Nancy Roman

Wearing My Heart On My Sleeve

This morning a nice friend I’m just getting to know was discussing her mother. It seems her mother was a tennis instructor for many years. She’s now retired and neither teaches tennis nor even plays any longer.

However, she still wears her tennis outfits. Not once in a while – but extremely often. Like all the time often. She wears her little tennis skirts and sneakers to the grocery store and the library.

It’s who she is.

And I love that.

I love that we can send messages about who we are on the inside by what we wear and look like on the outside.

Some people do that with designer labels. I confess, I love the Coach bag my husband gave me for my birthday a few years ago.

Some people do that with slogan t-shirts. (and once in a while, I am even one of those people)


Some people do that with ethnic clothing that represents their heritage or religion. Like kilts or saris or hijabs.

Some people do that with the uniforms of their professions or hobbies – like nurses or cable tv repairmen – or tennis players.

Some people do that by wearing a costume once in while to break out of their own stereotype and make a freer statement. I think the fact that my all-time favorite Halloween costume is Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz says a whole lot about me.

Some people do that with crazy hairstyles or eccentric makeup – to signal that they are not about to conform.

Some people – currently a lot of people – do that with tattoos.

I personally don’t like tattoos. (although I am not condemning those who do.)

But I’ll admit that I’m impressed by those peoples’ commitment and by their complete confidence that their identities will never change. To use permanent ink to make a permanent statement about who you are takes a level of faith that I do not have.

I believe what I believe with my whole heart.

But what if my heart should change?

I was born a brunette.  I used to wear frilly anklets with sandals. In 1962, I wanted to be a cheerleader. In 1968, I wanted to be a nurse. In 1974, I wanted to be a writer. In 1981, I got an MBA. In 1997, I was a Vice President of Finance.  In 2001, I became a writer.

I want to show the world what I am – but I want flexibility to change what I am if I want to.  My Statement is fluid.

Right now I am telling the world about myself:

I love a nice rosy blush, because it presents my rosy outlook.

I love soft clothes. Even when I wear black or grey, I like a fabric that is soft. That feels warm to the touch. That gives comfort. Soft clothes represents my accessibility.

I love to wear my leopard print raincoat, because it is practical and funky at the same time – and so am I.

I love my blond hair – I want to tell the world that 66 is not old.

I love good jewelry. I am the real thing. I am valuable.

But I could change.

I could want grey hair (which would be pretty easy for me right now) and present the image of a kindly grandmother – which would also be nice. Or I could decide I wanted to show the world that I am earthy and practical, and swap my designer purse for a burlap bag – (a cool one, though.)

I think most people would benefit by keeping an open mind about their own mind.

For example:

Suppose someone gave you a GREAT hat. But months later you realized that the person who gave you the hat was not so GREAT.

Why, you could just take it off.

red cap1






  1. I completely agree. The only tattoo I’ve ever seen that I could even remotely, possibly consider was a tiny little gray kitty face right at the edge of a gal’s toes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, something on the foot isn’t too objectionable to me. A little flower maybe. But on the other hand, I love my bare skin.


      • Bobbi

        totally agree….there is something sexy about bare skin….not sexy with tattoos and then I can’t get over the fact that you are putting art that may not be that great all over one of the greatest pieces of art that there is.

        Liked by 1 person

        • nice way to be put it!


  2. Have you heard of the Green Lady of Brooklyn?

    she is a prime example of what you are talking about – the world needs more people like her and the mum of your friend.
    And as another 66yr old, I absolutely agree that we are not old, I’m blondish and I like it!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. daveyone1

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..


  4. SuzyM

    I love your comment (along with the rest of your story!), about wearing a rosy blush, so you can present a rosy outlook! What rosy blush do you like?!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny you should ask! I just started a beauty blog – because – why not? Anyway right now I like Milani’s baked blush in Dolce Pink. Not expensive and lovely product. See my review here:


      • SuzyM

        This is great! Thank you for your reply. I am also going to check out a few other items you mentioned on your agebeforebeauty blog. I love how you write and am excited to read up on beauty things too! Take Care!


  5. Roxanne

    HA! Good one! (the hat!) Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I often fondly (and sometimes with a touch of horror) look back on photos of myself at the various stages of my life and in every single one I see my ‘outlook’ on life at the time reflected in the clothes I’m wearing. One of the first things I did when I retired was to clear out my closet and replace all my ‘professor’ clothes with comfy outfits I could wear at home, to the store, or out to lunch/dinner with friends. I like this phrase of my life and hope my ‘outward appearance’ reflects my outlook.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doesn’t it feel great to discard the old staid wardrobe and become someone entirely different?


  7. Chris

    Just for the record, I don’t plan on wearing my drum corps uniform to the public library, although I once wore it when returning my books to the Spinning Guild library (on my way to a parade) and I wore it last month when I had lunch with Mary (I was cold!) after the St. Pat’s parade. (I changed out of it for the trip to the movie theatre.) I probably look like I fell out of an LL Bean catalog but that’s not what I want to portray. I want to look like Laura Thyme in “Rosemary and Thyme.” But there’s always “time.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you have a vision of how you would want to look, why wouldn’t you start now?


  8. Cathy Daisy

    Hi Nancy, I appreciate how subtle you can be and still make a point. Now that I’m retired at age 62, I feel like a “softer” version of even my 52 year old self. I’ve let my hair go grey but don’t have as severe a cut as I did then. I’m also wearing softer, more casual clothes. I’m still me but older, wiser, more comfortable in my skin with nothing to prove to anybody. Relaxed is the word, I guess. Life is good.


    • It sounds as if you have found just the right place for you right now. Good for you.


  9. I agree about getting a tattoo…way too much permanence for me! And I like the way you distinguish between completely believing something and permanently believing something. Because you’re right: they are not at all the same thing!


    • Who knows who I will be tomorrow?


  10. I am retired and happy being me. I dress in clothes mostly from consignment stores, but mostly I never dress up like I did for 45 years teaching. I wear braids to show my ” inner African American royalty” and I love my hair and my life. I blog all night and read all day or take trips to visit museums and libraries. It is important that everyone realize who they are and what makes them happy before we transition. I am thankful I lived this long.


    • I love the place you are in!


  11. At my vast age I wear my hair grey. Why oh why did I spend all that time and money keeping it blonde? And clothes – I discarded all my wear to work gear and now mostly can be seen wearing my NDY jeans whether to lunch, to town or around the house. So yes, I’m saying I’m older than I once was but still care about how I look. Oh by the way, I do dress when invited out for dinner but wear my flat shoes these days.


    • I think it’s important to still care about the way you look… we just care about different things as we get older.


  12. Oh I agree. Totally. No tattoos for me. First because I hate needles. Second because I hate permanence. We had similar growing up experiences…I graduated high school in 74, wanted to do….who knows. Got my BA in 78 in marketing. Got my MBA in 88. Was VP at a bank in 90. Went back to school got a Masters in Information in 2008. Life changes…and stays the same all at the same time. I’m currently 1/3 grey…as I missed my last two ‘blond’ appointments with my hairdresser. She’s going to faint when I see her next week. But I’m considering now would be the time to just let it go. We’ll see. Probably not.


    • I’m not ready to go grey yet… but who knows?… I could change my mind. And that’s the whole point. I like impermanence.


  13. I have a couple of tattoos myself and in fact all my daughters have them as does my husband but I don’t like people who cover their whole body in them can’t see the point and don’t think they look that good either


    • I may not like tattoos myself, but I don’t decide for other people. My niece is one of my favorite people in the world, and she has multiple tattoos. I wish she didn’t, but I don’t love her any less.


  14. Pam

    I feel the same as you and the commenters about changing as we age.

    I would never get a tattoo and that is not gonna change. I’ve never seen one that I liked, and a tattoo always looks like a bruise to me at first glance; the colors are ugly, too. They look trashy to me. Just sayin’. I’m always embarrassed for the person with the tattoo, and then I realize that they don’t feel the same way because they usually are exposing them with pride. And like you, I have lovely nephews who have them, and I don’t love them any less.

    I get the hat joke! Good advice! 😉


  15. Oh nooooo!!! Not a ‘great’ hat!!! But I love what you say about it. Oh, and about that mom who wears her tennis outfit everywhere? Just be glad she wasn’t a swimming instructor.


  16. I do have tattoos and I love them. In fact I am planning to get a new one to celebrate that I just turned 60. My first one was when I was 30 and my second one was for my 50th birthday. No one sees them. What they do see is that I cut off my hair and coloured it purple. I love it! It’s a style I’ve never had before and a colour I most definitely never had before. It’s me, though.


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  1. Wearing My Heart On My Sleeve — notquiteold – Share Art

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