Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Competing for Crumbs

I talked to my friend last night, who I'll call Danielle, (because that's her name and I don't think she'll mind being revealed), and she was telling me how a bunch of our old friends got together last weekend for a girls' night. I asked how everyone was doing and she said a few sort of expected things about each person until we got to Anne; (also a real name because there is no need for protection of the innocent here,) but for Anne she said something that brought me to a mental halt. She said, "Anne just looked hot. I think she looks better now than she ever has," ("now" meaning at age 25, with a 9 month old baby.) It wasn't that I had any trouble believing that Anne was at a pinnacle of hotness, it was the very forthcoming and sincere way in which Danielle delivered the compliment that caught me so off guard.

I seldom hear such unreserved praise from one woman about another and I think it's because there is somewhat of a clandestine phenomenon that exists in the feminine community that keeps us from freely allowing and admitting that other women can be talented, smart, organized, creative, spiritual, even"hot." I am becoming increasingly irritated about this underlying sense of competition that festers amongst us. I want to spray it with Raid and watch it shrivel, but since I know I can't do that I'm going to expose it in all its cheeky pettiness, shouting from the roof-top of my blog, hoping that some sort of ripple effect will be set into motion that might change the way we (women) evaluate ourselves and each other.

I refer specifically to women because we never seem to worry about how successful or cute or clever or anything children fact, we relish in their success. And we never seem to feel a sense of competition for admirable qualities with men. But when it comes to other women, it is as if we are competing for crumbs from a limited loaf of good fortune, earmarked for females over eighteen. And so we do silly things like wait until people die to say nice things about them at their funeral. Or hand out "insult variety" compliments, ie : "you're so organized it just makes me sick," or "look how tan you are, I couldn't get that tan if I laid in the sun for a week!" I've done things like this myself (many more times than I care to remember) -- held back a compliment or reduced a friend's achievement for fear that her success might somehow diminish the amount of available good--leaving less for me. It is an out-and-out insult to whatever Universal Power you deem to be "in charge" to assume that there isn't enough good to go around.

I'm going to let Victoria Moran finish this post with thoughts that I think should be in every woman's "Words to Live By" file--and I'm going to put them in mine.

"Let other women be beautiful. Let them have beautiful bodies and beautiful lives. The fact that anyone has either is evidence that the universe is eager to pass out perks. Your inner light will have a hard time making inroads in how you look and feel if you envy this woman's image or another's success, the love in this one's life or the ease of that one's. They're supposed to have their blessings, and you're supposed to have yours. You'll have even more of them when you freely, openly, and without hesitation allow other women their good fortune."

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