Women, It’s Okay to Compliment Each Other

Mia Hayes
5 min readOct 4, 2022

You can change someone’s day

photo: Pixabay for Pexels

Children dart around clumps of adults clutching beers and glasses of wine while lost in conversation. On the stage near the parking lot entrance, a band plays crowd favorites and a few women self-consciously do the middle-aged, white woman step-and-shuffle. Carnival games line the perimeter of the parking lot and two tents with table and chairs dominate the middle of the venue.

A good portion of my neighborhood has come out for the annual Fall Festival — if not for the entertainment than for the unlimited booze and barbecue. Most of my friends are here and spread out across the space. I flit between groups, saying hello and confirming after-party plans.

In the past, my anxiety would have turned me into a stressed out mess at an event like this. I would have worried about who was there, who I could latch on to, and run through dozens of disaster scenarios. I wouldn’t be able to relax and would easily drink too much to cope.

But on this pleasantly warm, late September day, I’m at ease. Laughs and giggles fill the air, and I smile. Despite my neighborhood’s many flaws, there is a strong sense of community that I appreciate.

As a little girl barrels toward me, I step right to avoid her, my water bottle hangs from my fingertips. She runs off toward the ax throwing, and I continue toward a table where a few of my girlfriends sit in the shade.

“Hey,” I say. “How are you guys?”

Monika dangles a tiny shoe off her finger. “Bitch, I have kids everywhere and…whatever.” She hugs me, the shoe banging against my back.

I glance at my other friends who are chatting with each other. “I thought you weren’t coming?”

“Sports finished early.” Monika drops onto a folding chair and pulls out the one next to her. “Sit down.”

I shake my head. “I want to stand.” I roll the water bottle in my hand. “I sit too much.”

“Excuse me?”

I spin around. A young woman with long, brown hair stands behind me. She’s in her mid-twenties and looks nervous. I step aside, thinking she wants to tell Monika her kids have done something awful.

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Mia Hayes

40-something trying to live several lifetimes at once. Stay-at-home author, mom, and wife.