A sassy performance: that's what you'd expect from showbiz diva Bette Midler. That's what I expected when I accepted a blogstress invite from the social media team at Virtua Woman healthcare system to see The Divine Miss M speak at Virtua's 7th Annual Symposium last month. And sassy she was, delighting the crowd with tales of the audition that finally clinched the Johnny Carson show (she tore her dress getting out of the cab, her manager did nothing to help hide her "ass hanging out," and left her so pissed off she sang with a fierceness that got her the gig); winking at affairs with famous men (including Bob Dylan, it seems); defining the arc of an actress in Hollywood (ingenue, mother, grandmother, corpse); and even singing a snippet of a song for us, despite being hired only as a keynote speaker.
Here's what I didn't expect: Smart tips on health -- being mindful of what you put into your body ("Eat real food, the stuff around the perimeter of the grocery store. Don't eat anything advertised on TV." ) and how you treat it ("Move every day. Sweat"). A tiny woman, her own best advertisement for such advice, chic in a black dress and boots, slim and fabulous at 65. A deep connection to nature, from her Hawaiian roots to her current New York Restoration Project. Most of all I didn't expect the sweet advice Bette Midler left us all with, the best way to improve your health and the thing she wishes for all women:
"Stop beating yourself up."
Such a simple thought and yet a good one to be reminded of. In the crazy rush of the holiday season, here's a gift we don't have to shop for, one we can give ourselves for free: a break from regret, perfection, coulda-woulda-shoulda, if only. That's a sentiment I'm tucking into my sequin stocking this year. Thank you, Bette.
Image via Bette Midler's Twitter.
"Use the good china for breakfast."