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Friday, June 6, 2008

Southern Girls Living Fearlessly - Day 1

I present to my readers, the Day 1 of the Southern Girl's Primer on Living Fearlessly. Make sure you do the assignments found at the end of each day. Before long, you'll be living a new, more vibrant life, without ever giving up your neutral decorating pallet:

There are opportunity costs built into everything we choose. We often overlook the fine print at the bottom of the contract and sign a waiver without reading it. If we didn't we would never make a decision or move forward. Making an informed decision is preceded by long periods of failure to act.

I've decided enough is enough. I will live fearlessly. I'm throwing caution tape to the wind, unfurling it like big yellow celebration streamers. Let it wrap someone else in complacency.

Oh heavens! What am I saying? A good southern woman can't do that! We have rules, we have standards, for goodness's sake, we have etiquette to follow. I would simply die if I thought my neighbors disapproved of my behavior.

But there must be a way. Certainly living fearlessly doesn't mean wearing a black dress to a wedding or a hot pink cocktail number to a funeral. I don't have to paint my monogram on the garage door or hang out in a juke joint to live fearlessly. Southern girls can honor their heritage, keep their proper prim, and still throw a buttered biscuit now and again. We can know who our people are, compose a polite invitation or thank you note, deliver casseroles to the sick and deceased, and still sweeten our tea with pure sugar.

Take me, for example. For six years a bare bulb hung from the ceiling of my 1915 home. I decided when we moved in that I would buy a crystal chandelier to match the huge ones in the living room and dining room. I feared marring the traditional architecture of my home by hanging something more modern. After six years of concern, worry, saving, angst, searching, I found myself in a lighting store making an impulse buy.

I purchased a walnut colored pendant fixture. After my husband hung it, I looked up and realized what a fool I had been all these years, tangled up in caution tape. It wasn't a crystal chandelier that the room needed, it was a touch of me.

YOUR FIRST ASSIGNMENT: What your life needs is a touch of YOU in it. Today go buy a piece of canvas, an old board, a slip of tin roof, anything with a paintable flat surface (but, do be tasteful, no saw blades or birdhouses). Using whatever paints and brushes you have, create your own folk art, abstract art, self-portrait, etc. There are three rules to this:
1) Do not paint what other people expect you to paint.
2) Your finished work must be displayed in a common area of your house, where guests to your home will see it.
3) You may never, under any circumstances, including being pressured by a realtor or interior decorator, make excuses for it, diminish it verbally, or move it to a less conspicuous area; that would be like badmouthing YOURSELF and hiding away in a closet and we all know a proper lady would never poor mouth the family name.

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