The Type Of Woman You Should Aspire To Be
The type to straighten another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.
“Be the type of woman to straighten another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.” — Unknown
I am afraid to say I am not the crown-straightening type of woman. I never really have been, either. But my friend Liz, she is that woman. She is that woman and so much more.
I just hung up the phone with Liz. We had a quick, but much needed check-in at 8 a.m. because I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and my mood was rapidly declining. I knew she could make me feel better. I knew she would call me on my own self-pity bullshit and steer me in the direction of gratitude. I also knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that she would cheerily answer my early morning phone call and offer me unconditional love and support. She was there for me this morning just as she has been consistently and lovingly for the past six years, and, my God, would I be lost without her.
I love this woman more than I ever thought possible.
You see, I have never been a woman’s woman. For as long as I can remember, I haven’t clicked with other women. I am nothing like them, I tell myself as I shake their hands at a party or meet a coworker for the first time. And so I become someone else. I am fake and phony. I pretend. I ask questions I don’t really want to know the answers to. I ooh and aah when I really want to say, “That sounds like a boring weekend” or “Enough already, Jen, can I just get back to my office?”
Interacting with other women becomes this painful experience for me because I am desperately trying to mask my own unique self. And then I tend to blame the other women and make assumptions about them. I assume that whatever I say won’t be the right thing. My jokes won’t be funny to my female counterparts. She won’t get me. I will offer too much information or try to compliment her dress and she will take it as an insult. I will ask her how her weekend is but my tone will come across as dismissive or superior or completely and totally inferior, and within minutes we will have established a completely unhealthy dynamic that will be hard to undo.
What’s really going on is that I feel inferior and anxious and uncomfortable around women. Somewhere in my life I learned that being me (around other women) wasn’t enough. She is better than me (whatever that means) fills my head as I struggle to become a better, albeit fake, version of myself. I shrink myself. I think that if they knew the true me they wouldn’t like her; they would judge her or quickly decide that she is immature or not-so-smart, or both. I don’t want to be seen for who I am because I am afraid — of rejection, of judgment, of that all-too-familiar feeling of not being good enough.
I am so busy worrying about what they think of me, comparing and overanalyzing, that I am in no way, shape or form able to even notice their crowns, let alone straighten it if it is crooked. I just want to be sure mine is standing tall and shining bright. Even it means sacrificing my true self.
But it was never like that with Liz. I met Liz in a moment of vulnerability. I needed a friend and I needed a strong female to show me the way. Within minutes of meeting her, I knew she would be a meaningful part of my life for a very long time. No armor went up. I wasn’t fake or phony, and I didn’t shrink myself or create a mask. I was … me — 100 percent flawed and weird and vulnerable me.
And she accepted me. Exactly as I was. And she still does on any given day. Even when I am at my worst and being mean or selfish, or when I inadvertently lose my cool and push her away because that is what I do — push people away. In our friendship there is no fear. I am not worried that I will lose her or anger her beyond repair, and I know that she will be there for me no matter what. I never wonder what she thinks of me or if I am good enough. As a matter of fact, she is one of the few people who consistently reminds me that I am good enough, worthy and always and unconditionally loved by God and the people who matter most in my life.
And so I’ve created this friendship with Liz — a female friendship. One that I never thought I would have. I allowed myself to place fear aside and be vulnerable; to show her the real me, day after day for six years. Never once did I feel that desire to be someone else. I took a risk and set my fear (of rejection or not being good enough) aside, and I showed her my rawness and my needs and my flaws.
And she loved me. She has comforted me through life’s worst days and helped me rejoice and be grateful on the best ones. I am now better equipped to give that love, to help others and judge them less because Liz modeled this behavior for me. She straightens my crown, and on the phone with her today I realized I might finally be ready to go straighten someone else’s. Maybe even another woman’s.