Tuesday, March 20, 2012

To Compare or Not to Compare

I'm generally pretty satisfied with myself and confident in my abilities, but I know it's human nature to question yourself from time to time.

Unfortunately, I recently started to compare myself to other people, which leads to no good.

Career Comparison
There are some people who can be the first to the office and last to leave. I am not one of these people, yet seeing their willingness to continue working until the wee hours of the evening makes me start to question my work ethic. Do I work hard enough? Am I not doing enough if I'm able to leave at 5:30 or 6? Also, why do certain people hold certain titles in the office? And why are some of the office "cliques" difficult to penetrate? I don't want to compare myself to others at work - it's too exhausting, and I have a job to do. All I can really do is continue doing my best, so that's what I've resolved. You gotta stay out of office politics or you'll go crazy!

Couple Comparison
You know those insanely happy-seeming people who boast about their love constantly? Yeah, they bug me too. But part of me envies their certainty (as I blogged about before) and ability to just let go and get mushy. Now, I'm not about to start using baby voices with Ty and tweeting every sweet thing he does for me, but I do start to compare my relationship to others when I see other people pouring their hearts out. Are Ty and I not happy enough if I'm not turning into a love-sick teenager? Are we doomed because I don't constantly tell people he's "The One"? Honestly, I think every relationship is different, and people show their love in different ways. Sure, I show my feelings and wear my heart on my sleeve, but I'm not about to post the lyrics to a Jason Mraz song on Ty's Facebook wall. I show I care by telling him I appreciate him and surprising him with his favorite beer. He shows his love by steam cleaning my carpets for me when I'm out of town (seriously! Best. Gift. Ever.) and letting me rant for hours about my feminist beliefs. It's the little things that count. So I just have to always remind myself of that every time I start to question if our relationship is "good enough."

Countenance Comparison
As big as my hair is and as much as I love to eat sweets, I'm pretty secure with my looks. I've never been one to diet, wear a lot of makeup or go crazy with my wardrobe. I'm a plain jane, but a comfortable plain jane at that. That said - I naturally have moments of low self esteem, such as the other night at the Sacramento Kings game. The dancers came out, and lo and behold, one of them is an ex of Ty's. He "nonchalantly" looked through his binoculars and claimed he was "looking for his friend in the stands." Riiiight. One look at this girl, and I instantly regretted that hot dog, pretzel and jumbo-sized beer I'd downed at the beginning of the game. Not to mention, my Casper skin tone was extra apparent at that moment. Of course, Ty tells me he prefers my looks (and brain!) to anyone he's ever dated, so I know that these bouts of body insecurity are juvenile. (Side note: apparently, this girl's IQ gave Snooki's a run for her money. Yes, I know this is irrelevant since she is long gone from Ty's life, but the mean girl in me can't help but feel a little smug).

I know I'm not perfect and there's always room for improvement, but comparing myself to others is not the way to get there. I just need to stay focused on the things I can control and block out that part of my mind that starts to compare. My new motto is to just "do me." Oh, wait....that came out wrong.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Defense of Sluts

With all this hubbub going on over Rush Limbaugh unjustifiably calling a college student a "slut" and "prostitute" when she testified before a Congressional committee on why health insurance should cover birth control, I feel the need to respond to the outrage.

I rarely, if ever, take Rush seriously. He's an entertainer, not the voice of reason. So am I surprised he used such epithets? Absolutely not.

What gets my goat is this outpouring of people completely offended by him using the term "slut" toward a woman, and subsequently demanding that businesses pull their advertising from his show.

Why would a feminist be more upset over these people "defending" the college student than with Rush himself? Here's why: I don't even believe the idea of "sluttiness" exists. Nor do I believe we should continue to turn a woman's supposed sexual promiscuity into a pejorative.

It's the same idea as calling men out for "being like a girl" or "acting gay/like a fairy/[insert more homophobia here]." Why is it offensive to be a girl? And why is it such an insult to be gay? That's right - it's not.

So in that same way, who cares if a woman (or a man, for that matter) likes to get frisky from time to time? It's certainly none of my business what other people do (although I'm nosy, so I like to hear details anyway). I'm FED UP with women being judged by their sexual experience. It has no bearing on who women are as people, and one's private sexual behavior should not determine whether they are worthy of being loved, getting respect or being taken seriously. We ALL deserve respect, whether we're the Virgin Mary or Heidi Fleiss (well, maybe I won't go that far).

Now to get personal (but not too personal - my parents read this!): I was deemed a "late bloomer" by my peers when it came to getting my first kiss as a teenager. At the ripe old age of 15, I finally experienced this rite of passage behind my fence, braces and all. Before that, I was more than happy to share with people that I hadn't done that yet. There was nothing to be ashamed of! So what happened? I got called "prude" numerous times for years. Seriously?!

Fast forward to my 20s. One time I hooked up with 2 guys who were friends, each episode just a week apart. So what happened? I got called "dirty" and "easy" by a couple friends of mine (yes, not very good friends at the time, but both people have since apologized).

How is it that I can be judged for not doing things and then for doing things - you can't win either way! And therein lies the problem - I shouldn't be judged for acting one way or the other. I'm still a good person, a hard worker and a family girl. Who I am behind closed doors has no bearing on my worth.

So, whether you're a "prude" or a "slut," I say - wear it proudly! Ain't nothing wrong with it either way. That is, of course, unless you're partaking in any sort of sexual romping with Rush Limbaugh. Then yeah, you're a major whore.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Certain Certainty

In third grade, my friends and I were crushing hard on this guy Brian. He was an older man (fourth grader) and had dreamy blue eyes.

Not only that, but he had a way with words.

"Yo Tracy...you're ugly!"

And so began our love story. Soon after our first exchange of words, we began dating (clearly his "wooing" of me was an indicator that my self esteem was nonexistent). Our long, tenuous relationship (three days) eventually ended when I broke it off (a.k.a. I told a friend to tell one of his friends to tell him that we were no longer "going out").

I spent the rest of third grade, and even a part of fourth grade, wondering if I'd made the right choice.

Fast forward 17 years, and I still have issues sticking with relationships and being decisive.

Ty and I are happy - it's been 9 months, so we're still "new," and we're enjoying getting to know each other as time goes on. But inevitably, the question of "Will this last?" pops into my head, and doubt settles in.

I constantly worry about making the right choices in life, and my relationship choices are no different. At 26, I'm seeing friends get engaged, move in with their significant others, pop out kids (well, I'm not literally seeing the kids being born - ahh!). It's an age where society has this unwritten expectation that you "get serious" and figure out what you're going to do with your life forever and who you want it to be with.

That is daunting to me because I never like to feel "stuck." I mean, look at me - it took me forever to finally buy a car (and submit to car payments), and I plan on being an apartment/house renter for the foreseeable future. The permanence of certain choices is scary. I get nervous about taking a misstep and committing to something I'm not ready for.

So, here I am. In a 9-month relationship. We aren't close to moving in together, and we aren't close to getting engaged. So why does the idea of permanence freak me out? I think it's mostly a fear that comes from seeing others so certain.

I hear a lot of people say "Oh, I just knew he was the one" or "I have no doubts in mind that this is it". I was once someone who said those things - only to get my heart broken months later.

That conviction and certainty are something I have yet to get back, as much as I care about Ty. I don't think this really has to do with him - insert any guy into his position, and I'd still feel fearful. Thankfully, I don't receive direct pressure from anyone to take our relationship to the next level. We are both content with where it's at, and my parents aren't hounding me to produce grandkids anytime soon.

And my fears are calmed (for the time being) every time I remind myself that 1) I'm 26, not 86, and 2) I have the power to change anything I want at anytime. Nothing is really ever permanent. And that's something I'm certain of.