Competition. It’s one of those things that everyone deals with, no matter who you are or what age you are. I mean, sometimes it’s friendly competition in a game or a contest, sometimes it’s a workplace thing where there’s money, status, or a promotion involved, and sometimes it’s just downright nasty. I know guys deal with competition as well as women, but for some reason it just seems like in women it’s just worse. Maybe it’s because guys overtly compete with each other often and it’s all out in the open…whereas when women compete, well, you know what happens. There’s so much subtext, so much NOT being said, so much that would go unnoticed to the undiscerning eye…it tends to be hidden. I think anyone who’s been around other women at any point in their lives (or maybe has just watched a few episodes of The Bachelor for that matter!) has experienced this.
In high school, there weren’t that many of us really since it was such a small school. And fortunately we were all so vastly different that we didn’t have a ton of competition amongst us. There were some girls who I could see that dynamic going on with, but it thankfully didn’t leak onto me. And my best friend and I were the good kind of girl friends, the kind who supported each other and didn’t have this horrid love/hate relationship that some girls have going on. But when I became the youngest girl singing on the band at church, things were a bit different. Now I’d like to point out that for the most part, everyone INCLUDING the women were really sweet and supportive. But there were those few who just really couldn’t behave that way. There were the women who were insecure about themselves and had a hard time with me coming in and “threatening their position” as women so often feel about other women. So when I eventually became the leader, I decided that I didn’t want this kind of competition to exist on the band because of how it felt to be the recipient of it.
I remember asking a new girl to sing on the band along side myself and another singer. She was very excited to join us and complete our team. On her first night at practice, she sang great and the other girl singing with her was so encouraging to her. I could tell she was going to be just fine, however I could tell by her demeanor that she was emotionally struggling. I could see it on her face that no matter what anyone said to her, she didn’t feel good enough to be there. The competition she was feeling was internal…it wasn’t coming from anyone else around her. So after practice, everyone left but her and the other singer and I asked her gently “how did it go for you?” She crumbled…tears streaming down her face she sobbed out how she didn’t feel like she was a good enough singer to sing with me and the other girl, how she felt inadequate, and how she didn’t think she belonged. We hugged her, reassured her a bunch that we wanted her there, that there was nothing about her that was inferior to either of us, and that there most definitely was a place for her with us. By the time she left, her whole face changed. She was smiling, excited, and acting appropriately according to the way the night had gone.
Isn’t it funny how sometimes no one around us is competing with us, and yet we are still competing with everyone around us? I honestly feel like at this point in my life, I am my biggest competition. I am constantly comparing myself to who I USED to be…like the jeans I still can’t quite wear yet…I am constantly trying to be better than I used to be and better than I am. So many times I find myself feeling badly about myself, crumbling much like I watched that girl do so long ago, even though there’s no real reason to feel that way. It comes with being a typical type A personality, being a woman, and just being the kind of person who often equates things like weight gain due to pregnancy with failure. I’m always competing with me.
I think what I love about this outfit is that it’s not trying to be anything other than it is. I love this vintage slip because it looks a lot like what For Love and Lemons is most likely inspired by, and it has slits in the sides so it makes it perfect for wearing over jeans without being too billowy. The bells are from Show Me Your Mumu of course and the necklace is from Zachary Pryor on Etsy.
I keep reminding myself that instead of trying to mimic who I was before…I need to be who I am now. I need to understand that it’s not failure to be different than I was before a lot of things changed in my life…it’s not failure, but a new opportunity to rediscover things about myself. So I love to put together outfits like this that are unique in themselves and feel fresh and like the me that is now. I mean, if I compete with myself, who wins?? Yeah that’s a brain teaser isn’t it?
Happy weekend all!