As a kid I was pretty insecure. This was most evident during middle school field trips to terrifying establishments like Skateland – a huge monstrosity located just right of an underpass at a busy section of the San Fernando Valley. While many girls in my class would circle the rink in bright white rollerskates with pom poms, slow skating to Journey’s “Open Arms” while holding hands to some oversized eighth grade jock, I’d be slouching near the snack stand, wondering if my rented brown numbers made me look even taller than the nearly six feet I already was. (Damn, that’s a long sentence, but not as long as my face was during the love songs, so go with it). My point: Looking back, I was probably no more insecure than anyone else. I’ve since grown into my six foot frame, and while I may not be living the cover of an US magazine, I have all I ever dreamed of while listening to those goopy ballads. Handsome and loving husband? Check. Two kids? Check. Cute house? Check. Dog? Check. SUV? Check. Security in myself? Che… I’m still working on the “ck”.
Most of the time, I’m content with my existence. No one has it all. Sure, I’d like nicer molding in the house. I’d like new linoleum. But that’s just degrees of niceties. Where I run into trouble is comparing myself to what I perceive other people might have. (Or actually have, like nicer homes or vacations or shopping funds). For example, I only cut my hair every six months or so. Is this because I'm going along with the budget which my husband and I have worked out, or is it because I don’t demand enough from my already working 50 hour/week mate? Do I not have fancy built in shelving in my TV room because I am adhering to James’ motto that “the kids will just wreck it anyway” or is it because I don’t think I’m worthy of nicer furniture? Do I shop at Walmart because I am being realistic about the cost of kids’ clothing or is it because I don’t think I’m worthy of a Nordstrom’s run? Somewhere in the middle, like most aspects of my life, is where I stand. Somedays I’m a Gretchen Wilson Song: “Some people think I’m trashy, but I don’t give a rip… I’ll stand bare footed on my own front porch with a baby on my hip”… and some days I’m Madonna “living in a material world and I am a material girl”.
Maybe some reader can solve this mystery for me: How do we separate what we want, with what we realistically can afford? How do we live within our means but at the same time treat ourselves to the finer things in life? How do we support other people’s successes without looking to our own inner/outer life and not try to improve it? And most of all, why are we always trying to improve on a life that most people would love to lead?
Either I’m the most insecure person in the world, or I’m a truly ambitious genius who is trying to make the most of her life within limited income and time. Guess which excuse I’m hanging my hat on?
Perhaps the best form of doubt quelling can come in the form of a great friend. In fact, now that I think about it, that's one of the few opinions I have that isn't rooted in the middle. It is a black/white/definite no-bones-about-it opinion. I say find someone who you don't compete with, who doesn't judge you, who sees the good side of you more than the bad (but who'll call you on your shortcomings) and hold on to them for life. I am lucky to have several friends like this, one of them being the all knowing Cecelia. I leave you with an excerpt from an email that she wrote me on the very subject I blogged about today. THANK YOU, CECELIA!
"We are not in competition! You have things that I don't have and I have things that you don't have. It all balances out in the end, yes? Things are great for me now, but they won't always be great. There will be unexpected tragedies and twists in the road that will knock me flat on my back. Life is a series of ups and downs. You (for some reason) seem to think you are down now, but soon you will be back on top again. It's inevitable. By the way, happy just happens. You don't have to justify being happy. There are no set rules that say, "Okay, you can only be happy when X, Y, and Z occur." If you are not happy in your life, Andrea, find out what will make you happy and go get it. If you are happy in your life, then shout it proudly to the world. If you are not sure, well...that's okay, too! "
That email should stave off some insecurity for about 3 hours.