Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You Meant That as a Compliment, Right?

Yesterday, Anthony told me that I'm just like my mother.

He clarified that statement by adding: "Vain just like her." The context was a bit odd, and difficult to explain. But that's what he said, and I can tell you, it got my attention, because I've spent years and a good deal of effort in trying to be unlike most of my relatives, including my mother.

Now, I'd like to somehow twist his words around to mean something less nasty than what I think they mean. But how do you get a compliment out of an accusation of vanity? It's at least one, and possibly even two, of the seven deadly sins, for God's sake.

I thought about it for much of the night. I can't figure it out. If there is one thing I am not, it's vain.

I've never taken particular care with my appearance. My hair has been a wreck for most of my life. I don't wear make-up, except for a little dab on special occasions, about 3x/year.

I've never had a professional manicure and my nails are usually cut short, often nervously nibbled at, with resulting serrated edges. And I detest clothes shopping, and so put it off for years at a time. When I do shop, I'll spend $2000 at a time, just to get everything I need for the next 5 years.

On the issue of clothes, I am today wearing a sweater that someone gave me long before Alexander was born, which was 15 years ago yesterday. My pants are about 13 years old, ripped at the bottoms and waaaaaayyyyy out of style (one of the benefits of working from home is the ability to dress like a slob).

I do clean up nicely, and dress appropriately for the occasion, be it outside work, a wedding, or whatever.

I own barely any jewelery and most of it is worthless junk. I could care less about other people's careers, their luxury cars, and their mobile devices (no, I don't even own a cell phone).

I do like to have some nice things around me, like furniture to sit upon. But the collection of same has taken me years, and honestly, I have no objects in my house of any great value at this point.

Really, the only things I take pride in are my children, the food I prepare for all of us to eat, and when I do work or play music, I like to do it approximately right. That's about it.

This one is going to require more thought. I'm hoping to eventually understand what he meant. In the meantime, I'm going to wrap Alexander's gifts because we are celebrating his birthday today.

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