A bit of a confession here, truth be told I hope I am not alone on this one. I don’t think I am.
I am embarrassed, even ashamed to say that I am really no good at having girl friends. I have had only a few ever. Those of you who know who you are… woah, you ladies are fucking special. I’ve never really been a part of that crew, the girl herd, the on Wednesday’s we wear pink type crew.
Why? I am not totally sure, but I really do think about it a lot. Probably too damn much. Leaving the house today, I was reminded (in an uncomfortable fashion) of a possible set of reasons I’m typically hangin’ with the boys. Our neighbors were having their fall fest party with plenty of little kids and tons of people. Usually around a hundred or so come to carve pumpkins and play with bubbles on the block. Really, it is quite cute and so damned suburban. But as I was leaving the house while they were all outside, I felt it again. I felt the stares, saw the disapproving looks the mean muggin’ hard from the moms, while their husbands gawked (for lack of a better word) and the women caught them gawking. The looks of disapproval doubled down in my direction as I got in the jeep to go to the bar to watch the football game. Is this why I don’t have girl friends? Because women hate the way their husbands look at me and so they’d rather not even say hi? No, this is not ego talking, not me feeling special though I understand it most certainly could sound that way. Most days I realize it’s because I look like a combination of Mad Max meets My Little Pony. I get that I really do look different, but I can feel the concern, I can feel the judgement sometimes. So this is a real question. Why is it that I don’t have many girl friends?
Is it because I am too tomboy? That I really do prefer to do “dude” shit? I’d rather shoot shit, literally, than shoe shop. I have no idea how to contour a face, or the understanding of why you would want to. Is it because I’d rather watch a car show than a home and garden anything? Is it because I really do prefer a war movie to a rom com? Is it because I really do want to go to the bar for the football game? Is it because I worry that I won’t be able to girl well enough to hang out and I will in fact encounter a real life Mean Girl Squad who cast confusing stares in my direction and it scares me? Perhaps it’s because I know albeit loosely, that I’m not supposed to wear white after labor day because my Grandma said so, but really don’t care? Unfortunately, I always worry that I said the wrong thing, or wore the wrong thing or scared someone off with my Deadwood, Calamity Jane level cussing topped off with faux hawk and tattoos but the guys I hang with don’t seem to care…
Or, is the real reason a bit more sinister? Is the true reason I struggle with having girl friends because I am so overly competitive and insecure, that at one recent point in this life of mine I couldn’t hang out with girls who I thought were better than me for a plethora of possible reasons because the Bitch (the one we all have) would beat me up? Shit.
Yeah, how’s that for brutal truth. Sucks.
I see now, that Bitch, always at it in the worst of ways, has cost me. She’s been feeding my head with lies and alt fact bullshit. But now I know. I see that this time her poison is comparison. Because of Her, I am always comparing myself, and losing. Dammit. So instead of trying, I spent time hiding.
Does that make me insecure? Yep, BIG time. Does that make me human? Uh, yeah, probably more than any of us truly want to admit. The truth is, that….cheese alert…Comparison is the thief of joy. The internet says so, so it must be true, right?
But dammit, when I see a magazine cover (F right off Cosmo) or a totally put together lady at the damned grocery store, somebodies promotion, the highlight reel of a FB feed, fabulous insta pics, or whatever, I find myself comparing myself to others and the Bitch tells me I don’t measure up. (Some days she says I never will.) Comparison is the thief of joy. I hate it, but now I know I’m not doing myself any favors.
I’m trying to worry less, and be me more. In doing so which is fighting a daily battle, I have learned some cool shit I really wish I had known forever ago. (Is this the wisdom of aging at work?) I am happier not comparing myself to others. Shocker right. I’m figuring out that there is only one me and…tag…I’m it. Woot! Sounds simple right? Right. If only it were that easy for any of us. If fucking only it were that simple.
The not cool shit I have learned however really, really sticks with me.
We women as a group aren’t as confident in ourselves as I wish we were. We play pretend in the worst of ways. We hide pieces, a lot of pieces, of ourselves from everyone around us. We even hide shit from the most important people in the world to us. We hide in spanx and behind our cell phones and layers of foundation and in really big coats. We sit quiet in meetings and bite our tongues while we smile and nod. We hide a lot. Most women I know are trying really hard to look like they have it all together because we feel like we are supposed to. I see you. I see you making shit for bake sales and wearing the perfect outfit. I see you trying to get the house actually clean (not all the shit thrown into a laundry room or closet) and making sure the kids are in the right daycares or after school programs, and saying yes to one more thing to do, all while holding down a job trying to prove that being a mom does not negatively impact job performance. Been. There. It sucks.
Meanwhile, we are all falling apart a bit. We are struggling (as would be expected) and need a whole lot of support and we pretend we don’t. We pretend we are just fine because we worry that it if we ask for help or support it will make us look weak compared to those that don’t have to ask. I have decided that there is no nice way to say it…that is just fucking ridiculous, and I am guilty as charged and over it. I don’t have it all together, I really don’t.
I know that what I’m about to write is a cliché worthy of a hipsteresque (yep making up a word) meme or a poster of a inspirational skinny chick in a yoga pose with flowers in her hair that shows up daily on your social media feed, but here it is…Be you. Cliche for sure and usually really annoying when I see something like it because all I can think of is… of course I’m me. Who the hell needs that reminder I mean, really? Really? Actually, yes really.
I’m learning that a daily reminder may in fact be what is really needed. Be you in all your flaws and fortunes. Be you in all your fears and fascinations because the other thing I know, now, is that we are not alone. I mean if we are one in a million there’s a whole hell of a lot of people out there just like us.
I promise there are people out here in the big scary world (yep, it’s scary to me) who love the same shit, and who at their cores are as crazy as you think you are. I have met people who get excited about different salt. I have met people who love cartoons and the physics of superheroes, a lot. I now know people who love welding and motorcycles or jeans that don’t stretch, really cool dog toys that are made out of kevlar, cooking for people, dive bars and playing pretend with dice. These people are real, awesome and just as weird as me but I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t admitted the same shit, asked for help in some way and let my freak flag fly. Be you.
Save for the occasional asshole, the world is full of cool people just waiting to be found. I am learning that you find cool people when you admit, or hell even announce your struggles because our struggles are what make us human after all. Hey, I got plenty of first world white girl problems, and some deep shit too. We all do, right? Be you.
So, it’s time. I gotta quit listening to the Bitch. We all do.
I’m finally willing to admit I need a sisterhood even though it scares the holy living shit out of me. To be truthful, not much has ever scared me more. Yep, I need some help. I need strong women in my life to make me better, because I think there really is something about a sisterhood that is missing when you just hang out with a bunch of dudes no matter how much you love them. My gut is telling me it’s not the same thing. My gut is telling me to seek out some sisters, that they are out there and just as weird as me. My gut is telling me to stop comparing myself, stop hiding to put myself out there and…try.
And just in case it matters, my hair will still be pink on any given Wednesday.