Guest Post – Girl: Rediscovered

25 Aug

Today’s guest post comes from a fellow blogger that’s been a great supporter of TTTM. Erika Napoletano is RedheadWriting. She is single, an admitted shoe and cycling gear whore and lives on the east side of Denver with her two dogs and two cats. Her website is a bastion for unpopular thoughts and blunt advice and at age 37.75, she still believes in true love, unicorns and the power of a banana milkshake to deliver salvation.

I stared into my closet like it was a pile of receipts at tax time. How had this happened?

While I was sleeping (or while I had better things to do), someone snuck into my closet and replaced my cuteness with…comfortable. Colorado chic. BLARGH.

After throwing up just a touch, it began. Piece by piece, the clothes landed on the bed. Frumpy,  Bought and Never Worn, From 2004, Hadn’t Worn in Two Years and Who the FUCK Bought THAT all had a gang bang on my bed. Then: the shoes. Rejects from my corporate attire days and others that are entirely too comfortable…IN THE PILE!

When I finished, I was left with a spartan space, but one with infinite potential.

It was time to go and find my girl. The bitch had run off and I had an idea where she was lurking.

I moved to Colorado in November of 2008 and I used to have cute clothes. Fresh from the loins of Las Vegas, I came with a closet full of kickass clothes and sexy, fetish-like walk-on-my-back-and-ask-me-if-you-can-have-another-Mistress shoes. Somewhere between then and now, I moved into REI’s Women’s Department. It was unacceptable.

Now, I know this might seem to be a rant about “where the fuck are all my cute clothes?!” but it’s more one about “where the fuck did I go?” ME. That girl. Underneath a no-bullshit, I Can Take Care of Myself, business-owning, self-sustaining exterior, I’m unapologetically GIRL. I cried when I watched Marley and Me and will run screaming from spiders. I love to cook and think anything pink is a complete win. I just named my new road bike Barbie. My cycling shoes are metallic floral and I put a dash of lip gloss on before I go for a ride. But sometime in the past two years, I’d let ME fall by the wayside in the pursuit of everything else.

A long-ish term relationship that had so many things I liked but nothing I needed.

A career shift that was everything wonderful but occasionally all-consuming.

The gift of new friends and the discovery of new passions.

It was ALL good shit. And now, I stared into a closet filled with shit because somewhere between Vegas and Denver, I didn’t have to get dressed for work in the morning anymore.

I popped by Talk Thirty to Me last week and saw theVar musing about career angst. One particular phrase jumped out at me: “I must be doing something right. But why can’t I feel this way all the time, and how do I conquer it or at least move on pass the ‘woe is me’ bit?” If that’s not the quinte-fucking-ssential  question, right? We’re doing something right but in the process, we start doing a whole buncha wrong stuff. It’s like an awesome pair of skinny jeans from Lucky Brand and someone says “OOOOO! That would look cute with a tube top!” and you head face-first into a 2nd place finish in a Britney Spears lookalike contest.

His post made me realize something: I’d ignored myself. From November of 2008 until, well, right about recently, I’d ignored ME. Which means I ignored my GIRL. And when I figured it out, I couldn’t blame her for heading out on the town without me.

Fuck that bitch and her work, yo. I’m going to Nordie’s!

There are a gazillion things that make us feel good, but when we lose sight of them, shit just rolls downhill.  Looking good is one of those feel good things, right? Gawd, when was the last time I actually dolled-up and looked beyond “presentable?” Enough already.

Last week, it started by getting my hair done for the first time since early June. I went to the dentist (while this does not build character, my mother would be delighted). I purged my closet of all the Colorado hippie crap and hauled my ass straight to BCBGMaxAzria and bought some GIRL clothes. I walked into Sephora and when the cutesie-poo semi-goth girl asked how she could help me, I simply said, “Look at me. I need all the help I can get.” And she helped me. She also helped my debit card.

I then did rather vulgar things at DSW Shoes and on the way home from my GIRL-gathering extravaganza, I stopped at the Barnes & Noble on Colorado down by Glendale. I walked in, grabbed a Skinny Caramel Latte (medium, because shit comes in small/medium/large regardless of what Starbucks says), and plopped my spendalicious ass in a floofy chair.

And I watched.

I didn’t grab a book. I didn’t read. I didn’t whip out my iPad.

I watched.

And I enjoyed ME.

Because everything in my car, wrapped in tissue paper and placed gingerly in fancy-pant bags was just one part of the GIRL I’d missed so much. Sitting in that chair was the other part.

I missed desperately the ME that took the time to watch. Listen. Take mental notes that would later turn into stories. Overhear snippets of conversation as the lives of others swarmed around me.

And I really looked forward to doing it again very soon. Yet the next time, I suspect I’ll be wearing a killer pair of BCBG heels and will welcome the chair’s soft embrace a bit more.

I’m GIRL: rediscovered. And it took some tough love to unearth her, but this bitch isn’t going anywhere without me anytime soon.

PS: and a very special thanks to my friend, Lisa Hempel, who gave me a phrase to live by: “Feel like shit, look damn good.” There’s no excuse to do it any other way. Thanks, Lisa. More than you know.


31 Responses to “Guest Post – Girl: Rediscovered”

  1. Erika Napoletano August 25, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    Thanks for having me, guys :) (shucks – digs toe in sand)

    • theVar August 25, 2010 at 10:14 am #

      hehehe…it was our pleasure. I knew something for our readers was bottled up in there. Now, I want to see you and your Girl giving ’em hell.

      • Erika Napoletano August 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

        Oh, I’m giving ’em hell. Giving my bank account hell, too, but it can suck it ;-)

  2. MC August 25, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Good on you. Lessons to be learned here for men like me, too.

    And, complete swoon.

    • theVar August 25, 2010 at 11:12 am #

      And from the men. I agree 100%, MC.

    • Erika Napoletano August 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

      Awww – I got a “swoon?” (blushing) Shucks…

  3. enyabiznass August 25, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    I’ve had this same rediscovery on the horizon for a while. I suppose I need to just schedule it in…

    • Erika Napoletano August 25, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

      Scheduling YOU in is tough. Oh, believe me, I know! But I’m really enjoying washing the makeup off my face each evening now. It reminds me that I made time for ME. Find whatever it takes to make time for YOU. Glad you stopped by today.

  4. P.S. Jones August 25, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    I feel the same way. I’m not an advanced femininity user like you are Erika, but I often look up and wonder where’s the girl that I love so much. Oh yeah, she’s working hard for the money. Or taking care of yet another stray person or pet she took in. Or just doing anything but taking care of herself. There’s nothing better than doing something FOR YOURSELF. (I don’t care what those greeting cards say.) And before I even finished reading this post halfway, I pulled out my phone and made a hair appointment for myself. Let’s do this!

    (BTW I love “Feel like shit. Look damn good.” My apologies in advance to both you and Lisa. I plan on taking that, using it everywhere and claiming that I made it up ;-)

    • Erika Napoletano August 25, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

      I owe that awesome phrase to Lisa. I’m sure she’ll be delighted when she lands back in CO from CA this week to see I’m embracing it! Thanks for stopping by today :)

  5. Suzanne August 25, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    Love it! I moved from downtown Houston to a ski town (Steamboat, specifically). I used to wear heels everyday, now when I put them on, it seems like a mission… something needs to change here.

    • Erika Napoletano August 25, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

      Your heels LOVE you. Love them back. (And I grew up in Houston – isn’t Colorado a great change?!)

  6. Amanda Farough August 25, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    Guilty as charged. Swift kick in the ass received.

  7. Joyce Raby August 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm #


    I love you. I will not bear your child but I will hole up somewhere in a love nest and spoon feed you Vosges Chocolates and Ben & Jerry’s until you beg me to stop.

    I moved to Fort Collins from Washington DC two years ago. I threw out every uptight, sphincter-clutching, hose-requiring piece of clothing I owned. No black, no navy, no brown, no gray. Pink, Teal, Purple, Turquoise (did you know turquoise is the universal color? EVERYONE looks good in it) and often all on the same day. I took up serious cycling (sorry, my Orbea Diva kicks Barbie’s ass) and made friends with Skirt Sports, Lululemon, Lucy’s and yes REI. And in the process of yanking that Federal-Government-Sized-Corn-Cob out of my tailpipe, I found my girly girl girl.

    I will now share with you all the things I have learned to keep comfortable shoes, flannel, waif skirts and “hiker babe chic” at bay:

    1) Never walk out the door without lipstick. Not gloss honey, but lipstick. (Revlon Colorstay Ultimate will last as long as a trip around Rist Canyon) If you have time, apply mascara. The guys working at Whole Foods will LOVE you.

    2) Shave.

    3) Pedicures. No Colorado hippy chick gets her toes done. Let’s be different shall we?

    4) Hankies – okay maybe I am weird but snot rockets are not for girls. Carrying a hanky for nose blowing (I do it on runs, cycling, kayaking) IS possible. If you are feeling French, spray the hanky with perfume.

    5) Read the following books – Mama Gena’s Guide to the Womanly Arts, Finding Your Inner French Girl, Simply Irresistible: Unleash Your Inner Siren and Mesmerize Any Man, with Help from the Most Famous–and Infamous–Women in History. There is worthy stuff in there.

    6) Dress up and go out to eat occasionally. Not just Grab and Go but go to a *nice* place with cloth napkins. Order the appetizer. Flirt with the waiter. Savor the food. Take for fricken’ EVER to finish. Linger.

    There is pleasure in being a woman. There is so much pleasure in being unapologetically who you are. Pleasure leads to contentment. Bliss my ass. Take pleasure as your guide instead.

    If you are ever in Fort Collins, I promise you dinner at Enzio’s.

    • Erika Napoletano August 25, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

      I want to make love to you. Lord have mercy, you did NOT challenge Barbie to a duel! ;-)

      I take myself out to dinner regularly – it’s the one thing I didn’t lose. I call it date night, and when anyone asks, “So how did it go?” the answer is ALWAYS a resounding “FAB! I think I’ll be doing it again!”

      • Joyce Raby August 26, 2010 at 10:54 am #


        I am doing Venus De Miles this Sunday in Longmont; Diva wants Barbie to join us. [Diva gave me a stern talking to about throwing down the gauntlet in such a testosterony way – She apologizes profusely on my behalf].

        I will bring you some Kilwin’s Chocolate if you come (only found in Fort Collins!).

        I am riding with a friend of mine, Amy, and her as-yet-unamed-bike. The ride is for a good cause (Greenhouse Scholars) and is for women only [so husbands and boyfriends stay home]. And of course we are doing the 67 mile loop. :-) We would love to have you join us!


    • Annie Anderson August 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

      Joyce –

      Great list! I love it. I’m going to write it down and every time I get lost in that other space (ie – forget where my girl is), I’m gonna come back here and reread this. Thanks for the reminders.

  8. Jim Raffel August 25, 2010 at 7:07 pm #


    Oh dear god the similarities of our lives (OK, I’m a boy so it’s a little different) scare the shit out of me. But not really. It’s probably why I’m drawn to your writing. Each time I read one of you pieces I find myself nodding. I went from shopping at Boss on Sunset in LA (whenever I traveled their, which was frequently at one point) to *nods* uh-huh REI. I’ve recently discovered Banana Republic (well the outlet I’m cheap these days) which is a nice compromise between Boss and my wallet. Anyway, it’s late I’m rambling but I suspect you get the point. I’d lost ME and over the last year have re-found ME. I’m a pretty cool dude and I like hanging out with ME again.

    • Erika Napoletano August 25, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

      I’m glad you rediscovered your Dude, Jim :) It’s always great to see you pop in when I crank something out. And nothing wrong with the ‘Nana! I love their style (well, my GIRL does!).

  9. Sylvia August 25, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    As usual, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Went through the same thing recently, lost 14 lb., and am still cleaning out my closet. Flannel shirts and sweatpants make great bonfire material…..

    • Erika Napoletano August 25, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

      Honey – throw that flannel and fleece on top of my pile and we can make popcorn and watch a big ‘ol clothes orgy. Congrats on the new you that will look sexy in anything, I’m sure :)

  10. denise August 26, 2010 at 6:49 am #

    This is fabulous. As are you. I came here through a retweet and I clicked my way over. Bravo to you for listening to your stomach cringe at the current status and an even bigger high five for doing something about it. Wahoo!

  11. Michelle Mangen August 26, 2010 at 7:24 am #


    I so needed to read this…..remember our Twitter convo RE when I bought myself flowers the other week? Yeah, that was my first step to re-discovering my “girl”. And last week I cut out early and got a pedicure……

    I’ve been watching the “Plain Jane” show on TV recently and realized that somehow – between being a mom and biz owner that I’ve become “Plain Jane” (never had Vegas in me!) and voila…..that’s when I realized I had lost the “girl” in me.

    In many ways it’s a tad comforting to know that other people are going through the same thing. And, of course, your style of describing it makes me laugh through the entire post.

    • Erin Margolin August 26, 2010 at 8:32 am #

      I think you must be in my brain. Or you have just written about me.

      I need a personal shopper. I can go to Nordie’s, but I can’t put a cute/hip/fashion savvy outfit together to save my life.

      I’ve been a SAHM in KANSAS for the last 4.5 years and my closet is full of 12 kinds of frumpy. And makeup? Are you kidding me? I don’t have a clue. Give me some tinted lip gloss and mascara and that is gettin’ all fancy for me.

      I do need to rediscover my girl. Just b/c I stay at home doesn’t mean I can’t do it up…


  12. physician assistant August 27, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    nice post. thanks.

  13. Annie Anderson August 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Oh, what a delicious post, Erika!

    There must be a revolution among us thirty-somethings as I’ve been in this same space recently. Although I’ve always been more tomboyish than uber girly, my girl was still lost. Thanks for ass-kicking. ;-)

  14. Friction August 30, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    I love it! I’m not what you would call a girly girl, but recently a friend expected me to show up in jeans and a t-shirt and it dawned on me that I’d become “that girl.” I was even more recently promoted and given a nice raise and took the opportunity of a day off work and a happy body image day to go buy myself some work dresses. I feel amazing. Hose and heels and décolletage have brought my sexy back :)

  15. junebugsgirl September 27, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    OK, I have always wanted to find my inner girl but have never quite managed to convince her to come out and play… now that I have all the inspiration and guidelines I need, I am pulling out the heels and hose tomorrow and I can’t wait to see the reaction at the office. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
    My Cannondale, Lightning, will thank you too tomorrow night when I take her out for a spin with our new found lip gloss glow!


  1. Rediscovering My "Girl" and Shit You Need to Know | Erika Napoletano is Redhead Writing - August 25, 2010

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