Calling a Cease Fire

Posted on | January 31, 2014 | 8 Comments

Over the past few years, I’ve read a lot about the “war between women,” the “war on women,” and in general, a lot of warring people mad at one or another form, sort, or type of woman. There’s the breast v. bottle war, the stay-at-home v. working mom war, the vaccine v. anti-vaccine war, the pro-choice v. pro-life war … and so on and on and on and…. on. It seems that for all of our “if women were in charge there’d be less war” talk, there are an awful lot of angry women who are inexplicably angry at, well, other women.

I’ve spent years feeling the stir of hatred when I saw a petite, blonde, 20 year old with perfect abs devouring a cheeseburger. It’s taken a lot of swallowing down unintentional bile that rises when I see a perfect figure, convince myself that she’s never had kids, then watch as a trio of toddlers clamber up her legs screaming “Mommy!”  Hell, for a while, I even ridiculously hated the women my ex-husband dated after me because dammit, I wanted them to take MY side. It’s taken a lot of moments of sheer disgust towards other women for me to finally understand where the real problem lies.

The fact is, we women, more particularly ME, woman, have bought in to the lie that we have a shelf life.

We’ve basically agreed that in order to be a woman, we have to pinch, prod, stretch, inject, diet, exercise and if all else fails surgically make ourselves look like a well-formed, well-dressed, well-coiffed 19 year old. We bought that, hook, line, and sinker. And I’ll admit to being just as bad as the next. When I went out with Banks for New Year’s Eve and all the women in the room were in their 20’s and I was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable not because they were making me uncomfortable… I was uncomfortable because I was making MYSELF uncomfortable. They were busy being twenty, all taut and tanned in perfect places and I, in my jeans and top was uncomfortable because I didn’t look like them… because I CAN’T look like them. Because, let’s face it, no one over twenty SHOULD look like them.

I had a lousy time on New Year’s Eve because I spent the evening sizing myself up against these gorgeous, young, women who weren’t doing anything offensive and yet, I was offended.

So I spent a lot of time thinking about why I was so uncomfortable around those young women, because… obviously that’s what I do. I thought about why I felt awkward and unkempt, strange and… well… OLD. And the only thing I know for certain is that it’s ridiculous that I let my own personal insecurities erode my ability to enjoy an evening out with the man I love. He wasn’t ogling them. He was as attentive and sweet as he always was. I was the only one of the two of us who paid them any attention at all.

Because I was jealous.

Because deep down, I believed in the lie that I have to look like them to be beautiful. I believed that after reaching thirty I couldn’t be attractive to anyone, least of all myself.

You know what though? I am never going to look like those girls. Because I’m not those girls. What I am, is a 36 year old me. I work out. I try to eat healthy. I twist and turn myself in front of full length mirrors and then twist and turn my mouth in strange shapes as I survey the damage… or let’s call it the delight that 36 years of life have rendered on my body. I have curves and shapes and cellulite. I have a jiggle under my arms that I wish would disappear. I have flaws that make me less perfect to a magazine but damn. Shouldn’t those things make me more perfect to myself? Shouldn’t I, of all people, embrace the me that 36 years of life has made?

If I learned anything from my night out on New Years’ Eve, it’s that the only person bringing me down, is me. The only person fighting and arguing and burying myself deep in the bunkers of this self-imposed hell is… well… me. The person who makes me feel insecure, less attractive, less perfect is and has always been only me. Because, as they say, other people’s opinions of you are none of your business, right?

So if I just stop believing there’s anyone out there who looks better than me at being me… if we just stop believing the lie that we’re battling each other for the attention of well, someone… well then.

What happens then?

Comments

8 Responses to “Calling a Cease Fire”

  1. Cathy
    January 31st, 2014 @ 11:53 am

    I love this so so so much. I do the same thing and usually end up being a buzz kill for everyone because I’m so “negative Nancy” about me when I’m around people who are even a good, solid 5. Hugs to you! And Yay!

  2. Law Momma
    January 31st, 2014 @ 11:59 am

    It SUCKS, right? I mean… why can’t I just like who I am and what I look like? Why do I have to constantly compare? Lame. 😉

  3. lcarswell
    January 31st, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

    Well said. I felt this strongest as I graduated from law school. I would look at a firm’s list of attorney profiles. There would be 3-5 average looking young male attorneys, with average credentials. And then the one and only female attorney under 45 years old would be gorgeous, tall, blonde and with top notch credentials. I never felt I would be able to measure up, but then again did I really want to work in an environment like that anyways. And now…I do have to ask myself…was it really that bad or just a reflection of my own insecurities?

  4. Law Momma
    January 31st, 2014 @ 2:07 pm

    YES!!!!! It was like superwoman! Some gorgeous female attorney with a perfect figure, three kids, doting doctor husband, and president of Junior League! I always felt like a gnarled tree root next to her!

  5. Sunshine
    January 31st, 2014 @ 10:51 pm

    If we don’t love ourselves how can we expect others to do the same. My husband has always said that if I repeatedly dis my own body than he will start to view me in the negative light I project rather than how he sees me as hot! Having just given birth to twins 2.5 months ago there are plenty of days I look at my tore up belly covered in stretch marks and think what the hell happened to me ( the ones from my 1st son are still there too!) …but then I think of the power of the female body and take each stretch and ripple as a true sign of strength and something to be proud of…I hope you can see yourself that way too…you created life…that is amazing…your body is amazing…cellulite and stretch marks and all! 🙂

  6. Law Momma
    February 3rd, 2014 @ 8:48 am

    So true. I’ve got to find a way to embrace myself… wasn’t that supposed to be LAST year’s word? 🙂

  7. Madonna
    February 3rd, 2014 @ 7:04 am

    I can relate to this oh-so-much. Last week we re-did our staff photos at work. Since then, I’ve had two kids (and haven’t lost most of the baby weight), many sleepless nights, and have aged at least five years (I feel like it’s been ten). And all I did was compare myself to the photo taken five years before. But then I remember I have a daughter to raise and I want her to see me as a positive, accepting role model. And I remind myself that I’m the one who notices the flaws, not my friends, co-workers, husband or my kids. It’s just me and I am the only one who can change that.

  8. Law Momma
    February 3rd, 2014 @ 8:49 am

    Oh God. I hope we don’t do that here. I would die.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at http://www.law-momma.com.
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