In my teens and 20’s I was confused. But fortunately for me, I didn’t know I was confused or what I was confused about. In fact, I thought I was the opposite of confused. I was completely sure of myself. I thought, like most 20-year-old women, I would have everything I ever wanted based on every movie I had ever seen staring Paul Rudd or based on a book by Nicolas Sparks (minus the unnecessary deaths). Of course I was going to have an awesome career in publishing (vague) and live in a Brownstone in NYC by the time I was 25. My girlfriends would forever indulge me in my kooky and elaborate schemes to meet the perfect guy until that totally adorable but completely arrogant guy who works in my building comes along and realizes that the bachelor life was not for him and all along he just needed a girl like me to put him in his place. And right as I’m about to get on a plane to live a year in London or Paris he was going to come to the airport and literally sweep me off my feet. I’m not sure what was going to happen after that seeing as no rom-com went beyond the sweeping of the feet. I was pleased with this ideal. It never occurred to me that many of these movies were written and directed by men and that maybe their perspective shouldn’t have been my perspective. It didn’t occur to me that having a career at the top isn’t so easy because most companies are run by men, that guys who act like arrogant assholes might just be arrogant assholes, that women who do the same job as men make less, that there only 20 women in congress, yet we constitute over 50 percent of the population and that I still want the fairytale romance despite my feminist leanings.
So now I’m in my 30’s and still confused but at least now I know that I am. I live in the world each day wondering why at this time in history, in this country we still treat women as “less than”. Why we still don’t have an equal voice, why our perspective isn’t as valued, why are bodies are consistently up for public consumption and why we think we aren’t worth much. And in the same mind space I also wonder if I’m doing enough to get rid of the inevitable wrinkles surrounding my eyes, how do I get that guy at the bar to notice how hot and intelligent I am with a two second look, how much does Kim Kardashian spend on shoes, and of course, do these jeans make me look fat?
I’m not sure what the answer is. I don’t know where the “I don’t need anyone but my fabulous self” ends and the “uugrrgghh why hasn’t he called in three days?” begins, where the “I am so much better than this job and am completely wasting my potential” ends and the “I’m terrified to go for this job because if I get it people will realize how incompetent and ill suited I am for it” begins, where the “Dammmmmn I look good in this bikini” ends and the “Oh shit I look like a bloated manatee in this bikini” begins. I doubt I’m the only person out there who feels this way. So what do we do? How do we handle being certainly not old, but not exactly young, cringing at the idea of being (gasp) that needy dependent girl but also not wanting to be cooking for one forever (if you don’t count the cats exponentially adding up).
I think we need to redefine how we are seen in the world. How we see each other, relationships, careers, families, friends, goals and of course the jerks who invented skinny jeans. Does anyone have helpful advice?