Every year my friend Jen hosts a brunch with her women friends in honor of her birthday. (Great idea, btw!) I have gone for the last two and feel honored to be included. Here's the thing: every woman there is accomplished and beautiful and interesting. Also, every one, I'm betting, is comparing her self to every other self.
Don't get me wrong: the vibe is totally positive, We all have an excuse to be away from our kids (except the one who doesn't have kids), we all have a break from our jobs (except for the one who doesn't have a 'real' job), we all have a break from our husbands (whom we love) and life in general.
Sitting around the table, though, I can feel the comparisons. One woman is out-of-this-world in shape. One woman is pregnant. Most women are tenured professors. So many amazing moms. I feel inadequate. I know I'm a good mom but that seems like the bottom bar. Like: the thing you have to do to completely not-suck at life. Then, suddenly, I find myself talking about this book I've read about the brain and how it has helped me to understand my experience with vision loss.
I can feel some people tuning out (mostly amazing-body lady) so I'm wrapping up. But I can also feel some people interested and I'm thinking: "Is this my thing? And if so, what the F is it?" I started to feel a kinship with amazing-body lady because we both are not academics. And then a kinship with the academics because I'm interested in the brain. And then with all the moms because I'm a mom.........Okay. Stop.
It might sound like a simple easy Disney/Hallmark moment. It wasn't.
We started to talk about food and the fact that only 2 of us had brought something homemade (me and amazing-body lady). The talk turned to skills in the kitchen. Suddenly, I'm feeling confident. Amazing-body lady has to go because she has to teach a group of women how to flash mob dance to celebrate some woman's 50th. How cool! We share stories of flash mobs we've seen or known about. Wow! Amazing-body lady is someone I can actually talk to!
So: I came home and had the deep/shallow revelation that we all have our own gifts and our own strengths and we don't have to be in competition. There, I've said it.