As much as I knew I would be totally dropping the ball if I didn’t write something to address that International Women’s Day is coming up, frankly, I had quite a time gathering my thoughts about it. As I can do, I procrastinated long and hard. Much meal prep was done. The carpets got vacuumed, the floors washed, and the laundry folded. Even the dog fell victim to my puttering ways, with a wash, rinse, repeat that was probably unnecessary, and an extra-long deep condition spent in quiet contemplation.
And there’s still some serious side-eye coming my way over it.
As much as I knew I would regret it deeply if I did drop said ball, I also dearly did not want to risk getting it wrong.
Because it’s too important.
And it’s so important because it absolutely matters.
And, honestly, that fear of getting it wrong is basically my constant side-kick.
So here we go…
My thoughts drifted back to a time when I would have said I really had very few close, trusted female friends. At the height of my days as a so-called “dating machine” — so labeled by my then-trainer — I rationalized that I simply preferred the company of men. For one glaringly obvious reason: Less drama.
Because, really, even more than I dreaded the rejection I felt from first date after bad first date and man after man… I honestly feared the hyper-critical, ever-watchful eye, barely masked cattiness and hurtful backstabbing dished out by some female friends even more, thank you very much.
Frenemies, indeed, Jessica Mitford.
No judgment from me at all, for being ambitious and wanting to win at Life, in general.
But do you always have to be the winner?
(Even in your agony?)
Where does that need to compete come from?
So many of us suffer from a deeply-rooted, seemingly near-constantly-reinforced belief that we are just not enough.
Do those insecurities and shame have you spinning in a vicious circle of comparison, competition and striving for perfectionism? At all costs?
What, exactly, are we trying to prove to whom?
According to whom are you not enough? To the outside world? Or to ourselves?
My only competition
is the person I was yesterday
I am always an advocate these days for lightening things up. Perhaps even when it’s not necessarily appropriate. And I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed, but it is very much not my way at all to get political. And other than a fair-to-high number of “oh, my God!”s and “thanks God,” rarely will I reference religion directly or otherwise cite scripture.
But after years – even possibly decades – of minding your Ps and Qs, when something means enough to you, you will find your voice.
While we in Western society enjoy so much privilege compared to multitudes who remain oppressed in ways we just cannot and never will relate to, it saddens me to see many women searching for confidence and self-esteem by engaging in raging competition amongst ourselves.
There is research to say that men and woman alike are innately driven by the primal search for a suitable mate. You can’t really argue with evolution, so there’s that. And if you pile on top any desperate attempt to try to quiet our insecurities by fighting to get ahead at the expense of any of our sisters — blood siblings, friends, bosses and coworkers, the influencers that flood our Facebook and Instagram feeds, or even random total strangers — we only undermine all the rights and freedoms women actually have gained. And that still so very many can only dare dream of knowing.
Not to mention the efforts underway to progress even more.
“And so, lifting as we climb,
onward and upward we go,
struggling and striving,
and hoping that the buds and blossoms of our desires
will burst into glorious fruition ‘ere long.
With courage, born of success achieved in the past,
with a keen sense of the responsibility
which we shall continue to assume,
we look forward to a future large with promise and hope.
Seeking no favors because of our color,
nor patronage because of our needs,
we knock at the bar of justice, asking an equal chance.”
– Mary Church Terrell
Sometimes we absolutely have to get our head out of our own ass and remember that it’s about more than just us.
Because it’s just that important.