affair with words.

Aplomb (noun) – complete and confident composure or self-assurance.

I was 17 years old. He sat behind me in our English class. Every day, while our teacher (who shared the same name with the leading actress from The Excorcist, a fact we discussed almost every day in light of her very uncheerful demeanor) lectured in front of the classroom, I felt tiny stings coming from the back of my head. You see, I began to gray when I was about 14 years old, an inheritance from my father, who began to gray when he was 20. Every day, he would gently pull out some of my gray hair. I rarely reacted to this tender assault to my scalp, being that 1) I wanted them out of there, as well, and didn’t fully believe that when one came out, 100 replaced it; 2) I kind of liked the feeling, because I’m a weirdo; and 3) this had been happening since I was 14 years old, random kids behind me in class pulling out my gray hair.

Eventually, we began to have intriguing conversations in class when our crazy teacher allowed us to discuss a novel or something else we were reading. With his bright blue eyes gleaming, he asked if I felt him pulling my hair. I said yes. You never react, he said. No need, I replied, smiling. A few weeks later, he said the following: “You have such aplomb. I love that about you.” I remember replying, I’m a ploom? Aplomb, he repeated, laughing. “You’re so poised. You never react.”

Later, I looked up the word in the dictionary and smiled at his mispronunciation (I’m really a plum, not a ploom), and at the compliment itself. If only he knew the complete lack of self-assurance I felt most of the time, the teenaged/puberty/girl storm raging inside of me. Nevertheless, it gave me a warm feeling to know that he thought I had poise. We were already becoming fast friends–I loved his quirky personality, his brilliant mind, and those eyes–but that word seemed to make him even cooler.

Alas, people drift apart after high school. Last I heard, he’s an attorney living on the West Coast. If we saw each other now, I’d ask whether those court cases are being argued with aplomb. And then I’d gently yank any gray hairs I find on his big head.

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Weekend Vignettes.

I went to NYC this weekend, on a Saturday and back on a Saturday, and visited the Met museum.

I met a man who wore humility like a coat. It was refreshing.

I froze in NYC and was reminded of my very strong feelings about the city.

I said my peace.

I think I’m getting sick.

I won’t go Negative Nancy on you.

Just know that NYC is the pits. (Oh, but NN strikes again…)

If anyone is wondering, I would very much like to eat, sleep, and breathe in a museum. You’ll find me under a Rembrandt.

How was your weekend? Any vignettes you’d like to share?

Fabu Fashion Thursday (aka Quick Bathroom Selfies)

Because I thought today was Thursday, I decided to use my brain freeze (seriously, I believed it was Friday with all my heart) to my blogging advantage. New feature: every Thursday, I’ll post pics of what I’m wearing. Viva brain freeze fashion! I do it for you, don’t you know?

Below are a few pics of my OOTD; details are further below:

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Dress is a cute sweater dress I found at Dress Barn. DB tends to sometimes skew to the more mature lady, but with diligence, you can find snazzy, age-appropriate garb.

Light gray sweater is from Ross. Speaking of diligence, it takes a lot of that to find neat things at Ross. But you can do it, if you try.

Red tights are from Wal-Mart. It’s my least favorite place in the world, Wally World, but those tights had me seeing red, in a good way.

Silver necklace from Target, I think.

And your standard black, I’ve-owned-them-for-so-long winter boots.

Fancy, huh? What are you wearing today?

she who has bloomed.

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I used to bristle when folks called me a late bloomer. (Those folks being my bestie, whom you’ll hear about often, and my mama, whom you’ll hear about often.) There was something condescending and juvenile about it, as if I hadn’t grown up yet.

The online definition I found for late bloomer is “a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual.” I like that, don’t you? No juvenility or stunted growth to be found.

Nevertheless, my blooming was a bit different. It wasn’t that my talents and capabilities became visible to others at a later time. I can honestly say that the important people in my life have always been pretty communicative about things like writing and what I can do. Major cheerleader action, thankfully. But those talents and capabilities were never visible to me.

I didn’t buy it. I was waiting for the Carrie-like bucket of yuckness to fall when people gave me compliments. I thought my writing was sub-par, that my strengths weren’t strengths at all, another blip on the screen of life. Lack of self-esteem was certainly the culprit here, combined with a long-held belief that those cheerleaders had something sinister up their sleeves. (It’s usually the forcible harvesting of my kidneys. Don’t ask. I watch too much Law and Order.)

Things change, though.

Women who are not yet 30 and reading this, embrace what is coming. I bloomed at 30. Something happened that day. I woke up and began to fall in love with myself, my writing, my mind, my capabilities, my body. There’s always, always room for improvement. I accept that. But I blooooomed. And five years later, the process continues.

“You’re a late bloomer.” Yep, sure am.