I am guilty. I think nasty thoughts about you. I judge you.
I’d like to blame society for why I do this to you. I’d like to say that I was encouraged, even conditioned to be this way—to see you as the enemy, as my competition constantly, consciously and who the hell knows what I’m thinking of you subconsciously.
But no matter the influences, I’m in control of my thoughts (the conscious ones) and actions. I’m secretly quite unkind to you, and I’m sorry.
I’ll admit that it’s born of my own insecurity. When I see your better this or that (body, hair, presence, charisma, drive, job, car, body, face, eyebrows, body, body, body, body), I fear that I’m not good enough….but for what? For my own acceptance? I thought I determined that. Your perfect hair (and God, is it gorgeous) doesn’t mean mine is worse or unacceptable. It means you have great hair.
But I stack us up and against each other in my mind. I place us into a hierarchy situation, hoping I come out on top, always.
I get nervous to walk into a group of women. I often tell people that it’s a terrifying situation. Women always agree with me. No exception. We know and fear how horrible we can be.
If it’s just me and a group of guys, I get nervous because I fear gang rape, but I feel comfortable because there’s no one there to negate my specialness. In that group, there’s no one to compete with. I’m the best person present. (JK. Feminism is about equality, not reverse sexism. Get it clear, people.) I’m the best female there because I don’t have competition.
But other women are not competition!
I get nervous when another female comedian gets on stage to perform. My fear is rarely: Oh God, what if she’s funnier than me? (Chances are she is; I’m pretty new.) My fear is: Oh God, what if this means I don’t matter?
As if there can only be one female comic. (And there practically is in this city. I get that people don’t think women are funny, generally (sexism or stereotype that tends to be true?), but in a city the size of Portland, it seems odd that over ¾ of the comedians are male. Maybe not. Maybe my naivety is still going strong. Clearly I’ll become more jaded in a few years. That’s what comics tell me. Which is fine—it’s our internal brokenness that tends to make us funny and you appreciative. While we’re on stage anyway.) (Why don’t you want to deal with our depression off stage?! Blarg.)
Dear women, it’s so difficult to appreciate you. I’m sorry that your presence makes me nervous. I crave your acceptance, yet I’m afraid you’ll see my flaws—the ones that make you better than me (in my sick brain).
But here’s my new promise, whenever I find myself judging you as you walk by or as you get on stage, for every negative thought, I will find one thing that I appreciate about you. Even if your gorgeous hair trumps me. Even if you’re funnier than me. Even if, even if, even if I’m always insecure.