One beautiful sunny day I was at one of my favorite restaurants where I live in Bend, Oregon called Jackson’s Corner. I was eating lunch when all of a sudden from around the corner, I heard, “how’s your salad, Ma’am?”

Why when I hear someone call me Ma’am do I absolutely cringe?

Yes I am 42-year-old woman, and a mom of two young kids but I never think of myself as a Ma’am. It’s not that I want to be in my 20’s or even 30’s, birthdays do not scare me. Ask any of my close or even not so close friends if I mind celebrating another year, hell no, I want the town to shut down the week of my birthday, but I do mind being called Ma’am. I think it is not about my age, but about the image Ma’am seems to represent to me. I picture an older southern woman, in an apron, stirring a big pot of stew or something. Not that anything is wrong with any of these things, they just do not seem like me.

This is me, the blonde, with Michael Franti from Spearhead. And not two hours later I was at his concert dancing up a storm to his freeing music and running around like a teenager.

Part of my journey of cracking open is accepting that I am getting older and wiser. That my body does not recover from my 1 or maybe 2 glasses as wine as easy as it use to or that I want to hit the hay at 10 pm verses midnight. But what is not part of my cracking open journey is the title of Ma’am, thank you very much!