I’ve known her for a long time, and as long as I’ve known her, she’s always been beautiful. Beautiful on the inside and even more beautiful on the outside.
Her makeup is perfectly done, her hair with not a strand out of place. And her clothes? Chic. She is well put together, always in vogue. While I have recycled the same clothes for the past five years, she is on point with the latest trends. She can even rock a pair of sweatpants.
Her pictures on Facebook and Instagram posts confirm this as well. (She also has a successful career, a beautiful house, a strong marriage, and a lovely family.)
She seems to have it all.
She’s been this way for as long as I’ve known her, so I know it isn’t a façade—this is the kind of person she is.
Yet, every time I’m in her presence or see her social media posts, it makes me feel less than.
I never feel as attractive as she is both on the outside and inside. Intellectually, I know it has nothing to do with her. She has never overtly said or done anything to make me feel this way, and I know she never would.
It is all me—my inner thoughts are running the show, selecting the scenes and dialogue that will roll next on this comparison train I somehow boarded and don’t know how to get off.
And it is affecting me negatively, and as a result, affecting our relationship.
Deep down, I know she touches a part of me that is vulnerable.
She touches that little girl who, growing up, always wanted to be one of the pretty girls but never quite hit the mark.
I have always been fascinated by stylish women. In the days before the internet, these were women who graced the covers of magazines or runways or were Hollywood actresses. Or they were the popular, pretty girls I went to school with. Nowadays, some of these women grace my Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds.
But I had never been around someone like her until circumstances gave me no other option. Yet at the same time, I don’t really know her all that well. We talk but it’s usually just the kind of conversation that skims the surface. The niceties and catch-up talk you engage in when you don’t see someone that often.
So, I was a bit surprised when I overheard a conversation the other day that went like this . . . “I don’t know how she does it! She has twin toddlers and another kid and she’s handling all of them so effortlessly. I only have one kid, and I can’t even handle her right now!” I could hear the exasperation in her voice.
At the moment, I wanted to interject and say something. Something like, it’s not always easy with twins or that I lose my cool more than I care to admit with my three.
Something to make her know that I don’t have it all together.
That I too struggle even though it may not seem that way.
But I didn’t.
Because at that moment something dawned on me. This girl, who I always admired for being everything I wasn’t, for seeming to be outwardly perfect, at least in my eyes, was in awe of me and how I handled my three kids around a dinner table.
What else was she in awe of me that I wasn’t aware of?
As trivial as it was, this little incident served as a simple reminder to me that no one has all their stuff together, no matter how flawless they appear on the outside, or how awesome their life looks on social media.
And all it took, was one cute, but irritable little toddler to help me realize that.