Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Sunday, June 9, 2013

4-7-13 RMB A Brave Woman
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
It is nearing midnight. I am exhausted, but too hyped to sleep, so I thought I would write you another letter.
I try to imagine what it feels like to be in your shoes, to have someone writing you, someone reaching out to you that you don’t know from Eve. Then multiply that by untold numbers; some wishing you well, others not. You are a brave woman.
I walk in a parking structure and go up and down the stairs at lunchtime. I am on a kick to lose weight; get in shape. My weight, not a problem in childhood, has been a struggle in my adult life. Once I lost eighty pounds, I was trying to lose a hundred. I gained all eighty back. Now I am trying to lose that same hundred. So far I’ve lost forty. Some say if I reach my goal, I will be too thin, that I was thin when I lost the eighty. I would like to get there anyway and judge for myself.
While walking, twice strangers have approached me, to talk about my walking. They were nice ladies; both working on getting in shape themselves. I don’t know if they work in the mall or just shop there often. Both mentioned watching me walk over the last few months.
I walk with my eyes in a book (often authored by Rita Mae Brown) or proofing these letters or listening to a radio. I watch for cars, but not people. I avoid people, by habit, a way of life for me. Both of these ladies had to practically jump in front of me waving their arms to get my attention.
We had nice conversations, but all the while their words echoed “I’ve been watching you walk. You come here often. I told my friends about you.” That was disconcerting; someone watching me. It brought you to mind; made me question these letters.
Maybe you are braver than I and see some benefit here. I know, when I work, I am bolder. Coworkers who are also friends often tell me that I surprise them at trade shows, events where I need to speak, or when I am coordinating a group. I step up, say what I need to say, do what I need to do. Work is important; deserving of my best effort. Maybe you consider this part of your life’s work, affecting people, moving them to action, whether comfortable to you or not.
Even those that lash out, do so as a result of their universe being threatened. You have opened their eyes and they are not happy about it. You challenge them to grow. Growth can be painful. From that perspective, lashing out is understandable, it means you struck a chord. You stepped up, said what you needed to say, did what you needed to do, gave your best effort to your work.
Who would take on such work, where some sing your praises and others threaten your life?
Rita Mae Brown did.
Sleep well,

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