Charlotte was my first motivational guru. The words that Charlotte used to spin in her web to inspire Wilbur were moving to my eight-year-old mind. I loved how Charlotte knew just when Wilbur needed to look up in the corner and see a word like:
To clarify for those who didn't read much as children, I'm talking about E.B. White's book Charlotte's Web. Charlotte is probably the only well-loved spider ever created in literature, and Wilbur is a small pig adopted by a girl named Fern. He is the runt of his litter and lived an amazing life protected by both Fern and Charlotte.
Charlotte was Wilbur's personal Tony Robbins or Joel Osteen, except she wasn't as hyper or slightly nauseating as those two, and she didn't make any money off of her support. She did it because she felt Wilbur needed some help, and she was his friend.
There are days, especially during these menopausal months, when I crave my own Charlotte. I want to wake up with someone cheering me on. I want to look up in my bedroom and see a word describing me that I might not use to describe myself.
I started looking at the various webs in my house (yes, there are quite a few), but I could never detect a special word in there. I decided the problem was that I keep sucking up spider webs in my vacuum, so for a brief period, I quit cleaning to see what words might appear. Finally, one day I imagined a small phrase in a very large web. It said:
The way my luck has gone over the past year, I would probably get a menopausal spider to spin my messages. Rather than waking up to "WONDERFUL!" I would wake up to messages spun in a sloppy web that the spider spent little time on because she got tired and decided to watch a Law and Order marathon.
I would wake up in the morning and look to the corner of my bedroom to receive my motivational message of the day and see incomplete or forgetful messages such as:
Odds are, I would offend my Charlotte in some way, which is not difficult to do during the menopausal years. Let me provide an example. I was in an Aveda store this weekend, and I was waiting to pay for my products as I stood behind the most inquisitive woman in the history of the world.
"Is this the right price? I thought there was a special on this product."
"Do you have the new hairspray I read about? I'll just get this one if not, but I was wondering."
"Do you know if that new makeup is coming in before Christmas? A friend of mine is interested and I promised to check."
I stood in place for at least five minutes waiting to pay for three products as Columbo finished her questioning period. Just as I was about to step up to pay, another woman walked up from my right. Her hair was perfectly coiffed, and she smiled at the cashier knowingly.
I stepped up to the cash register and tried to make eye contact with either the cashier or her trainee, both of whom were ignoring me in favor of this woman who had just sauntered in the store. I felt the rage building and thought to myself, "Don't do it, cashier, don't do it, don't do it ..." and she did it.
"May I help you?" she asked the new customer, ignoring me completely.
I slammed down my products so hard on the counter the hairspray bounced off onto the floor.
"Let's go!" I yelled to my husband. And now Aveda is yet another store from which I have banned myself. Pretty soon I'm going to be limited to Walmart, where everybody is rude and nobody cares.
So, if I offended my quick-to-rage menopausal spider, I might get web messages that I don't want, such as:
Rather than face a menopausal motivator, I think I'll just keep sucking up the spider webs, and re-read "Charlotte's Web." I will dream that Charlotte is speaking to me rather than to Wilbur. I will find myself to be wonderful, terrific and amazing.
And my house will stay clean at the same time.