A few months ago, I was mindlessly clicking through Instagram stories after a glass or two of wine. I reached the stories of an influencer; there are a few whose stories I always watch. In this particular story, said influencer was modeling a pair of jean shorts, and, ask my husband, I’m a real sucker for a good jean short.
I knew, but blame liquid confidence, that these shorts were not a pair I could pull off. Needless to say, as easy as a little “swipe up” Instagram action, those bad boys were in my cart, along with a few other things to qualify me for free shipping and ordered.
Sure enough, as soon as the shorts arrived and I tried them on, what I already knew was revealed: they just aren’t made for me. Herein lies the lesson of my backstory. Why, as a relatively confident, body-positive 36-year-old woman, did I (do I?) want to look like the other woman did in the jean shorts?
Am I not hyper-aware of how much I am teaching my daughter, and sons, to lead instead of following the crowd?
We don’t all have to be the same, like the same things, or even like each other. In fact, isn’t that exactly what makes the world go around?
In the era of influencing, it’s so easy to believe that just because someone else’s life seems great and happy over social media, it must mean that they have no problems, OR that we are doing things wrong just because we’re different. It must mean that we need all that they have. Contrary to what we may see, or those small snippets we’re exposed to, no one is out there living a perfect life doing everything and doing it well.
How do I know? I talk to my friends, colleagues, parents at elementary school pick up, and I am pretty sure we all feel like we lack in some way or another.
But, are we?
Does it really matter if I’m a working mom who formula-fed, that I think busy is better, or that I can’t function without coffee? Does it matter that my television is on all day, that I believe in early bedtimes and strict schedules? Or that I’m an impulse shopper (oops, jeans shorts!) who hates a mess? All those things may not work for you. I don’t have to defend them.
There are some things I’m really good at; areas where I excel. I pride myself on being one of the most prepared people I know. Need something? I probably have it. I’m also a pretty fun person who is willing to try most things.
Not to be outdone by the good, but there are things I’m terrible at, things I have zero interest in ever being good at. Plants, for example, I can’t keep a plant alive if it was the only thing on earth I was tasked with. Also, baking. I once brought cookies, the kind where you add a couple of ingredients to the mix, to a friend’s house, and realized that I forgot to add one of the two ingredients when we were eating them.
Some of my friends can pull off an amazing messy bun, whip up a cake, throw really cool themed parties for their kids, walk perfectly in heels, rock a bold pair of jean shorts.
I love all of that for them, even if none of it is for me.
Maybe I’ve been giving myself too much credit. While I’m priding myself on raising my kids to be themselves regardless of what the trends are, here I am, an adult, still trying to fit inside some boxes. As we all continue to re-enter the world socially, I’m going to be mindful of my comparisons, my envies, and my “swipe ups.l” I don’t need to do things just because others are doing it. I don’t need to like everything someone else likes. I don’t need something just because someone else has it.