My Moral Compass

Recently, my girlfriend Mondana and I were shopping at Chico’s in downtown Los Altos. After I had squeezed myself into a sleek pair of straight-legged jeans, I asked her the proverbial question all women query whenever they are in a fashion dilemma: “Does this make me look fat?” The Christmas holiday had come and gone and once again my bloated waistline was pushing against a zipper that refused to budge.

“Ah, they’re a little snug,” she said, eyeing me up and down. “I don’t really […]

A Clean Slate

From the moment I could scramble  my chubby legs up the bathroom sink to peer into the mirror overhead, I heard the words of my mother echoing in my head: “A woman never leaves the house without her face on.”

At four-years-old, this seemed like such a strange concept. Did she peel it off at night only to glue it back on in the morning ? Ever the eternal snoop, I became determined to find out what all the fuss was about.

I spent my days spying […]

Living With One’s Self

Clenching my fingers in a fist, the blood ceased to flow to my fingertips, and I stood stiff; muscles tense. I rolled my eyes in insolent teenage fashion. This was one showdown I was determined to win.

“No, mom!” I declared. “I don’t want Paula at my slumber party.”

Dropping her head in obvious disappointment, she turned away. “Ok, it’s your day. But will you be able to live with yourself when you see how hurt she’ll be?”

At first, the answer was easy. Of course, I’d […]

The Critic

With a look of absolute horror in her rich, mahogany-colored eyes, my 13-year-old daughter Lauren stared at me, mouth wide open.

“You’re not going looking like THAT are you?”

The year was 1998, and my precious baby girl was not happy with my appearance. Apparently, she deemed my attire inappropriate for her confirmation at St. Simon Church.

Turning back to the mirror, I couldn’t imagine what was wrong. My hair was styled to perfection and make-up understated. The dangling earrings definitely made a fashion statement but weren’t […]

Living by a Number

Placing my feet squarely on my most ruthless nemesis, I closed my eyes and held my breath. “Oh, God!” I cried, horrified. “How could I have gained 5 pounds overnight?” The blinking light beneath my toes was about to set the tone for my entire day.

From the day I turned 13 in 1965, I’ve lived my life by a number. Consequently, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my bathroom scale for 47 years.

If I found my daily digits respectable, a sigh of relief rang. […]

Good Enough

When are we satisfied with who we are? Are we ever good enough?

As I child, I grew up in a home surrounded by a thick layer of oppressive testosterone that choked every breath I took. Because of the domineering nature of my three brothers, their loud and raucous behavior, I rarely spoke. Trying to get a word in, let alone be heard, was a challenge too exhausting, and in my mind, one not worth taking. What was the point? No one listened anyways.

So, I’d […]