Don't you just hate it when you walk into a bar after actually giving a crap about your appearance for the first time in about three financial quarters, and then you discover that you might actually be invisible?
Or maybe not invisible....worse, actually. You are seen as a block of wood that people have to look around to see the more beautiful girl behind you?
I hate that other girl.
It's like, what's her problem? She's clearly being aggressively beautiful at me.
Why is she so perfectly tall? Did she get shin extensions?
Why is her hair so long and glossy?
Are her lips normally that pouty?
Should boobs point in the same direction naturally like that?
Why are they so shiny?
I bet she could hold an iPhone 7-plus and a medium sized baby in her cleavage.
Why are her eyes glowing like they are lit by the sun?
I bet she's never taken fish oil to stave off depression.
I bet her nose never gets greasy.
I bet if she gets grey hair, she'll look like Helen Mirren.
But like the Helen Mirren in that Budweiser commercial where she's like super sexy eating a burger and so confident in her obvious transcontinental beauty.
Did I mention bar girl's boobs?
God I hate bar girl. She's probably over there talking about me with her friends. Probably laughing about how it's *so* obvious that I tried to look nice. I don't even know why my friends want to be with me at all. They should so clearly be at that other table with Tits Magee.
She's probably some kind of perfectly exotic Spanish goddess.
She's probably bilingual.
She's probably in the Peace Corps.
Or a doctor with no borders except for healthy emotional ones.
She probably never cries in the shower. She probably never has ever shame-ordered DeFazio's. She probably has never said anything weird at the worst times. I bet she doesn't take long to warm up to people, and I bet she's just funny and charming in, like, five languages, and doesn't have to explain her sarcastic jokes.
You know you hate this girl too.
And the thing is, you probably spent half the day pumping yourself up like boxers do before a big fight. Or how I imagine rappers get ready for a battle on stage. Or you've done what everyone does whilst prepping for a big night on the town: the thing Julie Andrews' did in that "confidence" scene from The Sound of Music. (Seriously, go listen to that song and try not getting pumped up.)
It's what we do when getting your hair straightened...or curled...whichever you don't have naturally; getting eyelash extensions so long you look like Snuffleupagus (#WokeUpLikeThis); putting on all the bronzer in three counties so no one finds out that you have skin; treating putting your boobs in an ill-fitting bra like it's a hostage negotiation ("You and I both know you want this..."); and, of course, shaving your entire body, then exfoliating with something that resembles the grinders used to sand down metal girders when they were building the Brooklyn Bridge.
Well, at least this describes my typical Friday night, I guess I can't speak for you.
But I can assume.
We all do this at times.
<And if you're the one that walks out of the house in your Drinking Hoodie pretending like you don't care, I know you do, because I do the same thing, and no one cares more than me. It's just easier to pretend it doesn't bother you, than it is to be vulnerable.>
So we can all understand that moment when you walk into that bar, or that family 4th of July party, or that work meeting, or that mommy group, or that new workout class...and no one dies of heart failure due to your obvious stunning beauty, you're justifiably confused and all of your worst fears instantly come true:
And since our brains are desperately trying to make us feel better when all of the flood gates open, the thoughts that follow immediately are something less than wholesome. For me it sounds a little (read: exactly) like, "Maybe her heel will break and she'll fall into the Hudson and get chopped up into chum by a passing boat. A girl can dream."
Tonight, having a sneaking suspicion that this isn't a unique phenomenon, I polled everyone in my phone, and asked my go-to-gal for all things self-esteem related: my friend Kate. <Mostly because she was over for dinner, and I get a lot out of her when I shove steak in her mouth.> When asked how she feels if she thinks that someone around her is prettier/has it all together/etc., she said without hesitation, "I hope they lose everything that ever made them happy."
You and me both, sister.
We all want to be that Spanish goddess with the shiny legs.
Don't quote me on this, but I'm 97% sure that I'm 98% Irish. So, I can wish to be a tall Spanish beauty until there are no more shooting stars on which to wish upon, but I'll still wake up with freckles in weird places, longer arms than legs, a remarkably big head, a predisposition to depression, and an affinity for potatoes.
I'm never going to be a Spanish model...because I'm not Spanish. That's the whole thing. I'm pissed about not being Spanish enough, even if it's actually impossible to be the thing that I think I'm not enough at being.
The "not enough-ness" is rampant in our lives. I mean, The Plague spread slower than the way our negative self-talk proliferates.
I'm not good enough/tall enough/thin enough/Spanish enough/strong enough/tan enough/sober enough/motivated enough/gay enough/kind enough/rich enough/partner enough....God, name it. We're ne'er enough, yo.
So what do we do about it?
No, wait. I'm actually asking.
What the hell do we do about this?
I mean, I would never put up with my friends or loved ones talking to themselves this way. I'd slap them right across their annoyingly beautiful faces if I heard them rattle off this "not enough" nonsense. So why is it ok that we say it to ourselves?
I mean, it's not ok, but believe it or not, it's natural. It's something about evolution and the need our brains have to scan the world for hazards, including (but not limited to) the threat of being ostracized by our tribe. We needed to be afraid to be alone because 10,000 years ago, it was literally life or death if you weren't invited to sit at the cool lunch table. Nowadays, it just feels like life or death.
Unfortunately, this is just being human. My deepest condolences.
There isn't one answer to stop this, which is a bummer, but there is a laundry list of things that can help redirect these thoughts, or maybe put a lid on them for a bit.
Positive affirmations work, for people they work for. Meditation can take the edge off. A healthy diet and exercise does wonders, especially because it helps you feel empowered and all that jazz. There are a million books, blogs, videos and Pinterest boards that give tips and tricks.
For me, I sometimes need to just tell myself another story. Is The Girl really doing this AT me? Is it possible that she's just as insecure as I am? I mean, I think she's the definition of perfection, but who's to say that she sees that?
Sometimes changing the narrative helps.
And sometimes you just want to sit on your best friend's couch and eat carbs and say all the crazy things in your head (well, maybe not all of them, but they can read between the lines, don't worry), and then hear your friend say that you are actually the frustratingly beautiful one that everyone wants to be. And even if you can't fully believe it, it's still nice to hear, and it's nice to know that you have at least one person that thinks that your beauty is the reason painters cut off their ears, even if you always thought that was sort of a weird thing to say. And it's such a strange relief to know that all people think crap about themselves too, and that they get your insecurities more than they get how you feel about peanut butter pie. And it's well known how you feel about peanut butter pie.
I guess at the end of the day it's nice to be reminded that you don't have to have been raised on the shores of the Mediterranean to be enough. You can just be enough for one or two people.
Which is all I have time for anyway because I have to go file my legs with a belt sander in preparation for the weekend.
The struggle is real.