I'm grateful for the kind words - what amounted to a compliment - from the lady next to me at the checkout. Maybe she was just being friendly because I'd let her go ahead of me when she had one item and I had an overflowing basket, but she had no idea what kind of day I'd had up to that point and how very much her words would make a difference in my day.
I was having one of those ugly days: a day when I questioned why I am the way I am - why I couldn't be more like everyone else - why I had to look and feel like a freak. Because that was how this skirt-wearing long-haired-going-grey middle-aged (that's such an ugly word) lady felt.
I don't want to be the only one wearing a skirt in a sea of jeans and tunics-with-tights (and fashion conscious I may not be, but tights are not pants. Wear them with dresses, wear them with tunics, but please do not wear them with shirts regardless of body size) and I've tried to change. I've even thought of throwing out my entire wardrobe and starting all over again with a clothing catalogue as my guide. (I don't know how I'd afford it, but that's something to worry about another time.) But for some reason I just don't feel comfortable in pants ... and so I continue to wear skirts and feel different.
Then there's the hair. It's turning grey at an alarming rate; so alarming that soon I will have to describe it as 'grey' rather than as 'turning grey'. And it's on the long side. Especially by today's standards. Which might be okay if you're ten or twenty or even thirty but by the time you're my age, you're meant to have grown up and look 'grown up' - even if by the time you're my age you should have earned the right to do whatever you please without worrying about anyone else's opinions.
Thus I went out wondering why I couldn't be like every other female my age and want to wear pants and cut and dye my hair and feeling incredibly freakish because I can't and don't and then a lovely beautiful young woman (in pants and with shoulder length hair that may or may not have been dyed) said a few kind words and paid me a lovely compliment. She'll never know how grateful I am ... and I'll probably never forget.