A double take at the girl next door

Treadmill

I want to talk about me. 

And the lady who orders in front of me at Starbucks. 

And the woman running on the treadmill next to me at the gym. 

And the girl at the bar who is humbly fashionable and radiating such energy that every man in the bar is keeping one eye on her.

For years I’ve been intimidated by these women.  Hell, I still am.  Because, without a hint of hesitation – and as the result of a whole lot of instinct – my first impression of the girl whose path that I’ve just crossed is that she’s catty and competitive.  Without. Fail.

Her nails are too perfect and her hair falls just right.  Her sense of fashion is to a level that I’m not capable of understanding and even less capable of affording.  And if it’s not that, then she’s making too much of a statement with those combat boots and cropped hair.  Or maybe she doesn’t care enough about the appearance of her eyebrows.

To even write about this makes me ashamed.  It seems to me that the culture that we live in promotes the success of women only individually.  In other words, I can be happy and cherish my successes and I can relish in the achievements of my best friends, teammates and sister (if I had one).  But to whole heartedly and deeply enjoy the successes of another woman seems near impossible.  And that, quite simply, makes me sad.

Yet the tragedy is that in assuming only the worst out of the woman beside me, I, in turn, become exactly what I have just judged her to be.  Competitive.  When really, for my benefit, doesn’t it make sense to give her a chance?  To open my life to the possibility of having a new friend to rely on and call when I’m upset?

Sometimes, just once in a while, doesn’t it make sense for me to congratulate the woman who just ran 4 miles on the treadmill?  And through a simple “I wish I had your dedication”, admit to her that I truly and honestly envy her work ethic. 

After all, I know I’d like to hear that.

-E

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