“And oft, my jealousy shapes faults that are not.”
Ever notice how, at different periods in history, some horrible behaviors are deemed more acceptable than others? Envy is ugly but acceptable; just a tad less fashionable than greed (a sin so pervasive that we honor it, calling it “ambition”).
It’s acceptable to look at someone’s life and copy them: #goals. But somewhere in the hero worship, it becomes, “I want that NOW.” And sometimes, we don’t actually want to see others enjoy what we don’t have right then. And that’s when the claws come out.
I mean, having goals and looking up to someone aren’t wrong, it’s just that it so easily crosses into the realm of jealousy. Ever babysit a gaggle of small children in the 3-7 age range?
Kids usually pretend to be just like some of their favorite cartoon characters or superheroes. Guys had a lot to choose from–just look at how many Marvel Comics movies have come out in the past 10 years–but for girls, especially 80s kids like me, there weren’t as many choices.
The ratio was rather small, like, say, one female smurf per 100 guy smurfs.
Remember the Power Rangers (the first incarnation anyway)?
Little girls were all, “I wanna be the pink one!”
“No, I’M THE PINK ONE!!”
These days, all the little girls be like, “If I don’t get to be Elsa, nobody gets to be Elsa!” It really shuts things down on the playground.
And then you grow up. Now we all want to be Beyonce. Sorry. You can’t be Beyonce.
All my life, I’ve felt like I had to distinguish myself above other women for various reasons (you know, besides cartoon character role-play). Sometimes it was to catch the eye of the guy I liked in college. Or earn a role in the musical. Maybe it was just that ache that exists in just about all of us to My-Fair- Lady our every entrance. We want to come down the stairs and just feel really, really beautiful, especially on our wedding day.
And somehow, love is always unnecessarily tangled up with our appearance. We ultimately just want to be loved, because somewhere along the way, we’ve confused admiration and praise with what can never truly be earned (especially not with our looks or charm).
I’ve envied a lot of moms lately who seem to have it all together AND look gorgeous, AND be great cooks and run their own businesses on the side. You know the ones I’m talking about. But really, that image is at least part myth. There are a lot of lifestyle blogs out there selling this lie. But even if this woman did have an amazing lifestyle, you don’t want what’s coming down the pipes for her. Everyone is assured a hard time at some point. Add to that the internal struggles that each of us have, and the reality is, I don’t want that woman’s life, no matter how cute she is or how many times she gets to vacation in Fiji.
The world might be woman-eat-woman, but God’s design is the complete opposite. We don’t have to get out our claws or outdo one another in any way. None of us got the short end of the stick with Him, because we’re all loved, even at our worst.
It’s true that some things in life make winners and losers of us all. There aren’t enough gold medals for every Olympian to win one. There aren’t enough Oscars for every actor. Scholarships are given only to a select few. Those things are, by nature, limited–and more valuable because of it.
Beauty, human life–these things are different. You actually are the only one of you ever created. We can all be great beauties at once, because beauty is as boundless as the God who created it. An attractive woman isn’t less so because another woman in the same room is also lovely.
By the way, ever see a posse of women roll into a bar or restaurant–and they all look basically the same?
What’s that about? Did they take friend applications?
(No offense if you own Louboutins. Thats’ just not, well, most of us.)
I do think it’s getting better, due to advertising including some of the more of the myriad body types, skin tones, and ages of women.
Is being the Pink Ranger worth it? And do I even need to be the best, prettiest, brightest? What was I placed here for? It certainly wasn’t to be a perfect-looking ornament.
After all, the prayer is, “Give us today our daily bread…” (Not give us today that other girl’s bread.)