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regina-georgeSomething that comes easy to me as a middle-aged mom?

Aside from making my kids cringe while dancing to Madonna in the kitchen?

Being myself.

When you turn 40, 41, Lordy help me I’m 45. I don’t want to be filling this post with long division before I get to my point here.

I have found that at 45, it’s so nice to just be yourself. Being yourself rocks. You can be yourself around old friends. New friends. Acquaintances. Dear, close friends. And I’ve also found you can be yourself around a cranky 15-year-old when you’re 45 and could give two popsicles what they think. It’s quite exhilarating, actually.

It’s the equivalent of putting on a pair of PJ pants after coming home from nonstop meetings.

It’s like an internal Yoga Ommmmmmmmm.

It’s like whipped cream piled on top of hot cocoa on a freeze-your-buns kind of day.

You get the idea.

When you are yourself and can surround yourself with friends who accept you, and I’m borrowing from Bridget Jones here, just the way you are, it’s really refreshing.

I’ll never forget, growing up in Texas, I had the best friends. I was lucky. We had such fun times, listening to the Go Gos in our mini skirts and bi-level hair-dos. I could be myself around them and it was glorious.

But when I was in junior high school, things began to change. My friends were still awesome, but I started to reach that age when your body isn’t exactly fabulous and your hair isn’t exactly the most stylish. You feel awkward being you. Because you’re not sure who you are just yet.

Sometimes, you start to act like someone else. And this isn’t a good feeling. At all.

Imagine growing up outside of Houston. Live Barbie dolls are effing everywhere. Born with Marsha Brady hair and Wonder Woman legs. In my intermediate school, there were girls who would look you up and down when they talked to you. Just to see what you were wearing. Think Mean Girls, Texas-sized. OK, I’ll admit, I wasn’t much to look at. I was a wee bit awkward at 11, 12, 13. But I was always myself and used my babysitting money to go to the mall with my friends to find something cute from the Express sales rack.

I should also mention that my hair was permed. By my mom.

And I weighed 95 pounds. Soaking wet.

One day, while talking with my best friend at my locker, in a totally new Forenza outfit mind you, a girl who could have passed as Regina George looked me up and down, shot me a dirty look, turned and laughed with her friends.

I was 12. And obviously, I never forgot that look.

Or that feeling.

My daughter is 12.

She’s a totally different child than I was at 12. She tells me, as she’s making me belly laugh with her quick wit, she doesn’t care about what others think. She accepts herself just the way she is, God bless her. She a tween, so she doesn’t like it when I write about her, so I’m not going to focus on her anymore. I’m going to talk about you.

How often, as a woman, do you let others dictate how you feel about yourself?

How often, as a mom, do you care about what other moms think of you?

It has taken me dozens of years to realize what mean moms think doesn’t matter.

If you still care about your suburban version of Regina George, I beg you to stop. And look at your bad self in the mirror. And all its awesomeness. And promise me you’ll give yourself a high-five today…after dancing in the kitchen while making your kids cringe. 😉