Saturday, January 19, 2008
A friend of mine in my accountability group recently challenged me to develop and share this journal entry from the summer. I haven't really done much of the developing part yet, but I think there is something there that speaks to every woman's heart and the woman that she wishes she were. So here goes:
There is another woman in my life. She is thinner, prettier, smarter and wiser than I. She never worries over insignificant details and has wisdom for every situation. She always does her laundry on time never letting the basket overflow onto the floor. She is gracious, yet bold, tolerant and fair but not a pushover. She’s genuinely kind, even to those who aren’t kind to her. She enjoys cleaning and exercising and she never ever swears. But the most irritating part about her is her hair- the kind that sprouts form the heads of movie stars.
This woman, of course is me, or rather the ever present me that I constantly wish to achieve. She is me with no bad habits, me on a lifetime of good hair days. My true, less than ideal self, on the other hand, is the one who swears when she gets surprised and could eat ice cream for breakfast and struggles endlessly to style unruly hair and cover-up ever present acne. Sure I’m happy to be spirited, witty or even brave from time to time. But I hate washing dishes and truth be told- sometimes I can be a real jerk. It seems like I spend a great deal of my time thinking of how wonderful my life would be if I could only get my act together/ drink more water/ floss with greater dedication/ think positively/ actually go for the burn…
I find myself constantly aware of my inner perfect other and am eager to become her but haven’t the slightest idea how to accomplish the task. I always find myself in situations where I wished I had spoken up or wished I had kept my cool. I can never seem to get it right. I always chicken out or fly off the handle and flip out over something small. Perfect-me however, would have righted the wrong with confidence, both daring and courteous. Other times, I’ll make a rude remark before I can even realize what I’ve said (or that my eyes have rolled in the back of my head). She on the other hand is always pleasant and never shows her frustrations. There are days when no matter what I do I am certain that perfect-me would have done it faster, better, sooner, with more determination and good humor. And she would’ve looked a whole lot better doing it.
Where did this other woman come from? How did this disconnection form? Is it pressure from our mothers, grandmothers, women in the media and subtle yet not-so-subtle messages from the world that perfection is the only option?
While I often feel perfect-me breathing down my neck, I’m still hopeful. On good days find myself doing something splendid and unexpected. I surprise myself by saying the right thing to a friend having a hard time, or offer help to a stranger in need. Maybe I found that killer black dress and bought it on a whim, something that perfect-me would never do. And then I wonder, isn’t it time we called a truce?