It’s Sunday and Bea Arthur passed away. Normally, I don’t blog on Sunday, but yesterday was busy and eventful and I never got here. And then on my way here, I read about Bea Arthur’s death. I really liked her, the roles she played, and the example she created of a woman with purpose and meaning, who could laugh and make others do so with ease. But, under the laughter was a definite message and one that my generation of women needed to hear.
I envied her height and her clothes. At five feet, one and a half inches, how could I not? With her deep voice, she commanded attention, and because of her often brisk and brusque delivery, she more often than not, got it. But, her clothes were soft and draping, always feminine without being flashy. They suited her and the personality she depicted. And although she was often only a few steps away from being militant, she wasn’t afraid to show her vulnerability.
She was consistent as well as constant. There might be those who would call that typecasting, but Bea Arthur found a niche that suited her and she made the best out of what was there and what she personally had to offer. I think she was an excellent role model on many levels. I didn’t always think that, however.
When I first saw her in her role as Maude, all I could think was, “Oh no, another ball buster.” And I refused to watch the program. But later, in The Golden Girls, she took that same personality and made it work in a household of women. That’s when I really began to listen to what she was saying, instead of tuning her out simply because of my own preconceived notions.
Granted, in that show, many of the situations were scripted for downright foolishness and pure humor, but Arthur always had an underlying message. One that I found held value, especially to women seeking to be comfortable in their own skin, in a world often focused on telling them how and what to be, without a clue as to genuine uniqueness and its inherent necessity for continued growth and evolution. I will miss her and that deep, rapid fire delivery.
I fell down yesterday, while out doing some spontaneous shopping. Missed a step and landed hard on my palms and one knee. Couldn’t get back up without assistance. It was raining as well, so I was completely soaked after recovering my feet. Went straight home, changed my jeans, and finished my errands. That may seem like a total change of topics, but it’s not.
As I wrote about Bea Arthur, I realized that I needed to think a bit about why she meant so much to me. I have been too busy trying to adjust to several changes in my life and schedule. In that process, I have lost contact with the person I want to be and have become something else. Someone who is confused and frustrated by that confusion. Some of that is natural to what is actually happening, but I think I might have missed a step somewhere along the way.
I spent the rest of the day, yesterday, aware that my palms were stinging and my knee was skinned and stinging severely as well. In all the commotion of the last few weeks, I have lost my balance and gotten out of sync with where I really want to be. That is comfortable in my own skin and accepting of my own uniqueness. I don’t want to be Bea Arthur, no one can be that except Bea Arthur. But, I do want to be me. And I haven’t been.
Sometimes, we need to fall down in order to catch our breath, reassess our situation, and maybe realign our direction. We might need help in getting back up, may even have to ask for that. We need to be aware of our own vulnerability and even show that on occasion. Use it to redefine where we are and what we really want to do about any of it.
Circumstances as such, have given me a bit of breathing space from the present demands and responsibilities. I am and will continue to use that time and space to really get my feet under me. I can still feel the stinging in my knee and probably will for a couple of more days. However, it is now a reminder of all those other messages. The ones I had forgotten in the press of doing and being something other than what I truly desire.
I will never be tall enough to wear Bea Arthur’s clothes, no matter how much I may wish for that reality. But, I can and do remember her underlying message and for that I am grateful. She made a lasting impression and I will miss her and what she did so very well.