There comes a moment in every woman’s life when the naked truth is revealed to us in such a way that everything in our lives, from that moment on, is completely altered. If you are like me, you grew up with fairy-tales; Cinderella, saved from a life of drudgery by a handsome prince (after some help from a chubby fairy godmother and some talking mice, thank you Disney)…Sleeping beauty, restored to life by the kiss of a handsome prince… Snow white and a handsome prince who saves the day…you see where I’m going with this, right? At some point, maybe at twelve, maybe at twenty three or thirty, a little voice inside you went ‘Oh, shit. There are like, negative three handsome princes around here. I guess I better get going.” And being that we are, after all, women, we generally do just that.
What I mean is, we all have a point we reach when we understand our enormous power as women, and the responsibility that comes with that. The first hint of how magical we really are generally happens about the time we grow breasts and men start acting sort of twitchy and getting sweaty around us (or, as was the case for me, when you finally get old and brave enough to buy yourself a padded push-up bra since no fairy godmother seems to be showing up to give you boobs of your own). Not coincidentally, this is usually about the time that men in cars begin to yell things out of windows at us as they go by. Girls travelling in groups (as we tend to do) act disgusted and annoyed by this, but in our teenage hearts, we are thrilled. With the realization of our sexuality, we are powerful little creatures, indeed. Unfortunately, this only goes so far. Even more unfortunately, we are awkward little things, for the most part, and have no idea how to wield this dangerous power-in my head I can’t help seeing a fourteen year old with a light saber, holding it in the crook of her arm while she chats on the phone, destroying everything around her, oblivious. All those fresh baby hormones are sorely wasted on the young, I tell you.
I was in my late twenties when I finally had enough self-esteem to revel in my hotness, and that is not a lie. Prior to that, I may have seemed full of confidence, but I wasn’t , I was just like every other girl who I’ve talked to about this- putting up a big old front to mask my insecurities. In all honesty, when I look back, it’s not the relationships with others that really damaged me at all. It’s the relationship I had with myself. If you are a boy and you are reading this, you need to understand that inside a womanly head, shit is going on that you, in your blessed simplicity, can not even begin to comprehend. Every girl I know, even ( and sometimes, especially) the most beautiful among us, has this little dialogue of self-loathing going on incessantly in her brain. This is the area of the brain that also stores every rotten thing that anyone ever said to you, from your mother to your third grade teacher to some asshole you dated at twenty three who had the nerve to mention your tiny stretch marks. This area is responsible, as well, for promptly erasing, dismissing and down playing every wonderful thing that anyone ever said to you. So when you really need a boost, all you can remember is the crap and you really need to have some awesome girlfriends to remind you how beautiful and wonderful and amazing you are. In case you don’t have one, though, let me assure you, you are beautiful, wonderful and amazing. I know it’s true, and so will you if you think about it for a minute.
Eventually, though, I had had enough with that evil me in my head, putting me down all the time. I think I was thirty when I finally told her to shut the hell up, or find somewhere else to live. She still pipes up every once in a while, but I have learned to say, OUT LOUD, “Shut up!” and that does the trick. It also works really well for keeping people from bothering you, just yelling “Shut up!” at no one, for seemingly no reason. You should try it sometime. Now see, when I was in my twenties, I cared too much about what people thought of me to ever do that. The beauty of one’s 30’s is the ushering in of the time of “I don’t give a fuck.”. Interestingly, this was about the same time that I realized, yeah, I can pretty much handle just about anything in my life by myself so I am going to stop sucking in my stomach now. A brief time of euphoria followed, then I got into a new relationship.
Four years, one baby and scads of growing up later, here I sit, watching my fourteen year old daughter prance around in shameful clothing while her light saber takes out everything in her path…she is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen, and I am not saying that because I am her mom. I see the way people look at her wherever we go. Then I look at her and see that she is nearly crippled with self-consciousness.Every day, there is some new thing she hates about herself. I would never be fourteen again, I don’t care what you paid me. Nor would I return to my twenties, I don’t care how cute my ass was. In my thirties, sure, some of the newness has worn off. I don’t expect a man to step in and save me- but I don’t need to be saved, either. I love my boyfriend, but if he left tomorrow, my life would go on. I’d be sad, but hey- at least I’d get that stupid bicycle out of the living room! I’m more comfortable in my skin than I ever have been before (maybe because there’s more of it!) and I have a confidence that has nothing to do with how I look. Every single thing I do for or to myself today is just icing on the cake- and I can do things with my light saber that would knock your socks off!