It happened…

…to me

I have read about this happening.  I have known other people it has happened to.  I guess I always knew that it would happen to me one day.  But when it does, it is devastating.  I was crushed.  OMG!  I have been ma’am ed!

Recently I was going into a shop, intent on buying something inconsequential, when I was approached.  What happened next changed me for the rest of my life.  An attractive young man walked up to me, wide eyed and smiling.  He said ”Can I help you ma’am?”  Ma’am.  Ma’am? MA’AM?

Evidently I have reached an age where I am no longer a ‘miss’ I am a ‘ma’am’.  I know the young man was being respectful but it is difficult when that word hits your ears for the first time.  I can no longer give credence to the image I have in my head of a sweet young thing.  I have aged.  I am old.  Wait!  I am so not there yet!

Okay, okay.  Perhaps I’m being a little ridiculous.  But women everywhere understand what it’s like to be greeted with that honorific for the first time.  Yes, It is a sign of respect.  But to the individual it is so much more.  I guess I have reached the age when my mere presence is grounds for respectfulness.  I still think of myself as a silly young woman when in reality I have reached Junior-Senior status.

When we are born we form an opinion of ourselves that is rudimentary.  We eat, we sleep, we evacuate.  There is no nice way to say we poop!  It is the cycle of life.  We are born, we live, we die.  It is the living part that gets messy.

As we grow up our opinion of ourselves changes.  We start to accept others’ opinions.  We often give more weight to the opinion of strangers even though they do not know us.  I have reached an age where I am able to dispense with a lot of the baggage that I grew up with.  I look inwards for validation instead of outwards.  And that doesn’t mean I don’t welcome the opinions of others.  It just means that I don’t only rely on others to feel good about myself.  I like who I am.  Some days I am drop-dead gorgeous!  I refuse to give credence to the reflection in a mirror when I’m in such a good mood!

Okay I have also noticed that I have slowed down a little bit.  Part of that of course is because I have multiple sclerosis and I’m in a wheelchair.  But yes I have to admit that perhaps part of that is because I am getting, cough, cough, cough, older.

We live in a world of fast cars, fast food and fast computes. Hurry up,  faster, faster. Deadlines. Time is money, early bird catches the worm.  Is it any wonder we seem to be programmed from infancy to see the world at 100 kms an hour? 

I guess a little more rethinking has to be done as to my place in this world.  My time here may be finite but I ain’t done yet!  Maybe I’ll just slow down a wee bit.

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I am a woman with a mission: to live life to the fullest. I will not let an itty, bitty incurable disease stop me. It may slow me down but like a ship dragging an anchor, I'll get there eventually. Walk with me at

18 thoughts on “It happened…”

  1. See! I’m from the south and we get called ma’am from the minute we can talk AND I’ve been called Miss Lisa my whole life. BUT this really made me think. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Age is just a number 😉

    Great read!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. At that level you could have at least punched him in the kneecap and gave him an ear bashing when he bent over. The hide of these whipper snappers.
    I, miss Quiall, think (and feel) that young heart of yours in your writing. And appreciate the wisdom that it has gained. The ‘boy’ has a long way to go.
    By the way, why does the woman have a ‘ma’m’ and the male counterpart still just have ‘Mr’ ? Another one of those sexist, mis…miscony…miscongisty (however you spell it) things in life again!
    (I looked it up…misogynist…wrap your tongue around that and not smile, sounds like a medical term gone wrong. At least it starts with mis 😀 )

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  3. Now you’re starting to get it!
    I’m glad to see you in a positive mood.
    I’ve been calling women “Ma’am” forever. It’s a southern thing to do.
    My first realization that I may be construed as “older’ was this;
    “Here, let me get that for you, sir”
    Thanks, sonny….

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  4. I feel ya. And you would have felt it even much earlier if you were here because people here say “Ma’m” and “Sir” very often, it’s an everyday thing. We even use those for people we know — Ma’m Quiall, Sir Whoever (foreigners tend to be weirded out by the “Sir+name” thing, because it’s not like they’re knighted or anything).

    I’m used to “Ma’m,” being from here, but what gets to me is when some call me “Missus” (Mrs.), because my brain automatically equates that to looking frumpy from having kids and–wait a minute–I am frumpy! I was even called “Nanay” or Mother which got to my ego even worse…Before anyone objects, I’d like to say there’s no offense meant, especially for moms, and my logical brain tells me I shouldn’t think/feel this way. It’s just the culture of today when there is so much “lookism” has been ingrained in me (and you, for sure). It’s vanity, vanity, vanity.

    At least on some days, I feel prettier. We all should really be kinder to ourselves and look at our other positive traits. (This really is a “Note to Self,” he he)

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    1. I do agree with you. The kid was being respectful. I do love the picture of me in my head: drop dead gorgeous! I get annoyed when reality intrudes! Hahaha


  5. I enjoyed this piece! I don’t have any problems with ma’am. I kinda like it. Over here in Asia, they like to call older women – aunty. “Hey, aunty – how can I help you? Would you like some sugar for your coffee, aunty?” Then they give me the eye, as if to indicate that I should not be having that much sugar at my age! HAHA

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