Talk the talk. Walk the walk. Look the look.
My mama always told me, especially when I was a teenager, that even if I didn't feel happy or have anything nice to say I better do my level best to look happy. Appearances are everything in a southern girl's world. "Put on a pretty smile and pretend," she would say. And over the years I found that simply smiling often brought about a change in my attitude.
One thing we southern ladies do very well is fake it. Lord knows we can ooh and ahh over Emily Ann's 4 carat diamond engagement ring with sapphire baguettes, only to gather on the balcony with our confidants to discuss how gaudy and overdone it is. But Emily Ann will never know the difference, because it is in our genes to pull off such things. In fact, faking it well is why folks from the south are considered to be the politest in the union. When we remark to a traveler from above the Mason-Dixon how lovely a white Christmas must be, he doesn't know that what we're really thinking is, Heaven help us, that accent will be the death of me if he doesn't move on here presently. Then we offer up another glass of sweetened iced tea.
Our generosities of word and deed never cease.
Two keys to living fearlessly are putting on the proper face and a little make-believe. Some of you may not have guessed it yet, but I am interminably shy. Not just a little shy, but SHY. For me, standing in a bookstore greeting total strangers and asking them to purchase my book (If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny) is a monumental task wrought with worry and angst. But since I'm living fearlessly I make myself do it anyway.
I dress the part, wearing a smart skirt, crisp blouse, and precious shoes. That way if someone can't think of anything nice to say about my book, she can at least comment on how much she likes my ensemble. I put on a smile. According to my friend Heather, if a girl smiles and says pleasantries, the worst anyone can say or think about her is that "she's sweet as she can be." Finally, I maintain good posture - shoulders back, chin up - projecting the confidence that fearless women possess.
By the middle of every book signing I believe it myself, I'm fearless, chatting up random passersby and insisting they stop and take a gander at my heart's work. Looking the look transfers to walking the walk and talking the talk.
TODAY'S ASSIGNMENT: Plan a day of pampering with a purpose. Looking fearless translates as looking our best. So, a manicure and a pedicure are a must. Freshening and updating your hairstyle, both cut and color, cannot be skipped. A massage will loosen all the worries from your muscles and a facial will bring out that girlish glow.
Then you're off to purchase one perfect outfit. You do not have to go on a $5000 What Not to Wear shopping spree in New York City. Puh-leeease. Target, TJ Maxx, Kohl's, Ross Dress for Less, and Marshall's all have what you need. You'll know you've found the one when you put it on and your back straightens and you've got an overwhelming urge to run right down to the shoe department.
Double the fun and go with a girlfriend or two. Then go out and live fearlessly together. By all means, fake it, if you have to, until it comes naturally.