I hope this never happens to you, but I wanted to talk a little bit about passive bullying tonight. It's happened to me before and I'm sure it'll happen to me again. It's like on Mean Girls when Regina tells Cady that she likes her bracelet. She's acting nice but you know she's out to get you. Or maybe you don't know at the time but when you look back on it you see the way you were bullied behind your back. I've never been pushed or gotten in a "girl fight". I've always been a sensitive person and very in tune to how other people perceive me. So while others might not notice the fake smiles, I always know when you don't actually intend to ever get coffee with me. And it hurts my feelings. Sometimes it's a bigger thing, or even smaller. Like today... something little happened and I felt bullied, like a victim. I get anxiety when people don't like me, so a small thing can escalate quickly in my mind and I try hard to figure out what I did wrong and probably assume wrongly most of the time. So as I was thinking about this situation and trying to diagnose what I did wrong in this particular situation, this is the conclusion I came to about why we (professional, married women in our twenties) don't like each other and act like bullies sometimes.
We are all part of a culture of "sameness", we like organic food, instagramming peonies and going on coffee dates with our friends. We gravitate towards the same trends and designers and way of life. We love Kate Spade, having our hair professionally blow-dried and when our husbands do nice things for us. We are girls in our twenties who really do have our sh*t together. We all know that "comparison is the thief of joy" and have pinned the saying to the appropriate board on Pinterest, but we don't live that way. Especially me. Especially today when something completely stupid happened and I looked at myself and asked "what is wrong with me?".
The answer (as scary as it is to admit), is that nothing is wrong with me. I'm figuring myself out, just like we all are. I'm figuring out what it means to be a part of a culture where everyone is the same, or at least that's the way it appears. I'm figuring out how to love the things I love and still do my own thing. Because the things I love are trendy, and everyone else loves them too. It's a paradox because we all like the same things and we all want to be unique so in our quest for uniqueness we all look like clones of one another and start to resent each other. It's a little pathetic and it makes me feel like a copycat for genuinely loving the things I love, and it makes me feel like a mean girl. Does that make any sense to anyone out there? Grool. (I hope you get the reference).
But the truth is, I'm not a mean girl and either are you. I won't apologize and either should you. I won't back down from what I love. It's true that I love shellac manicures, peachy pinks, white furniture, my iPhone, Starbucks, flowers and dates with my husband. I love inspiring quotes, reading blogs, going on vacation and having my breakfast in bed. I value my college education, upper-middle class upbringing, and precious time with my family. I dream of luxurious European vacations, a golden-doodle puppy and picture perfect Christmas mornings. Do you? Probably. Because those things are awesome and fun. And I am so glad we have those things (and hopefully more) in common. I'm excited when I make friends who are into similar things. It fires me up to collaborate on projects with other creative professionals and support each others' dreams. I get pumped with I make friends with someone who also loves designing flowers, is entering motherhood or pursuing entrepreneurship. So instead of feeling threatened when I find out how similar I am to someone, I'm going to get psyched and be her friend, and learn as much about what makes her unique as I can so I can support her dreams. I'm going to let more people in, and I'm not going to take it personally when others don't do the same. And I promise to let more of me shine, even the geeky and embarrassing parts. (I love the BeeGees and I usually head straight for the hotel pool on vacation, plus I still love the Disney Channel... so whatevs).
Thanks for reading this scrambled little love letter. I hope we can still be friends. I am going to tell more of my story soon, starting first with our love story, which I actually can't wait to share.
p.s. I'm a little hormonal as my due date is tomorrow, so just take everything I say with a grain (or 2) of salt. :)