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Embracing the Future While Honoring the Past - Cruella Style

My favorite villain has always been Cruella DeVille. I'm not sure why 'cuz I'm a pretty nice person. My friend, mentor, and former boss when I worked at the Chester County Independent tried to teach me "how to get your bitch on." Sue Hite said it was important for me to learn this skill.

Sixteen years later my daughter and I attended my son's graduation from basic training in Oklahoma. Sue met us at the airport to "hug our necks" and visit for a few minutes. I told Jeanna that Sue tried to teach me and another employee to get our bitch on. Sue laughed and said, "I really tried, even made some progress with Michelle. But your mom? Not so much."

So why do I have such an affinity for Cruella? I don't know. Maybe she is my inner bitch trying to get out. Or maybe it's the crazy way she drives and her high fashion sense. Whatever it is, I've donned her persona for two separate Halloween-themed work events.

The first time I dressed as Cruella, I was a 23-year-old periodicals clerk at Casper College. It was my first big girl job. I hadn't graduated college, had children, or learned that my brand new marriage would end after 12 years instead of the lifetime I expected. This OG Cruella had no idea what today's Cruella would accomplish.

Today's Cruella wears The Future mask, because she is her own future. In the past 30 years she has completed two associates degrees, and a bachelors degree. She became a master of journalism and a doctor of strategic leadership. When she went to work as an executive assistant to the CEO of the Wyoming Association of REALTORS, she had no idea she would move into the CEO position three years later and stay in that role for seven years. She hoped for a son and a daughter, but never dreamed she'd have both and later have a boy choose her to be his unofficial official mom. She had no idea she'd take multiple mission trips to Africa and serve on the Horizon International board of directors. In 30 years she lost a husband and a gallbladder, but gained innumerable loved ones, experiences, and skills.

Today's Cruella spends her days looking into her future as a mom, mother-in-law, grandma, friend, business owner and author. She appreciates the OG Cruella, but does not long for her or want to trade places (except maybe the OG body).

Today's Cruella is still a nice person, but she's no longer terrified of conflict. She knows the value of confronting issues before they fester and get out of control. She knows the difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking. She knows how to set positive boundaries, how to forgive herself for past mistakes and to offer herself grace for future mistakes. She knows how to create the white space to dream, plan, and execute.

She has learned how to get her bitch on, transform her wishes into reality, and still be a nice person!

Thirty years after my first stint as Cruella, I donned The Future costume for the 2021 Spooktacular Business Expo hosted by the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce. There was a younger Cruella at the event. Just as I would not trade places with my OG Cruella self, I didn't feel threatened by or jealous of this gorgeous, younger Cruella impersonator. She's on her journey, I'm on mine. And I like where I'm at. Would I like to be a little further down the road with my business and weight loss goals? Sure. But, as I've learned, no one is perfect. We never fully arrive, because life is the journey, not the destination. The destination is the afterlife, so for now, I'm content and happy to continue journeying on toward meeting a third iteration of Cruella in another 30 years. I wonder what an 83-year-old Cruella will look like!


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