Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Soapbox: Just Call Me Grace

After years of chasing after the legacy of the Proverbs 31 woman, I am pleased to announce that I have finally figured out why that age old icon, bless her heart, was up before dawn.  She gets up while it is still night.  Ha. Ha. Ha.  It’s taken me forty something years to realize that the poor girl had perimenopausal insomnia!

It’s no WONDER that girl is selecting all that wool and flax and working it with her eager little hands.  She’s building up those biceps working day and night, planting those vineyards and all.  That girl’s lamp DOES NOT GO OUT AT NIGHT and neither does mine, ever since I met my new friend Peri.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Men…Oh, for goodness sake…PAUSE!!

Just another fringe benefit of my relationship with Peri is a little term I like to call clumsiness.  I refuse to allow Google to convince me that this might just be the sign of early onset of early Alzheimer’s, a brain tumor, or some non-female related vasomotor condition.  Oh no.  I know the real culprit is my frenemy Peri. 

For instance, let me begin by saying that through the years, I have become somewhat of a social introvert.  I have absolutely no problem whatsoever traveling alone or eating alone in restaurants.  It was one such day when my friend (invisible, but not imaginary) Peri sat across from me at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants and wreaked havoc on what would have otherwise been a perfectly uneventful business lunch.

All was going well.  It was “Choose Three” day.  No brainer.  Chile relleno, tostada, and refried beans.  Nothing wrong with that.  No sir.  A little iced tea to wash it all down and that’s a perfectly great way to cap off a morning’s work and start the afternoon off right.

My waiter, four months removed from some Mexican village where Mama prepared daily tamales, provided enough conversation for me to have someone to validate my existence.  Well, maybe a little too much conversation. 

Nevertheless, the bill was settled and it was time for me to say adiós to Juan the waiter when I had a slight mishap as I slipped into my jacket.  Left arm in.  No problem.  But, my right arm accidentally slipped between the jacket lining and the shoulder pad.  Stuck.

Not only that, I failed to mention that I was already sporting a frozen right shoulder compliments of Peri which had generally been causing some difficulty getting into my jacket in the first place.  Now this.

My right arm was lodged in my white jacket straight over my head like a straight jacket.  I tried pushing and pulling, but couldn’t break loose.  I started to sweat.  Juan tried to help, but couldn’t quite understand the difference between my English pronunciation of push and pull.  TAKE IT OFF! TAKE IT OFF! I was SUGGESTING through clinched teeth in the most awkward position of my life.  He kept saying I can get it and continued to try to pull it on, placing one foot on the booth to brace himself.  My shoulder hated Juan just then.  I might as well have been choked on a habanero shrimp with Mrs. Doubtfire wrapped around me performing the Heimlich maneuver, because the whole restaurant stopped eating, in horror.

I was almost in tears when Juan finally understood my plain English and succeeded in pulling the jacket off.  Ask me how totally goofy I felt when he held the jacket for me to try to put it on again, like we were in some five star restaurant, when in reality it was a real hole in the wall.  The other patrons took a collective sigh of relief and pretended not to watch me as I tried to gather my dignity along with my purse and make a graceful exit.  It wasn’t over.

Just as I made my way to the door, just call me grace, because I slipped and fell.  I’m okay, I signaled to the stunned crowd as I picked myself up and stuck my chin up in the air like I sometimes do when I want to seem like a really have it all together and it is totally apparent to everyone that I really REALLY don’t.

The walk to my car seemed like forty miles in the desert, but when I finally shut my door and drove away, I started laughing so hard at what had just happened and called my sister so she could laugh with me.  It still wasn’t over.

In spite of all that had happened, I made it to my meeting on time, and proceeded to tell my colleagues the story.  When I sat back in the big leather chair, it flipped backwards.  This was not how I intended on showing off my new menopausal orthopedic footwear.

Oh, Proverbs 31 Woman, how did you do all those noble things on such a lack of sleep?  Today I, too, had really surpassed them all when I did everything perfectly.  Perfectly wrong.  What’s more is that with all of these changes, I’ve recorded 65 OTHER symptoms of being friends with Peri that you failed to mention to your son King Lemeul.  Hadn’t our God of the Old Testament yet invented night sweats, adrenal exhaustion, cold extremities, gastrointestinal disorders, arthritis and the other 59 symptoms that are way too hilarious to mention?

I suppose as I enter this sisterhood of graceful aging I find it necessary to reaffirm my thinking that the best bet we girls have is to re-center on the Author and Perfector of faith who assures us that He is working out all things for our good and that He has a plan for our lives—even in middle age.  His place is where fears are stilled and strivings cease; such a hard thing to do as we multi-multi-multitask ourselves into the night!  But it is here where I can get forget about my frenemy Peri for a while and simply meditate on the more noble and excellent virtues.  It is here where you can just call me Grace.


Read Brandi’s column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper. Follow Brandi on Twitter @BrandiChambless

Brandi Chambless
Read Brandi's column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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