Who are you today?

I’ve been reading Ruth Reichl’s memoir, Garlic and Sapphires: Adventures of a food critic in disguise. Reichl served as food critic for the New York Times, although you may know her, as I do, as a judge on Top Chef. One of the challenges of any food critic is remaining anonymous. Before she even arrived in New York for her interview with the Times, local restaurants had her picture on the wall for employees to see. Of course, if you’re found out a food critic the visit is worthless; you’ll get the very best treatment possible.

When Reichl began working for the times she began getting creative with her disguises. With the help of her friends she began creating not only a disguise but a persona, crafting a story that fit her character. She enjoyed this rather advanced version of playing dress up. What took her by surprise, however, was how different she felt inside the garb of each woman. With some she felt free and outgoing; with others she felt burdened and invisible.

But she didn’t just feel different; she was treated differently. From the doorman of her apartment building to the taxi drivers to the restaurant staff, her interactions varied widely according to her disguise. Sometimes people were eager to engage with her. Other times people are just as eager to hide from her.

All of which made me think: what guises do we put on? As you prepare for the day, do you put on the emotional clothes of the failure and screw-up who can’t do anything right? Do you wear the jacket of a victim who never seems to win? Do you put on confidence or a trusting curiosity about the world?

Just as Reichl discovered, the people we become affects the people we meet.

Tomorrow morning as you prepare for your day, ask yourself: Who am I today? Who do I want to be? Who do I choose to be?


memoir coverI am very pleased to announce that my latest book, I Don’t Remember Signing Up for This Class is now available in paperback through Amazon. Here’s what some people are saying about it:

“This book is riveting, powerful, and most of all hopeful. I read it in one day, but know it will stay with me for a long time.” (Anonymous amazon review – 5 stars)

“Peggy Haymes offers a vision of grace sorely needed in our wounded culture.” (Dr. Molly T. Marshall)

“It is a courageous and witty account of triumphantly and gracefully meeting life’s challenges.” (Dr. Brian Gersho)

“Truth-telling at its most authentic, heart-wrenching and life-affirming fills these pages.” (Rev. Alicia Porterfield)

Read more here.

Order your copy here


(Not quite) Ready for My Closeup

So two mornings a week I’m helping with a training program sponsored by our local YMCA and run by Fleet Feet sports. I’ve helped with this program before, helping people move from being inactive to completing a 5K race, and I love it.

This time is a little different. One difference is that we’re meeting in the morning. Another difference is that one day a week, the TV cameras are there. Morning show personalities from our local TV station are participating in a weight loss challenge, and one of the things that they’re doing is participating in our program.

On the day of our initial information meeting, I came dressed in my running clothes. Before the meeting I’d been across the street, doing speed work on the track. I was sweaty. My hair, dirty before the run, now had the benefit of being frizzy and sweat soaked as well.

After the presentation ended a couple of us were talking together about how much we did not want to be on TV. The words were no more out of our mouths before a microphone (and camera) was in my face. “Would you share your story?” the reporter asked.

I took comfort in the hope that they would not use it. But after a day or two I started getting messages on my Facebook wall: “Saw you on TV!”

Sheesh…

My first thought was to be embarrassed. I knew I looked a fright (and it wasn’t even Halloween yet!) But then I kept thinking…

When a football player is interviewed after a game, the last thing on his mind is how his hair looks. I’ve never known of a player who ducked an interview because he hadn’t washed his hair yet. It doesn’t matter. It’s not the point.

We who are women are often focused on the wrong things. We focus on all that is wrong with our bodies instead of all that is right. How we look is always the trump card that carries more weight (no pun intended) than everything else. A few years ago I could not move my left leg, and now I run. And I was worried about my hair?

I realized that I just needed to get over it. When I run or work out, my hair does get messed up. And it doesn’t matter. The point isn’t how good I look. The point is profound gratitude that I can move, that I can run. My body is doing what it’s supposed to do.

If I’m booked for a TV interview, I’ll do the hair and make-up routine. But if you catch me on the run, you’re going to catch me as I am. And that’s perfectly fine by me.