I’m recovering from a second hip replacement on the same hip, and I retired from State Government with a full career of 36 years. While it has been a journey physically, mentally, and professionally, it has been an uphill battle. Being idle, my mind has worked overtime to remind me of the great future I still have at a fabulous 56.
When I created the phrase “hipping through life” it was to create a positive saying to encourage myself and others.
Encouragement comes to you when you least expect it. When it does, cherish it, and understand that you may not see what the other person sees in you.
This came to mind while shopping at Nordstrom’s one Saturday when I saw two classmates from Tennessee State. One saw me at the make-up counter while I had one eye closed to slide the other with a new eye color all the while having a hot flash. When she called my name, my first thought is I must look totally ridiculous and bleeping sweaty.
I went shopping for some retail therapy which always heals me a little, but this beautiful lady healed me more with her marvelous smile. She was so happy to see me until I couldn’t help respond. While I wasn’t feeling my most fabulous that day, she told me how great I looked to my surprise. Her spirit was so sincere. After hearing that, my heart was a little heavy. She said, “Ms. Janet, you will do fine. You always do. I have no doubt. You always encouraged me.”
She, then gave me a big hug—the kind where you feel better inside instantly. “Wow!” I thought to myself. I so appreciated and needed the love. The sales person was happy too when I purchased the eye shadow. It was as if I had passed the happiness on.
As I finally was cooling off from the massive flash, I proceeded to the shoe department where I ran into one of my classmates who had sold me some beautiful shoes before. I always look for her when I’m there. As we were chatting, she asked how I was doing. I told her I was just trying to weather the storm and decide what to do.
We expressed to each other how we both wanted to pursue our Master degrees regardless of how crazy it may seem for two seriously grown women to keep going to school. As I began to tell her bye, she stopped me and said, “You are gonna be okay you know. You know you can do it without a hitch, girl. Just go for it. Remember how you were so upbeat in class.” I said, “You know, you’re right,” and I said with all of my heart, “You will too.”
Sometimes You Just Need a Hug
These two women touched my heart with their encouragement. I was truly limping through life that day. I felt blue and disconnected (no pun intended for my True Blue TSU alums). My daughter and I decided to wander in the store to make me feel better. Though I did purchase something, what I received from my classmates healed me more. Their words of encouragement and what they see in me was so humbling. They saw me succeeding. They saw me in a positive manner. I realized they didn’t see my physical pain, my mental despair, or my professional confusion. They just were just returning the encouragement that I had given them.
At that moment, I knew to journal this experience. When I have another “limpy” day, I read it—not to feed my ego, but to continue to encourage others, which, in turn, heals me. Surprise someone with a little encouragement, you could make their day. HIP ON!!!
[Janet Blakemore is a former full-figure model, former director of a modeling school, recent retiree from TN State Government, and an awesome, vibrant spirit of a person. In addition to writing, Janet is a Rodan & Fields consultant who enjoys retail therapy, being a Tennessee State University alum, and time with her adult daughter and extended family.]