Tracy introduces me to Laurel and to her daughter Charlotte who is 8 years old and cute as a button. We are sitting in the usual morning coffee haunt and the conversation flows for a few minutes. I was relaxed on this Friday morning, and I felt calm. It’s interesting how easy it is to blend in today and I am just another woman to the staff and patrons. In the not distant past, I used to constantly question what they might be thinking, but I have stopped doing it with the result being that everything syncs and flows as never before.

I remember decades ago being petrified to even walk around in public with any questioning stares only being encouraged by my own fears which then affected my movements and disposition. You don’t realize how much you betray yourself with your own thoughts.

Before she leaves Laurel tells me I look good after learning my age and I thank her. I don’t need or fish for compliments, but I accept them with gratitude because I no longer need validation. Instead, I absorb them as evidence that my sense of identity is being fed from my inside which is the way it should be.


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