Oh, Nothing … Just Here, Being Great

Friday, October 21, 2011

I have a new catchphrase. And I’m pretty pleased. It’s simple, but brimming with goodwill.

Before I unleash my “new thing,” let’s take it back to how it came about.

My family is a close-knit one. The hiccup? We live rather far apart: L.A., San Diego, West Palm Beach, Toronto, Connecticut. Though we talk often on the phone, we miss being able to see each other more regularly than at the occasional wedding or during an “break the air miles bank” Christmas holiday. So my two sisters and I came up with a lovely way to sew some face time into our busy lives while also feeding our respective travel bugs. Enter the Annual Sisters Trip. (Yes, our only brother was beefing about not being invited, but … hey, he’s not a sister. Sorry, homey!)

For our inaugural trip, we hit the enchanting shores of the Dominican Republic. Sun, sand, music, food, frilly drinks. Oh, yes. It was indeed as fabulous as it sounds.

While hanging out in the soothing waters on our first day there, we could not (absolutely could not) help but notice how virtually everyone — no matter what shape or size — was wearing a itty-bitty bikini. We saw bums barely covered by thin strips of fabric and ta-tas hanging out, getting some sun. And they all seemed exceedingly comfortable in their skin.

We were definitely not in Kansas anymore. Or anywhere in North America, for that matter. The European bon vivant vibe was massaged into nearly every corner of the place. It took us a minute to relax into it and float along. We did double-takes at some women in their near-nude glory. We giggled. We pointed. Truth told, there were a few instances that first day where we behaved more like Mean Girls than women enjoying a needed vacation.

But it was one key phrase — something my 19-year-old niece often tells her mother — that shifted our perspective.

Just let her be great.”

That’s it. Five words that changed the game.

My older sister threw it out after we whispered something catty about a woman by the pool.

“As Tish would say, Just let her be great, Mom,” she said.  We all paused, and it was clear that the sentiment was sinking in — fast. It was like a window had been opened and fresh, clean air swirled around our heads. Almost instantly, we stopped critiquing and started applauding. Cheers to the grandmother in the thong. And the plus-sized woman rocking the hell out of her string two-piece. And even the super-tanned guy with the bulbous belly and tight Speedo. They were doing their thing and feeling good about it. So why not let them be glorious?

There are so many times where — if we’re being honest — we are judging someone for a choice. Breastfeeding past 12 months. Opting to be a SAHM. Going back to work, happily, after three-months of maternity leave. Getting a nanny … and on the list goes. But here’s a challenge: instead of pointing the That’s Right/That’s Wrong arrows at folks, why not allow them the space to be great? Give them the chance to do what they’re doing with all the grace and ability they can offer. It’s the least we can do, yes?

  • 1
    Kristin says:

    I actually got teary-eyed reading those five words. We all need reminders to let others (and ourselves!) just enjoy moments of pure, joyful inhibition. I’m writing “Just let her be great” down and carrying it with me. Thanks.

  • 2
    Big sister says:

    great article little sis! It was a great time and I will be rocking that little bikini next trip! I’ll let myself be great!!

  • 3
    Sharoon says:

    I seem to have lost that mantra somewhere amidst the craziness of everyday. But thanks for bringing it right back! All encompassing love! Om!

    Great post, and btw, awesome pedicure. I couldn’t help but tell you that!