Posts Tagged ‘confidence’

I live in a very middle-of-the-road, middle-class neighborhood, own a middle-class sized house and drive a middle-class car. I guess my car could even be considered lower middle-class. It is a bottom of the line, drab gray Nissan Sentra, after all.

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My Brand of Car

 

But even though I live the very middle class lifestyle, I do have some “HMG” possessions. What’s HMG, you ask? It’s code for: “High Maintenance Girl.” Perhaps I need to put this in clearer perspective.

I live next to, or nearby a neighborhood where upper-middle to obscenely wealthy people live. These are the folks who live in McMansions, drive luxury cars (when their Hummers are in the shop, of course) and have nannies to help raise their private-school going kids. Most of the moms are stay-at-homes, who spend a lot of time out and about showing the world how “HMG” they truly are.

Whenever my husband and I dare to venture “across the tracks of our suburban slum territory” into their “promised land of plenty,” we play something called the “HMG game.” This is a lot like the license plate game, only we compare women instead. Let me describe the look of the HMG girl: most often caucasian, blond — natural or bottled, always perfectly coiffed and held back with a pony tail or leopard print head band, leggings or yoga pants, minimum of 2 carats of diamonds on her ring finger, spray tan, carrying a designer handbag, wearing bug eyed sunglasses and usually carrying a Starbucks grande coffee in one hand and her Iphone 6 in the other.

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Their Type of Handbag

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My One Size Fits All Bag

When we spot one of “them”, we try to make a story around  her: where she lives, what she does for a living (if she even has to work), what her husband does for a living (probably a workaholic, but who knows?), and how many spoiled kids they are letting their live-in nannies raise for them. Then, we watch and see how they interact with “common, ordinary folk” such as clerks working the counters at the local Starbucks or CVS. Sometimes, we just want to know IF they will take their eyes away from their expensive smartphones to even lower their social status long enough to engage in conversation with the working class peasants.

Yes, I know I sound bitter, jealous and angry over these HMG. You might even think that somewhere in the back of my mind I keep wondering “Where is my rich, handsome prince who will buy me everything I want, things I actually don’t need, and allow me to stay at home and watch someone else raise my kids?” The truth is, I wouldn’t want that lifestyle if I could have it. It’s just not me.

blue-jeans-cloth-texture-world-collection_639877I have always been low-maintenance. My favorite outfit is blue jeans, tennis shoes and a Tshirt/hoodie of some sort. I prefer sweatpants or hospital scrubs and leggings to yoga pants. I get my haircut at the local barbershop for $14.00, and that includes the tip.

Incidentally, for all you women out there who think a barbershop haircut is too “manly” and “unprofessional”, let me clue you in on a little secret: barbers have much stricter requirements for getting their licenses to cut hair than “beauty” professionals. While they don’t learn how to color, they do spent a lot of time (600 hours, to be exact) learning how to just cut hair on both men and women. I trust my female barber 100%, and have never been disappointed by her work.

Hold onto your high-priced designer handbags ladies — there is one other thing I do (or rather, don’t do) that clearly does not qualify me as “HMG”. I. HATE. TO. SHOP. Hate it. I would rather head to the thrift store and buy gently used clothing there than spend ten minutes in a Kohl’s trying to find good deals AND good fits. I spent twenty minutes there last week and left in disgust – I couldn’t find a single pair of jeans to fit me. And shoe shopping? Forget it. I have three pairs of shoes: one work quality, one pair of tennis shoes, and one dress pair. That’s it. I can’t wear high heels because of my bad feet (I’m tall enough anyways) and I choose comfort over fashion any day.

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“Like Feet Up a Sheep’s Ass” Warm

But, I have to admit I own a “couple” of items that might put me on the edge of HMGness: I own a pair of UGG boots and, yes, a Northface hoodie. But, these come with a very good explanation: the UGG boots were bought because of hockey, and the Northface was a gift from my students years ago. I was a hockey mom for years, and those 5 am ice times in mid winter when the temps were in the negative teens made sitting on cold metal bleachers very miserable. By the time my son’s game was over, I couldn’t feel my toes. I told my husband that, if I don’t get the warmest pair of boots ever made to keep my toes from becoming popsicles, I was done with going to watch my son play. After talking with the other moms, I came to the conclusion that a pair of high top UGG boots were the only things that would keep my feet and calves toasty warm. So, I bought them and they are the only (and last pair) of boots I will ever purchase or wear in winter. And they make my feet feel like I’ve just shoved them  up a sheep’s ass. See how that makes me different?

I do have one final confession, however, that makes me rethink my potential HMG status: manicured nails. I have been a nail biter all my life. I’ve always thought that manicures are a complete waste of money and too luxurious a commodity for me to get done. Until recently, that is.

As soon as I began therapy, I noticed my nervous habits such as nail-biting and bouncing my leg up and down had begun to diminish. While I have always remained calm on the surface, my inner turmoil was still burbling underneath and coming out through nail biting. It was a daily habit.

Now, as I continue exploring my past and all the feelings I was never allowed to share and experience (surrounding the unplanned pregnancy and subsequent adoption), I no longer feel any urge to bite my nails. They are long, strong and beautifully manicured. And while I continue to get my hair cut at a deep discount, shop at thrift stores and generally live a low-maintenance lifestyle, I will also continue to “cross the tracks” into the world of HMGness, and get my nails done professionally on occasion. Why?

Because my manicured nails say, “I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been.”

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Yep, it’s time for another one of my rants about my world. Wow, you just can’t beat television as a valuable source of material for rants. I’ve struck the mother lode with this medium.

First, it’s important to talk a little bit about “set precedents.” For years, Hollywood has given all of us “real women” an incredibly impossible ideal that all women need to strive for in order to achieve “perfect beauty”: a size 0 (that’s a “zero”, not an “O”, in case you’re also a blond, skinny, chick reading this right now).

Okay, before I start getting responses that accuse me of being sexist, ageist, “fattist” or whatever the latest PC term for overweight is, I will own up to my own figure. I am not, I repeat, NOT one of those women who fit into size 0 pants. If math serves me correctly here, I’m more of a size 14(ish). Bigger on the days I’m retaining water. Less on the days I drink more coffee. Needless to say, I’m “full bodied”. But, I can carry it off better than, say someone the size of a professional jockey. I’m tall. I used to be tall and thin, now I’m just tall. Genetics, aging, childbirth, and not watching my weight (because I no longer care) has added several unwanted, unneccesary pounds to my 5’10″(ish) height. I say “ish” because according to my doctor, I’ve shrunk. I think I was just slouching on that day she measured me.

I own my weight issues and certainly can’t do anything about my height issues. I just thought I’d put this out there so nobody could come back at me and say “Well, you can say all this because YOU don’t have anything to talk about!” (I’m also “blond”, so that argument goes out the window too, nyah!)

But, of course, I do have something to say. Ladies, it is time we take some things back — like weight issues and hair issues.

I saw a preview for the latest round of reality TV shows called “More to Love”, and this one looks like nothing more than an excuse to take the sting out of the word “fat” and soften it up with the euphemism: “real woman”. Are you kidding me?

The premise behind this concept is simple: a bachelor is searching for his “Miss Right” (sound familiar here?). But, with a twist. This time, the chubby chaser is looking for a–yes–they said it out loud, “real woman”. Translation: women somewhere in the 5′-5’6″ height range and between 175 – 215 lbs (rough estimate based on some quick calculations I made regarding circumference) As I once heard it said: “Just a hugging and a chalking I go”. I’m no math wizard here, but I know “fat” when I see it. And folks, these women are “fat”.

I don’t have a problem with the premise of the show. Fat women need love too. I totally support anyone who can find the love of their life — skinny, fat, pimply faced, etc. So long as they aren’t searching for an abusive, controlling, addicted, waste of a human being, who am I to argue or complain?

The problem I have is in the euphemistic and patronizing tone of the words “Real woman”. Come on, let’s call it like we see it. Am I any less “real” as a woman because I don’t weigh 215 (approximately) pounds? Am I less of a “real woman” because I was blessed with long legs and a short torso?

I have an entirely different definition of “real woman”, and it has nothing to do with weight or height, but everything to do with character:

1. A real woman isn’t afraid to leave the house without full make up on, uncombed hair or even an unshowered body.

2. A real woman isn’t afraid to put a worm on a hook, land the fish, kiss the first one for good luck, and pry the bloody hook from the fish’s mouth.

3. A real woman couldn’t tell you the difference between Donna Karan and Dolce Gabbana, but she can hogtie a calf, castrate a bull and chop a chord of wood, if need be — all before noon on a blistering summer day (or midnight on a frigid winter’s night).

4. A real woman doesn’t sit around and whine about her man’s failings, or the fact that she can’t find a decent man, or she’s too fat, too ugly, too poor, etc. She just works with what she has. If she decides to drop any weight, let’s hope it’s the man who doesn’t love her for who she is, not because he told her so.

5. A real woman doesn’t sit around comparing herself to other women. I get that Jennifer Aniston is a size 0. I accept that she is “knock-‘em-dead” gorgeous. She also has a personal trainer, most likely a professional chef, a stylist, personal shopper, etc. Her job is to BE gorgeous and she does it well.

6. A real woman doesn’t let society define or determine who she is, especially if these criteria are coming from a male-dominated industry.

These are just a few things I consider to be part of a real woman’s treasure trove of value. Notice nowhere in there did I say “a-real-woman-is-actually-a-fat-woman-upset-at-being-called-fat-who-is-really-just-trying-to-find-her-place-in-a-society-that-has-created-impossibly-unrealistic-expectations-of-beauty-and-worth.” However, I bet that’s the first thing the pitch people for this reality show said to the network producers as they were hauling out the contract to sign.

It’s time we stopped with all this nonsense about beauty and how it is defined. I, myself, could lose some pounds. As I said before, I own this statement. But, let’s drop the euphemisms and start calling it like we see it.  These women on this show are fat. If TV producers want to create a show called “Real Women”, then I say they search for more appropriate and fitting women to answer their audition calls– and sit back to see how many really do show up after all.

Because a real woman would have the confidence to say “No, I don’t need the spotlight of television to show the world how beautiful I know I am.”