Ever since I was a little girl, I have been paranoid that other women are getting some sort of memo that I am missing out on.
This hypothetical memo varies every month (season?) but includes important topics like:
- What thin/skinny actually is/looks like.
- Which brand the hot new ballet flats/bag will be this season.
- How much money is acceptable to spend at any given time.
- The importance of wearing Spanx and how to wear them comfortably so they don’t roll up your thighs/down your stomach.
- The ability to remember to write thank you notes, bring gifts, help the other women clean up from dinner and how to make backhanded compliment without anyone really noticing.
In my twisted vision, this memo is sent out the wealthiest, dewiest, richest smelling women first and then it trickles down to other high rollers – girls with secret money, a few diamond things and Kate Spade shoes and bags. Between those women and women like me, the memo gets lost in the mail. Come events where I am in the same room with the memo-receivers, it becomes painfully obvious to everyone that some important info has literally flown over my head.
I don’t wear labels. I am unfamiliar with many of the new exercise/diet/cleansing trends. All of my jewelry is costume. My hair is never exactly how I want it to be or half as nice looking as everyone else’s. I don’t really know how to make small talk. I have a hard time listening. Babies/weddings/fancy things I can never afford mostly bore me. I sometimes worry if I am a terrible woman, or if women are just generally interested in terrible things. I hope people don’t think I am a jerk for saying all this (oh, there I go again!)
This insecurity, which, let’s be real, that is what it is – stems from a childhood where I was bullied for not having all the cool things (like American Girl dolls and bubble making necklaces), and picked on for being more interested in nature, books, and art than, well, hair. It was hard for me to make girlfriends, and therefore impossible for me to learn how to do 75% of girl things. And even though over time I have found ways to compensate for the remaining 25% (nails did, trendy clothes, colored lips), I still almost always feel like the odd duck when I am in a crowd of fancy women. They intimidate the hell out of me. I put on a good front, but I often shrink inside when I look at their perfection, compared to my ragamuffin aesthetic (which is literally something my boyfriend called me the other day). What’s more, I often feel like I am left out of planning events, picking out clothes, or choosing restaurants because I just don’t know what is the hot thing for wealthy women at any given time. It sucks to be in the group because I don’t really want to or know how to talk about any of that stuff …but then it sucks to be excluded from it as well.
I don’t think Mitt Romney would let any of his sons date me. Not that I would want to necessarily date them, but still…
Whenever I do try to be fancy, I almost always feel like I am putting on heirs. I come into a little extra dough form like, a tax refund or something, and suddenly I am all feasts. I order magazines I’ve always wanted subscriptions to. Buy a Clarisonic. Plan an expensive Saturday night out. I live the life that I imagine most upper middle class women live every day until my wallet shrivels back into a prune, and I feel guilty about purchasing that $25 NARS Heatwave lipstick I’ve wanted forever.
I make myself crazy. It seems like such a dumb thing to care about all this nonsense, and yet here I am, always feeling bad for myself. I know deep down that it’s a waste of time, money, and character to try and keep up with people who just generally have more, and yet…
…And yet it seems like something a lot of women in their late 20s do. We aspire to be as beautiful as possible. We want rings, big diamond ones. We want perfect houses, fresh sheets, and mildew free showers. We want people to be able to drop by without us having to scramble to wash the dishes and make the bed first. We never want to have to say we can’t afford something. Does it smell like cat pee in here? We want to never have to worry about that. The Kardashian’s never worry about that. Beyonce never worries about that. People with cleaning ladies hardly ever do. We want cleaning ladies. And I would venture to guess that most cleaning ladies want cleaning ladies too.
I work really hard for what I have, but what I get from it never seems like enough. There is always something bigger, shinier, thinner and more expensive to aspire to (especially in New York, where I live). And the question remains – At what point (if ever) do you have everything you need in order to be the woman you want to be? Can we ever stop feeling competitive?
Do you guys go through this as well?
(Image via Paramount Pictures.)