The Other Woman
Dear Pilot Wives,
We spend a lot of time wishing we were her – the other woman.
Not the beautiful one on television candy-coated in glitz and glammer. Not the perfect one in our playgroup with the clean, mannerly children. Not the successful one running that multi-million dollar law firm.
No, not her.
I will let you in on a little secret. Those ‘beautiful, perfect, successful’ women? Well, they actually wish they were her too.
Her – the other woman.
She is the unobtainable, unrealistic, disillusioned version of who we each think we ‘should’ be that we all carry around in those pretty little heads of ours, promoted by a media-driven society of airbrushed femininity and affirmed by our own inner lack of self-confidence or worth.
She is the ‘her’ who is thinner, prettier, funnier, richer, curvier, tanner, blonder, taller, smarter.
Mirror, mirror on the wall . . .
We spend our lives in a state of discontentment; never happy with the woman looking back at us in the mirror; always wishing that woman was . . . well, her.
Once upon a time (far, far too long ago), my husband and I attended a concert – a date night. Now for those of you with young children and traveling husbands, let me explain. Apparently, a ‘date’ is this extended, uninterrupted span of time when you and your man actually go somewhere together without any children and enjoy an adult-centered activity sans whining, spilled drinks, vomiting, temper tantrums, or broken china.
I know, right!?!
Here’s the thing. I used to always say that when I quit my old job I would be more of a ‘girlie girl.’ You know, wear long plastic fingernails, sport heels and fancy dresses, and maybe even put on a little mascara. I was determined to be everything I pretty much am not – a woman I thought my husband (and I) could love more.
Well, when I did quit that job a couple of years back, I figured a date night with my husband would be the perfect opportunity to wow him with my new, prettier, fancier, better version of me. Bring on that concert.
Oh, I gave it my very best shot, friends. I got all dolled up for my husband (which, by the way, is a very noble cause!) in a low-cut dress and sassy heels. Shoot, I even broke out the ol’
lawnmower…errrr, I mean razor…and tackled my biannual leg shaving escapade for the special occasion. Hey, don’t judge. I’m just being real here.
Let me tell you what happened.
First, I got mascara in my eye, that’s what. Ya’ll, that hurts!!
And since I had some fancy schmancy, fake, plastic razorblades glued to the ends of all my fingers, getting it out was something akin to Edward Scissorhands attempting to play catch with an overfilled water balloon. It wasn’t happening.
To make a long, pitiful story short, during the remainder of course of the evening I:
Tore a hole in those new $10 ‘untearable’ pantyhose (stupid razorblades), had to hike that strapless bra up from down around my waist in real ladylike fashion every two minutes, tripped a million and seven times on those heels and twisted my ankle (because I pretty resemble Bambi on ice with those things)…
And don’t even get me started on the death contraption that was crushing my gut and rib cage making it impossible to breathe (or eat) the entire night – all in an attempt to make me look an inch or two thinner.
I essentially spent the entire night feeling miserable and uncomfortable in my own skin. Why? All to make me look like ‘her,’ of course. The other woman that I had convinced myself was a better, more perfect version of the real, raw, unfiltered me.
When we got back home the next morning, the critters needed tending, the fence needed mending, holes needed digging, and plants needed planting. Let me tell you what, those acrylics aren’t made for tending, mending, digging, or planting – all the things I love most in this world. The things that make me . . . me!
And that’s when I suddenly realized the beautiful truth. For those of you who can wear some serious plastic on your fingertips and still accomplish a single thing (like zipping your jeans or scratching a mosquito bite . . . seriously?!), props to you girls. Major props! There is an art form there which I do not fully (er . . . at all) grasp. If you love fingernails and fancy hair, own it! That is the beautiful, unique way you were created to roll.
But farm girls just don’t do acrylic!
Some well-worn denim, a six-shooter, and a good old fashioned pair of snakeproof boots? Now those are some accessories this little cowgirl can get behind. Because those things are ME! That is the beautiful, unique way I was created to roll.
I don’t need to be the other woman because I am me; and who I am is perfect just the way God created me – beautiful, crazy, unique, un-girlie me! It’s truly been one of the most freeing epiphanies of my life.
Sexy? The media with it’s rampant airbrushing and photoshopping has us all pretty messed up about that particular concept. But they are wrong. Dead wrong. None of us will ever be good enough by their standards. Sexy is not defined by clothing, weight, height, nails, or makeup. Let me tell you what is sexy is: Sexy is a woman who knows exactly who she is, owns it, and wears it with pride.
Sexy is being content with being you.
When I got home from that concert, I went right to work ripping those fake nails off my fingers as fast as humanly possible. And when I finally finished, I looked down at my short, nubby, scuffed, chipped fingernails and realized that they were perhaps the most beautiful things in the entire universe. Because they are mine – perfectly, unequivocally, uniquely mine. Just the way I am.
I realized something essential as I admired my lovely, hard-working, country girl hands – hands that have raised babies and fed the homeless; hands that comforted the brokenhearted and supported the lonely; hands that have grown food and nursed sick animals. Hands that have worked hard and loved even harder. Those are my beautiful hands.
Not hers; but mine.
Perhaps, ladies, we spend so much time wishing we were the other woman, that we have forgotten to love being us – the woman we already are.
I am what I am – wonderfully and fearfully made, and who I am is perfect. Unapologetically so.
Ladies, it’s time to stop wishing you were her, because who you are is perfect too. Next time you look in the mirror, love the perfect, beautiful woman you see there gazing back at you. You are what you are—wonderfully and fearfully made. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t apologize for being you.
Because you are more than enough.
I love you, aviation family. Blue skies and tailwinds.
Angelia (a beautiful, un-girlie, fellow pilot wife)