Ladies, I love you.
I am not your competition. You are not mine. It is not my goal to be better than you, smarter than you, faster than you, fitter than you, funnier than you. In turn, I do not care if you are better than me, smarter than me, faster than me, fitter than me, or funnier than me. We are individually awesome, and I love that about us.
We are lovely. We are inspiring. We are wonderful.
When I see you on the street and I smile, believe that it is an honest smile. A smile of friendship. It is not a smirk. I am not silently laughing at your skirt or judging your hair. I’m smiling at you because we are women, and we are inherently friends.
When I see you in the store with your unruly child, your dirty child with only one shoe, or your oh-so-special needs child, I promise that the look you see on my face is one of understanding or humble appreciation. I truly believe you are doing the best you can with what you’ve got. I will believe that your unruly child is just missing his father who is away serving our country. I will see you with your one-shoed, dirty child and assume that you have had a fabulous day at the park, the zoo, or in the back yard. I will see you with your special needs child and be in awe of the power and ability you possess. Any look you see on my face will be compassion. I am not your competition.
When I see you out jogging with your best friend, I will not snicker at your pace. I will not speed my pace up to match or outdo yours. I am me, and I am fine with that. This is not a race. This is my life. I am not in competition with you. I will only see you as equals. As women who are bettering themselves just like me. I will admire you for bettering yourself. I am not your competition.
When I see you angry or bitter, spitting hateful words at your spouse, a receptionist, or a single-mother-waitress just trying to make ends meet, I will pray for you. I will understand that you are in pain, and you don’t know what to do with it. I will help you in anyway I can. I will not look at you as less than me. I will not deem you “trash” and move on. I will think of the many times I have been you in my life, and I will empathize. I am not your competition.
When I see you in my classroom, I will not wish I was 18 again. I am a vibrant, intelligent, successful, and most importantly, happy 33 year old woman. You are all of those things too…but in 18 year old form. I will love you. I will guide you. I will make sure you see what I see when I look at you: Potential. Beauty. Success. A whole life to live, and live well. I will not envy your smooth skin or shiny hair. I will not envy the years you have ahead of you. I have lived those years already. And I have my own years to live still. I will simply look at you and say, “Anything you want is yours. You deserve it. You are worth it. Go out and earn it.” And my prayer will forever be that you will listen to my newly formed wrinkles and me. I am not your competition.
We are women. When did we become enemies? Why do we have to invent words like “frenemies”? Why do we drag one another down? Women are strong. Women are brave. Women are inspirational. Shouldn’t we build one another up? Make each other better people? Make one another stronger? Braver? Inspire each other?
I won’t waste another second dragging you down. You are not my competition, and I am not yours. I am your friend. And that, lovely ladies, will make me a better person. Not better than you. Just better than me.
The only competition you need…