Cinderella Under Pressure.
I write books about women who do too much in a world that asks too much from them, and I saw one of these women just the other day.
The woman I am thinking of was at a gas station, responding with incredible grace and dignity while under great duress. After filling her tank, this woman saw that she’d locked herself out of her car with her small child inside. She didn’t shout for help or make a scene.
I noticed her because I am not a dignified person when stressed. I’m a flustered crier who talks to strangers when things go wrong.
It was a nice day, there were not many people around, and she solved her problem with a placid look on her face and some fairly impressive flexibility.
While I stood, nozzle in hand, trying to figure out which button to push or pull for gas, she moved to the trunk of a beautiful SUV, where a thick film of plastic wrap covered her back window. Presumedly, she’d been in an accident, and fresh cellophane functioned as a back window for a time. She pulled the plastic apart with zero fanfare, no grumbling, and a lot of strength. I considered offering to help, but she didn’t look like she needed it. Besides, I was still trying to get my pump to take my credit card.
Once the plastic was yanked free, she began climbing onto the bumper and easing herself inside. She had to clear the back seat headrests, slither her whole body through the window and slide from the back seat over the dividers to the front seat. All while her child slept soundly.
Once inside the car, she checked on the baby, kissed the little one on the forehead, and then drove off. I glanced around. I’d been the only one to witness this athletic, motherly feat, but the woman left a memento on the pavement without so much as a look over her shoulder. There, on the stained concrete, I saw one brand new, white and blue Nike tennis shoe on the ground. This Cinderella must have kicked it off during the exertion of getting into the car.
Maybe she wasn’t as unstressed as she appeared. Maybe she was in a terrible hurry. Maybe she was too embarrassed to walk partially barefoot across the stained pavement to collect her shoe. I’ll never know, but I wish I could have told her, Never, never, ever be chagrinned about anything when you can display this kind of grace under pressure.
This is the kind of person I want on my side when the world ends and precisely the kind of person I write about. Women are amazing. I’m sure you know this already, but I’m writing to remind you.
I’d love to hear about a time when you were graceful under pressure. It will give me something to work for!
My newest book is right here if you want to read about another person who learns how to pivot with a little more grace. It’s called There’s No Coming Back From This and the Kindle version is available right now.