Saturday, July 27, 2013

Whose A&& is That?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  I have a new pal for you! 

Having spent the early part of her career in the sometimes-friendly skies, author Marylu Zuk says she perfected the art of smiling through anything - at least until she was out of the passengers’ sight. (Like what? Like: "Really sir?  You actually need me to buckle your seat belt for you?")  Her career path has taken her from babysitter, to playground supervisor, flight attendant, road warrior, workshop presenter, sales manager and enrollment VP. The titles have changed, but the job responsibilities did not – maintain order and keep people happy. 

An avid people watcher and eternal optimist, Marylu says she always finds the silver lining.  So listen to this--we always wonder where book ideas came from, right? 

While getting ready for a promotions event a few years ago, Marylu says  she used the two-mirror trick to see how she looked in her jeans.  

‘Oh my God! Whose ass is that?!’ she exclaimed… and the idea for her first book was born.

 A storybook for women with illustrations by Traycee Bosle, WhoseA(XX) Is That? –  invites every woman to relax her abs, exhale, and laugh at what we rarely see – our own backsides!

Today, Marylu reminds us that it's all about how you look at it--and not just our rears.

You say it like that's a bad thing.. 

Picture this. Somewhere in your mid-twenties your best-friend and sometimes-roommate blurts out ‘you act like a fifty-year-old woman!’  My reaction of course is a simple, ego-injured, ‘Huh?!’

She then proceeds to pack her bags, ending her post-graduate, three-month visit, and heads back to the east coast for a fabulous new job – leaving me wondering, in the blistering desert sun, what on earth she meant. And it gnawed at me… for a minute.
Perhaps it was the fact that my roman nose was always buried in a book. Sue me, I like to read.

  Or maybe, it was my total aversion to the whole bar scene. Or that I preferred the 4:00am shift at work, which had my alarm going off when most folks my age were rolling into bed. Or, that my fashion sense was inspired by the dominant female presence of my early years - the Sisters of Some Super Holy Saint. Pick one.

Whatever triggered her comment, I responded in my typical non-confrontational style. Rather than ask for clarification, I absorbed the sting and buried those words somewhere deep in the back of my brain with other barbs instead – another story for another day perhaps.

Fast-forward a few decades through my crazy, hectic, working mother, balancing act lifestyle and I, like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole, tripped over and arrived at the 50-year mark.  Seeing that number over and over again on all those birthday cards reminded me of those long ago words.  My friend? She pleads the fifth, claiming no recollection whatsoever.

As for me?  In the interim, I’ve managed to add a bit more color to my wardrobe, overcome those self-diagnosed, nightlife anxiety attacks – ‘yes bartender, top mine off please’ – and have come to realize my dear friend had actually given me a glowing compliment all those years ago.  If I knew then what I know now, my ‘Huh?!’ would have been a sassy ‘you say that like it’s a bad thing’.

I’ve discovered a certain feeling of freedom that comes with each extra candle on my birthday cake.  My vocabulary, while still politically correct, is now peppered with salty language (my father and the nuns would be mortified). But, the most significant personal change has been in my once omnipresent need to control things. It diminishes a bit each day as I continue to morph into a more mindful lifestyle – embracing the whole don’t-sweat-the-small-stuff movement and intentionally focus on enjoying the moment I’m in rather than stressing over what’s passed, and agonizing over what may never come to be.

This mindset change is no doubt attributed to all that nose-in-the-book-reading (that hasn’t changed, by the way) of mountains of self-awareness articles, books and blogs… and just living life. Like those grade school connect-the-dot pictures – life experience itself brings the big picture into focus. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go act like a fifty-year old woman!

How about you? I’d love to hear what you’ve come to embrace on your life’s journey.

HANK: And hey, reds, how do YOU feel about your rear?


  1. Marylu, I love your thoughts on being who you are.

    There is a moment I remember as a laugh and a scream in my head that I had nothing to lose being myself. There is nothing I want more than to be who I am. No reward can top that. No job—no friendship—no possession means more to me than my ability to be able to let go of anything that would manipulate my self.

  2. A great message, Marylu. We all worry too much about dumb stuff. Good luck!

  3. Welcome Marylu--it looks like such a cute book. If you get a chance, leave us one of the rhymes so the other reds can see? The illustrations are gorgeous too!

    Hank warned us earlier in the week that we'd be chatting about our rears:). I feel perfectly fine about mine, but then, I don't use two mirrors...

  4. Nope. Not talking about my tush. Nyuh uh. Was just telling someone earlier that I'm learning to look more at a "no" as an introduction or an opportunity. I realize that makes me sound like a guy with a pocket full of roofies, but I'm trying to teach myself that "no" is information and an opportunity to be gracious which may lead to a "yes" later. Granted, this philosophy is still a work-in-progress, but I wouldn't have even considered this notion without a few decades under my belt. Oops. Guess I am talking about my tush after all. :)

  5. Good morning all and thanks for the warm welcome!

    Share a verse? Why, I'd love to. (author slaps forehead and appreciates Lucy)

    'Every woman,
    or so I'm told,
    whether in her twenties
    or many years old
    has a love-hate relationship
    with her hiney,
    be it extra-venti
    or teeny tiny.'


  6. Well, what a PERFECT start to my day!!! Hank, thank you for introducing us to Marylu, and Marylu, thank you for sharing your life's philosophy - which I think rocks.

    It took me a while to settle into my skin, but once I did, I have to say - I like myself a whole lot. And what is SO liberating is the time in my life when I realized it really didn't matter to me as much as it once had if others liked me as much as I did or not. (TERRIBLE sentence!).


    I had already decided just by seeing the cover of your book that it was one I had to have, by the time I finished reading your post, I knew I'd be buying some extra copies for girlfriend Christmas gifts.

    Next - I really hope to meet you some day.

    In the meantime - how do I feel about my ass? NOT good - off to the gym I go . . .

  7. My behind have been together for some time now, and though gravity is having its way with her, I'm still happy that she keeps right on trailing about after me wherever I go.

    Lovely verse, Marylu! The book sounds like great fun. And I'm with you. Getting older is a good place to be.

  8. Marylu,I think I've learned that as much as I think I can control the future, I can't. I might as well try to have some fun while I'm here. Dear cousin, I never knew all that is you. I am so happy for you.

  9. I'm thrilled you appreciate my philosophy Kaye.... but trust me, I'm still a work in progress!

    And Hallie, you lead me to believe I'm on the right track as your words echo part of another verse.

    '... it follows me wherever I go,
    my bum,
    my tookus,
    my prodigious popo.' ~ MLZuk

  10. Do i look fat in this? how many times have we asked that? And now, I think, well, it is what it is. about almost everything. It's hilarious, Marylu, to have brought us all together about it!

    My grandmother used to say--we grow too soon old, and too late smart It would be nice if there were a way to have known this when we were younger, right? But I embrace it, too--people are always shocked when I tell my age. I say--why not?.

  11. Thanks for the pick-me-up, Marylu! Love your book. Love your Facebook page, which I've LIKED. (I've also stolen your Dustin Hoffman video.)

    I'll be buying your book for my girlfriends, too.

  12. Hank, why DO people cringe from telling their age? I have never understood that whole thing. I didn't understand it when I was 20, and I don't understand it at 64. We age. Right?! Does ANYONE really want to stay young forever? Sorry. another post for another day (but it's one of my hot buttons in case you couldn't tell).

    Marylu, thanks for being my new Facebook friend!

  13. What fun! Thanks for the article. BTW - I've given up mirrors.

  14. Marylu, I need to read your book! I never look at my tush except when trying on clothing, and since I hate shopping and rarely do it, there are few opportunities for tush-looking:-) (But I do know that mine has gotten smaller, because that's what someone told me; let me not think about how much bigger it used to be!)

    I think one of the big changes in me over the years is that I am no longer self-conscious about being the quietest person in a group of people. Now I view the quietness a a gift. I love listening to people and I hear things that others miss. Just a couple of examples: People are surprised to hear that So and So's son is suffering complications from diabetes and didn't know that the person's son was diabetic? She herself told us many months ago that it was diagnosed when he was a child. I was the only person who caught that bit of information; I sat there listening as others gabbed away. Someone mentions in conversation that his daughter is in the running for an award. Next time I see him I ask if she won. Other people from the original conversation are there and are surprised to learn that the daughter was nominated! I want to joke that SOMEONE in the crowd has to be a listener!

    Also, I have come to accept that I'll probably over-react in a crisis but as I have gotten older, instead of staying in crisis mode, I immediately start thinking of all my possible options,and once I come up with a Plan B, I calm down, and usually laugh at my initial reaction. (This makes it SO much easier for me to be WITH me!

  15. And how about the realization "I could be wrong." I LOVE that!
    Im off do do a speech..back later this pm..can;t wait to hear what you all have to say!

  16. I do believe you and I may be cosmic twins Deb, as I too loathe shopping and fancy myself more of an observer/listener... but look out when I've got something to say!

    On the whole shopping front, I recently had 'my colors' done. It was a trend I missed in the eighties that seems to have boomeranged back as most things do. My recent House of Colour session with Julie Petersen prompted me to toss things from my closet that I never liked anyway.

    And my personal evolution continues....

  17. Great string of comments—and I love the popo poems!

    On giving your age, I don't care anymore. I always tell but... People judge on your age like they do on your look. Some places it means your job, or advancement, or something as silly as buying your book.

    My best mother-in-law story happened back when employers could force you to retire at a certain age. When my mother-in-law turned 70 she was forced to retire from her civil-service job with the Navy. She was an accomplished physicist/engineer/technical librarian. She did her best to convince them to allow her to stay and continue her work, but she turned 70 and she had to go. She collected her retirement pay and went down the street to work for a contractor who sent her back to do the very same job that she was doing before she retired. She worked until she was deaf, and her hearing could no longer save her from her blindness.

  18. The older I get, the less makeup I wear.

  19. I don't pay much attention to my backside the rate my boobs are dropping they will all meet about the same place very soon anyway!

  20. Loved the story about your mother-in-law Reine. I gather they were probably paying more for her services as a contractor to boot!

    Kathryn, I'm with you on the make-up :)

    And Tami, you are a hoot!

    G'nite all. This has been awesome!

    XOXO, Marylu

  21. Marylu, I am late to the party, but what a lovely post. It's great to read about a woman who knows herself and likes herself.

    Embracing your life's journey. Yes. Because your life will keep going, so you might as well participate in the ride.

  22. It's never too late Ramona, hopefully others will continue to stumble onto this as well.

    Cheers to you, and thanks for the Facebook add!