“After drop off today, I drove by the house of neighbor whose husband is getting a kidney tomorrow. I literally thought to myself: from the outside, with the snow and toddler toys, you would never know what they are going through and reminded myself it holds true for probably most people we meet.”
-A Magpie Reader
The world softens, as though a line run slack,
when I remember that many of us are privately nursing broken hearts and invisible griefs.
If I can look beyond the sunny Instagram posts and perfectly-packed Bento box lunches, or the de rigueur smile and wave from the neighbor, or the unexpected outburst from a stranger —
if I can see past the stipules, be they thorny or decorative,
I so often find a tender center.
Today I am challenging myself to ignore the guard petals,
and, equally, to be unafraid of looking sadness or hardship in its Janus face.
Years ago, I plumbed for meaning: “what does it mean to be a woman of substance?” At the time, I doubted myself. Career transitions and a string of years that asked instead of answered had left me wraith-like with worry and insecurity. I was straining to sketch out a dress form I might eventually fill. If I could only identify its dimensions, perhaps I could model myself against it.
I now believe that a woman of substance is someone so at ease with herself, she can give herself to others without self-diminishment or self-projection. She can be happy for friends, and sad for them, too, without losing anything of herself. She can listen without interjecting her own story; she can marvel without battling jealousy; she can endure unkindnesses without questioning herself. She does not need the last word, the biggest laugh, the adulation, the apology: she is full without the feedback. She stands still in her center.
I work to be that woman.
What I mean to say to myself this January morning:
Find ease today — both in your dealings with others and your personal comportment.
As always, onward —
+Life somehow compensates for our losses.
+On giving myself a soft landing when I need it.
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+New/fun Sambas colors, restocked.
+This bag…!!!! I’ve been wanting one of these bags forever.
+Obsessed with the silhouette / details on these under-$100 cords.
+Been on a big and satisfying cleaning kick — Mr. Magpie and I have both been exercising the same “bit by bit, corner by corner” mentality since January 1st, where we’ll just tackle a little nook of the house as we encounter it (versus going room by room in any strategic way). This makes it feel so manageable! So, for example, the other day I pruned my top cosmetics drawer to just keep my everyday essential makeup favorites on hand in these, and put the rest in these drawered compartments beneath the sink.
+This brand has some really fun tees.
+Love the fit of these off-white jeans.
+These suitcases look like Away, but cost less.
+Cute ribbed trouser socks.
+I wrote about my daughter reading books that were a bit too thematically advanced for her — her librarian pointed her in the direction of these “little sister” baby-sitter’s club books to accommodate her interest in the baby sitter’s club at a more age appropriate level, and they’ve been a huge hit! We’ve also been listening to the audiobooks of the Magic Treehouse series, which has in turn re-piqued her interest in the series. Such a relief to have her reading books that are affirming/comfortable for her!
+It’s been COLD here — I asked a very fit/active girlfriend who excels in winter sports how she keeps warm while running, and she insisted that a neck buff is the way to go! She recommended the ones from this female-founded Vermont-based business. They have a few different styles for different sports/climates, but these are the ones best-suited for my every-other-day runs. If you prefer a solid one, I also found good options from Tracksmith, Smartwool, and Stio.
+I’ve been spotting Timex’s utility watches layered into the arm stacks of many a chic-pea lately!
+This $40 sweatshirt arrived and I’ve barely taken her off. A really nice, heavy weight for the cold days.
+A great white top.