One day at a party surrounded by friends, one of them turned to me and said “you really need to wax your mustache, that drives me crazy.” My face immediately flushed as I held back the tears that threatened to release into my eyes. I laughed the hurtful and embarrassing comment off, using humor to deflect, when another woman in the group then said “oh and cut your hair, I can’t stand when women don’t maintain their hairstyles.”
The interesting part of this exchange is that both of these women were beautiful and although I’m no shrinking violet myself, I am, in most cases, the low maintenance gal in the group. Clothes, makeup, shopping, manicures, pedicures, spa treatments, waxing, massages….they are just not a priority in my life. Do I tend to engage in some of these activities from time to time? Absolutely. However, sometimes I swear I could run through the Shire with my hobbit feet! My children, my books, learning, exploring, my friendships, my marriage, nature and love are the interests in my life. I also cherish my alone time, perhaps unusually so, and I don’t apologize for preferring my own company over other’s.
Why did my friends need to call attention to these perceived flaws? I have a theory and it has to do with just letting my beautiful shine. I try not to measure myself against superficial rules. By all intents and purposes we were having a nice conversation, drinking a glass of wine and simply chatting about unrelated topics. To say I was embarrassed and hurt is an understatement and the pack mentality behind the comments felt even worse. Have you ever been in this situation? How did you handle it? I handled it by smiling and by waiting them out. The conversation inevitably led to other topics besides my imperfections and the party went on.
I would be lying to you if I didn’t admit visiting the salon the following week, but to be honest I also couldn’t change who I am at the core even if I wanted to. The need to tear another woman down is an obvious and blatant inability to handle ones own insecurities. Even in my forties I would use one word to describe that exchange; bullying. Those women lost something that day, they lost my respect and trust, and that takes a very long time to earn back.
Can you imagine a bunch of guys, sitting around drinking beer and participating in an exchange like this? The words would probably be uttered but in a jovial manner as they proudly displayed their own faults. This is why they think we are CRAZY ladies! We actually take this crap seriously!
The women I surround myself on a daily basis are women whose hearts shine through their actions, they are women who have smiles that light up their faces, women that hold their friends up instead of cutting them down. They are real. They are beautiful. They are strong. They are confident. They are true.
Food for thought. You may not participate in this type of blatant bullying, but the words we also say to each other in confidence about one another also matter. We women express our emotions all the time, we voice our concerns, we mention a particular scenario and occasionally hash things out, but this is much different from blatant and malicious intent. No one is perfect and occasionally we hurt each other with words, but beautiful is saying you are sorry. If you find that a person in your life constantly makes you sad or hurts you then you need to let them go with love and kindness.
To have good friends you need to be a good friend. I have many friends but only a handful of true and beautiful ones. What is beauty anyway? Beauty is the courage to let your inner light shine. Be your own kind of beautiful and just shine.