Mrs. Havisham and the Coffee Shop
I was standing in line at the local coffee shop when a woman approached me. “Wow! You don’t look like you belong here!” I felt affronted, but I smiled and explained that we had been living in town for about six years. Why was I explaining myself to a complete stranger? She proceeded to assess my attire, which admittedly was a bit eccentric on this particular day. My husband and I were on our way to a much needed (and well deserved) spa weekend away from the kids. I call it my Mrs. Havisham look, a gorgeous silk velvet kimono, embellished with intricate beading and tassels, a gold turban and earrings, a beautiful silk blouse, long necklaces, leggings, and ballet slippers. A delicious smorgasbord of velvet, sequins, and silk, oh my! At the end of the one-sided conversation the woman told me that maybe I should go back to the city.
Where’s Joe Fox When You Need Him?!
I was stunned. Remember the scene from You’ve Got Mail where Joe Fox has the gift of saying the precise thing he means to say exactly when he wants to say it? In that moment I couldn’t muster a response. It’s a small town and I was practicing restraint, but more importantly I was truly at a loss for words. Did I not belong here? After all, we moved to the suburbs to raise a family in what we expected would be a welcoming and friendly environment. Perhaps we were wrong.
I went to the car and shared my experience with my husband. He has Joe Fox’s gift for saying the perfect thing at just the right moment. I shrunk into my seat and sobbed. What does it mean to look like I belong here? And more importantly, why do I care what this stranger thinks?
That fact is after a few tears and deep breaths, I realized that I don’t care what this person or others think about how I dress or whether I fit their definition of “in.” What I do care about is raising socially responsible children who are kind, caring, and compassionate individuals. I care that I am happy with who I am, with the type of person that I am modeling to my children, that my family is happy and that I leave people happier and feeling cared for. So thank you. Thank you strange woman for making me stop and think about what I am grateful for, what is important to me, and how I can leave a better mark on this world. Thank you for reminding me that change starts with me (us) and to be kind and compassionate to others.
The moral of the story is: You belong. You belong here and everywhere. And if someone ever makes you feel otherwise, give me a ring. I’ll put on my kimono and turban and we can talk about it over coffee.