Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Telling the Truth Tuesday - Unexpected gifts

Something happened at folkdance camp that hasn't happened in, oh, perhaps 35 years. One of the teachers, the gentlemen from Croatia, came up to me at one of the parties and said, "You are so beautiful." He said it in such a way that I knew he wasn't coming on to me. After I picked my jaw up from the ground, I said, "I don't feel that way." He looked at me and said, "I don't give compliments lightly and I never lie."

I haven't received attention from a male other than my husband in years. When women reach somewhere around 40, men stop looking. It used to bother me, but I attributed it to being extremely overweight. Then, after I lost weight and I still felt invisible, I simply came to terms with it. What does it matter anyone. My hubs thinks I'm beautiful - that's all that matters.

So it was a totally unexpected gift this man gave to me. And I am working on taking it in. In the scheme of things, it is a small thing. But in my life, with the majority of it spent having extremely low self-esteem, it was truly lovely to receive such a compliment at 61. And to know that this man expected nothing in return.

I will be thinking about the kinds of unexpected gifts I can pass along to others, since it felt so good to be on the receiving end of one. How about you?



Sharon Lippincott said...

Karen, I can tell from your pictures that you ARE beautiful. I can also tell it from your words. My experience is that people, both men and women, tend to gravitate toward those who exude an inner beauty, a peace of spirit as well as vitality and passion for what they are involved in and huge amounts of loving interest in others. These people are ... comfortable in their own skin.

That man saw that in you. I truly believe he was not talking of movie star beauty, the sort we judge each other by. He may have seen some of that, but he was looking at your SPIRIT even more than your outer shell. Age has nothing to do with that, nor does body shape, or smoothness of skin.

You wrote of the day at your book signing that you realized you had "stepped into your new life." Yes. You did step into a new life and became beautiful.

Cyndi said...

You are beautiful and that copper dress was amazing! It hasn't stopped at 40...yet! I hope it never does. I love these gifts. :)

Mason Canyon said...

Those unexpected gifts are what we need sometimes to remind us others see us differently than we see ourselves. I'd have to agree with the gentleman, you are beautiful. He also got the chance to know the inter beauty of you as well during the camp.

Thoughts in Progress

Helen Ginger said...

How wonderful! Not that you aren't pretty (I think you are), but I think what he was saying is that your beauty radiates from within and it makes the outer you glow. Now...that is truly a compliment!


Karen Walker said...

Sharon, thanks for putting into words what I was feeling. Yes, I think you are right. He was looking at my Spirit.
Cyndi, good to hear from you. I just checked out your blog and understand why I haven't.
Mason, yes, it's so true. It's our insides that matter, not our outsides.
Helen, thank you. I'm working on not caring whether I'm pretty or not, but I'm glad whatever inner beauty there is may be radiating outward.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Next time just smile and say thank you!

Yeah, the attention drops off around 40, so it's a delight when attention comes. I take ogling, too!

arlee bird said...

What a wonderful circumstance of compliment! Like the others have said, sometimes there is something that comes across beyond the initial physical appearance that catches our attention. I am often struck by a person's walk, the way they converse, or simple actions they perform that makes me see a confidence of the internal person. There have been times when I've paid a compliment to a woman like this gentleman did, but usually I'm afraid I'll be taken the wrong way. Maybe I'll stop worrying about that in the future.

Tossing It Out

Jemi Fraser said...

How absolutely lovely :)

Those random acts of kindness are so powerful & so important to pass along.

Anonymous said...

Well, you WERE glowing in that copper colored gown. Is that the night he complimented you? You're right; after 40, it always feels good to get such praise. We take the wolf whistles for granted at age 20, and are even offended. Then they taper off and we miss them!


Patricia Stoltey said...

How sweet! I wonder if that fellow knew just how powerful his compliment was, and how deeply you would be touched. He's got to be an angel. :)

Ann said...

I wrote a story about the invisible syndrome. I am delighted you were on the receiving end of such a gift. Funny how such little things can make us float on air.
Oh and by the way, you are beautiful.

Karen Walker said...

Thanks so much for all the compliments, folks. It's a bit embarrassing, seems like I was fishing for compliments. But truthfully, I was so blown away by what happened, I just had to write about it.

Crystal Clear Proofing said...

RAK truly are a gift, aren't they?

Just as so many left comments here, I have to agree that you are one of the most beautiful beings I *know!* Your inner beauty radiates such a bright, lovely glow! Karen, all the work you've "done" on yourself is amazing, and it's so powerful that, knowing you only via words, the happiness and disposition that is *Karen* shines through in your posts and comments. ♥

Vicki Rocho said...

I think it is so sad that so many of us willingly internalize criticism but not genuine praise. I think it's fabulous someone besides your husband recognized and acknowledged your beauty! Hope you let the glow of the moment seep and and you strut your stuff!

Kathleen Pooler said...

Hi Karen,

I just found your blog(love it!) from Sharon's link and we have met on the Lifewriter's Forum. Your pictures speak volumes about fun, love and beauty..Yes, you are beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Kathy Pooler

Karen Walker said...

Hi Kathleen,
Thanks, and so nice to see you. I've been pretty absent from the Lifewriter's Forum lately - just lurking.

Connie Arnold said...

What a wonderful gift for you, Karen! I agree that the inner beauty that shines through is what is important to be seen and that, in addition to the outward attractiveness, is what others see in you. Thanks for your comment on Marvin's blog, which reminded me to come visit you here, and I'm glad I did!