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Senior Correspondent

Sometimes, even when we look confident on the outside, we’re pulled off our game by little hidden insecurities that seem so petty. Let me know if this holds true for you.

It amazes me when it happens. I mean, I travel all over the world. I talk to presidents and prime ministers of countries. In four different languages. Most of the time nothing rattles me. But sometimes I get caught off guard…Let me tell you how it last happened.

It’s Thanksgiving day. It’s around 2:30 and I don’t have to be at Thanksgiving dinner at my friends’ house until 6:00. It’ll take 45 minutes to get there, so I have to leave by 5:00. (I’m always 10 or 15 minutes late leaving the house, whether it’s feeding the cats or checking my email one last time, so I pad my timing.) So, I should start bathing and cleaning up at 4:00. I hate to rush.

That leaves an hour and a half. It’s such a gorgeous day, maybe I’ll just do a little gardening. I have ample time to cut back some branches…and maybe the big palm fronds that have covered over the water feature…they’ve grown so tall.

I always get lost in my gardening. Once the branches and fronds were cut back, I noticed the huge ferns around the banyan had exploded. Beautiful, but overwhelming. And they were actually climbing up the tree! How? Well, the Vanda orchid has sent out masses of air roots that are attaching themselves to whatever they find and creating a sort of ladder for the ferns. Okay, I’ll cut back the ferns…I should still have time.

I finally got back inside and started the water for my bath. (Yes, I love baths. My mother used to draw one for me each morning and I’ve never let go of that memory.)

While the tub filled, I decided to check the Black Friday offer I had put up with help from Tiffany Johnson (she’s great at WordPress, by the way, if you need someone.) I figured I’d just change a thing or two, maybe the images. (Can you see where this is going?)

Suddenly it was almost 5:00. Quick, into the bathtub! In…out…dry off.

Then the doubts began.

I have put on 3 pounds this month, so I’m no longer at my nice, new low weight. I’ll have to pick a top that hides it. (As if anyone but me would notice the 3 pounds.) And I had my hair cut this week. I said, “Let’s do something radical,” and radical it is. So short, my brothers wear their hair longer, and they’re conservative types. Super short, G.I. Jane-short, like half an inch on the sides. And are my ears too big? (My brothers called me Dumbo as a kid and I slept with bubble gum behind my ears, wearing a tight headband so my ears might bend back closer to my head.) Now I kept telling myself “I have a great shaped head, so it’s okay.” But doesn’t it look a little “unfeminine?”

(Does any of this sound at all familiar?)

Well, I’ll put on more makeup than usual. I’ll wear the sexy espadrilles I bought in France recently, and my tight jeans that slim me down. Stay casual, Sharon. I put on some super expensive necklaces, stunners, from Venice, Italy. Maybe no one will focus on my hair. And I threw on a soft, sloppy white cotton top that hides all ills. And that says, “I just threw myself together to come hang out for awhile…"

Maybe I don’t have to go. Oh, but my friend Marta will be so disappointed if I don’t show up. And, besides, what am I going to eat now, I haven’t planned anything else. Sharon, it’s Thanksgiving.

Besides, I’m all made up.

I love Marta and her immediate family, but I feel awkward with their extended family and friends. Maybe I’ll just stay home.

It’s 5:45 and I cannot drive 40 miles in 15 minutes. Even if I do drive fast.

I’ll call her and say I’m on my way, but late. I’ll say they should go ahead and eat if the food’s ready. I’ll just nudge my way into a table somewhere and have a glass of wine when I get there.

I got there at 6:40 with Marta texting me…lovingly…“Chica, where are you?”

Imagine, I used to fly from Rio to Buenos Aires to get my hair cut. (You can bet I never said, “Let’s do something radical.”) And I’ve worked the dangerous border between Colombia and Venezuela, where they kidnap people. I take on challenges without a second thought, things many people would never even think of doing.

Yet 3 pounds, an overly short haircut and some perfectly nice people I don’t know are enough to turn me into Jell-O. Pull out all my insecurities.

Am I the only one? Does this happen to you? What do you think causes it?

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