I remember the day before the pandemic.
She was in her mid-80’s, was wearing beige slacks, beige top and black jacket
with a black purse and black shoes
and looking at summer tops and slacks.
The clothing she was looking at?
Black sweater, beige slacks, black top.
I could “see” her in lovely pastels, but all she was looking at was
… more of the same black and beige.
I quietly asked “What do you think of this colour?”
Her reply – “So lovely for you, dear. But not for me.”
She had given me an opening – and so I gently asked – “Why not?”
Her reply – “I’m old.”
I picked up two pastel tops – a lilac and a peach and asked her to come with me to the mirror.
I think she thought I was going to try them on and wanted her opinion.
She was half right.
I wanted her opinion.
Not for me
– but for her.
I tucked the tops under her chin and she smiled. Then she looked at me and said “I’m too old.” And then she looked again. And smiled.
We chatted a bit. She confided that she hated wearing black and beige, but those were what old people wore and she didn’t want to have people think she was trying to be young again. And then, after she held up the coloured shirts a few more times and could see they brought colour to her face (maybe it was my imagination, but she stood straighter when they were under her chin), before I knew it, she had purchased them both.
As she went out the store with a lovely, big smile on her face wearing the peach-coloured shirt, she said “A difference – you have made a difference.”
Nawww, it wasn’t me – it was her.
In the moment she decided to wear colour, she decided to enjoy her life.
Those colours really suited her.
And yes, I’m *sure* she was walking straighter as she walked out of the store.
What limitations do we put on ourselves that stop us from living life to the fullest?
Are we self-critical … of our self? … our art? … our … ?
Do we compare ourselves to another?
Have we said or thought “I can’t do this because …”?
I know I have.
And each time I catch myself placing limits on myself, I think of this wonderful octogenarian and imagine her, living her life in full colour. Literally. 🙂
Those others put on us.
Those we put on others.
Those we put on ourselves.
Something to consider?
© June Maffin