The phrase “You are so graceful” assigned to me by my parents and neighborhood at age 4 has inspired me and plagued me. I earned this phrase because I was a whiz on roller skates on sidewalks and dancing. With that in mind, I have ALWAYS thought I MUST be graceful. Now, I’m looking at this phrase 74 years later and how it has affected my self-image at different stages in my life.
From 10-13 I was ungraceful and felt guilty about that. I’d ask myself, “What happened to me?” At 10 I was awkward trying to handle my adult size 8 shoes, getting a bra to fit and dealing with an extra four inches of height. Finally at age 14 I learned to handle my body again and gracefulness reappeared in my life. I relaxed into that self-image again.
As just mentioned when I wasn’t feeling graceful I felt guilty because I wasn’t living up to a subtext in my life that was given to me by others. So in retrospect, I think we need to work with our youngsters when we assign them a bumper sticker slogan. We can let them know there may be times of exception and that is OKAY!
Again from ages 68 to 71 I was ungraceful. I was dealing with arthritic hip joints and hip replacements. I often felt sad and guilty rather than objective about the state of my body. Some gracefulness has reappeared and hopefully now I have a healthy attitude with aging, exercise and grace. By the Grace of God and self-discipline may I stay flexible and graceful. And may we not lay too heavy a burden on our children with catch phrases.