It was my first year away from home. I was enjoying the freedom and spontaneity of student life and meeting people from all over the world. It was the era before instant everything, mobile phones and constant connectivity. I would speak to my family once very 3 weeks. My folks had helped me with living expenses – gave me the whole year’s allowance and sent me off.
And now, 10 months in, I had run out of money. Things were pretty tough at home right then, so I really didn’t want to ask for more. I went out to get a job. The restaurant was busy, the tips were mostly good, I got by.
Referring to the weather and all the running around, I said “I’m HOT”. He raised his eyebrows, smiled from hear to ear and replied, “yes, indeed you are!”
New to the language, I had used the wrong version of ‘hot’, and what I had said did not refer to the temperature or humidity in the place. When I realized it, I was mortified.
It feels like a million years later that I can see the huge lesson from this simple story.
Actually 2 lessons.
Firstly, how easy it is to be misunderstood, how often that happens in life and business. And just one word can make all the difference. In my story work I often get stuck on a word. The association from that one word can change the entire meaning of a story and the affect it has on the listener.
In business stories, a misinterpreted word can be the making or breaking of a deal. And yet we throw out words without much thought or consideration – it’s time to take responsibility for our words, they mean something…always.
Secondly, I notice my reluctance back then to admitting to being attractive, or being in any way desirable. Perhaps my age, or my hangups were the cause. Or perhaps now having had the ‘mommy’ tag dropped elegantly across my face and body for so many years and now returning to me, I can experience it differently. You see, as a women striding through my 40’s, I’m seeing the other side.
What does that mean. I suppose it’s about enjoying the attention and embracing ‘hotness’. It’s about a mature sensuality that allows me to delight in the effect I can have on others. Not to step away from attraction in fright or denial or shame. But to love how I am, with all the marks and scars that life has blessed me with. To finally accept that this is it, and it’s more than enough!
Are you willing to be ‘hot’?
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