Last Monday I was cleaning our bedroom when The View came on TV. I was only half paying attention as the ladies were covering Hot Topics when they began discussing Halloween. There was the usual chatter about who does what for Halloween, do they let their kids trick-or-treat, do they pass out candy, etc. etc.
When it was Sherri Shepard's turn to speak she revealed that she doesn't dress her small son up for Halloween, nor does she allow him to trick-or-treat. I thought to myself for that split-second that her child was really missing out - traditional Halloween is like a rite of passage in America- when Sherri revealed that the reason why she doesn't allow her son to dress up isn't because Halloween is un-safe, un-religious, or whatever- she said that she doesn't dress him up for Halloween because its yet another time in life where there is just so much pressure to be the best, look the scariest (or if your a woman: sexiest) and spend the most money on the perfect costume and she wants to help her child avoid the pressure since most other pressures in life are inevitable.
The other ladies agreed, remarked on how costumes used to cost under $10.00 and came with a cheap flammable gown of some type and a plastic mask on a string and that was that. Then they move on and the topic was closed.
At least on TV it was. The statement that Sherri made has stuck with me for the past week. And maybe not so much the entire statement as one specific word: pressure.
Pressure swirls around me everyday pushing me and pushing me. For me personally- and maybe for many of you out there in blog land as well- its the pressure to be and HAVE it all.
To be practically perfect in every way.
Of course I know that I'm not- yet I have a really difficult time admitting my weaknesses.
Well sort of. Its kind of like I'm on a perpetual job interview - I'll admit my weaknesses but only if they can also be read as strengths.
I might say: I'm very organized, I'm a stickler for details, I'm always on time, I expect the best from everyone.
What I really mean is: I'm a control freak, I'm anal retentive, I'm disappointed by almost everyone I meet because I have unrealistically high expectations.
Perfection is unattainable but that doesn't stop our desire for it.
Its a little scary to me because its a desire that started slowly within me as a child when I would write notes in class or stories by hand then re-copy them later so that my note book was always freakishly neat. Its snuck up on me for years gradually gaining momentum as I got older evolving from pretty handwriting as a child to more materialistic desires in college.
When I was a freshman in college to me the height of fashion was Express and Nine West. Pantene Pro-V was top of the line hair care and I was sworn to love Max Factor's cosmetics forever. I was sitting in the student union with a girlfriend of mine and she pulled out a small Louis Vuitton from inside her over-sized school tote bag. I had seen other Louis bags around campus and had admired them for their understated elegance but had never thought much about them beyond this. My friend immediately informed me that hers was fake- bought from a street vendor in NYC and I remember thinking to myself, "fake why ever would anyone need to buy a fake bag" as I had not yet become privy to the world of high fashion and its high price tags. I later googled the designer and my innocence was stripped. Nine West purses turned to Kroger bags, Pantene turned to Suave and I was left realizing that there was a whole world out there that I never even knew that I wasn't a part of. Sometimes I wish I still didn't.
Now that I've started my "adult life" its evolved even further the past several years have been dedicated to the pressure to be one step ahead of my boss, to have the best ideas, the best team spirit, to be perceived as bright, pretty, smart, sexy, cute, perky, bubbly, adaptable, structured, in the know, accessorized, stylish and the list goes on and on and on and on.
And I have to admit lately these feelings have been trickling out of my real life and into my blog life. Its the pressure to have the best decorated Christmas tree, the best photographed weekend snapshots, the prettiest outfit for an outdoor wedding, the most expensive handbags in your outfit of the day picture, the most followers, the best giveaways, the quirkiest things to say, the most extravagant wedding, the most weight lost, the most fun family, the cutest baby, the prettiest, cleanest, most expensive house.
Aren't we all so damn tired?
I'm going to be completely forthright with you ladies. Not to sound cliche - but I'm just going to keep it real. I don't want to be the girl who tries to keep up with the Jones'. Like Sherri Shepard: I'm not going to add any extra pressure to my life when the rest is unavoidable. So if its alright with you I'm going to keep letting you: my virtual friends (also virtual strangers) into my life but I'm not going to mop, straighten, sweep, re-decorate an area of my house just to take a picture of it. I'm not going to suck in (any more than normal anyway) for pictures of myself that I'm going to post. I'm just going to be me.
An honest to God girl in my mid 20s. Making good money but paying a hecka lotta bills, renting a townhouse instead of owning a home, with no kids, too many cats, watching too much TV, not working out enough, eating Mcgriddles for breakfast too many times a week, only washing my hair every three days, shopping too much, praying too little, sometimes drinking myself into a mess, living a life, loving a man, and trying my best to be a good person one day at atime by dropping a little change in my Karma bank every now and again.
I don't have the answer to how not to succumb to pressure- but I do have a prescip. to Atovan so I think I'm gonna be just fine.
But tell me- don't ya'll feel it sometimes too? How do you shake it off? What gets you over yourself and out of your own way to be the best you that you can be- even if it means (gulp) you're not perfect?