Friday, February 15, 2013

Up On a Pedestal- The Unreachable Woman

This is the first in a short series of how women treat each other. I'll be thinking about what happens when there is too much admiration, next,  too much competition, and then finally, too much judgement. 

We have all been taught and admonished to not ignore the less popular,  the misfits,  the new person. We extend ourselves to make them feel welcome and may even pat ourselves on the back for our inclusiveness.

Today I want to talk about the girl on the other end of the spectrum  The one who through no fault of her own has been put in a a pedestal.  There she sits, admired by all, but befriended by few.  Hear me, I'm not talking about one who is stuck up or believes themselves to be above everyone, no, this girl is truly admired and looked up to; perhaps too far up to. I've known several ladies like this.  Every comment I have ever heard was spoken with sincerity and esteem,  "She is the best organizer, mom, teacher, cook, hostess...she's even slim. <insert wishful sigh> I don't know how she does it."
The result is that we look up to these ladies as a goal to aspire to, not a friend to have. I'm too messy for her to want me. I'll just grab another disheveled, disorganized, fast-food-feeding, temper-losing, (you know, LIKE ME) girl to be friends with, and maybe someday, clutching at each other for support, we can be something like Her.

I was recently at an event and struck up conversation with another lady. In the course of our talking, I began singing the praises of a specific group I used to belong to.  This lady had been a member at the same time, so I assumed she would have the same beatific memories I had.  Instead a look crossed her face and she asked, "You got all that from this group?"  Well of course I did! Didn't you?
No. No, she had not.  She was excited to join, open for friendship, not a  bit stand-offish, actively seeking (not just hoping for) relationship, but it just didn't seem to happen for her.  She even asked me why I though it might have happened (or didn't happen)  this way for her.

At the time I didn't have an answer; same group, same time, doing the same things, why do some come away with dear, life-long, friendships and others come away still longing?  After some considering, I think that at least part of the answer in her case may be that people assumed that she was so accomplished and so  popular that she didn't need them as a friend.  I know for certain that I have done this.  I'm good at some things and not good at some things and downright struggle with other things, and for the most part, I'm ok with that (or at least getting ok with it). I see in most of my friends that they also have strengths and weaknesses and that is a comforting thing.  Then I see ladies who just "have it all together" and I assume that they wouldn't need me or want me, that I have nothing to offer, so I don't even make an effort.

The truth is that no one has it all together to the point where they simply can't use another friend. I have an amusing memory of the time when the ice finally broke between myself and my friend G.  I had known her for quite some time and admired her.  She was good friends with several of my good friends, but I just wouldn't approach her... I  had her so far up on a pedestal that I wouldn't let myself get close.  One day we were working on a craft in a Ladies Group and making wreaths for our front doors.  Hers had great colors, a jaunty bow... and was stiff as a board. Flowers marching in strict order up both sides with the bow in the absolute bottom center.  She held it up and in a dismayed voice pronounced that it just wasn't RIGHT.  I went over and in a few moments added additional flowers, moved the bow to perch on the side and changed it from perfect symmetry to simply balanced.  All of a sudden it was cute instead of precise, and she was thrilled.  "HOW do you DO that?"   That was the beginning point, my perfectly precise friend G needed me, she NEEDED me to mess her up a bit.

We all have something to offer, even to those ladies who we admire too much to approach. Remembering my recent conversation,  I am a bit wistful now, thinking of the friendships that could have been forged, the blessings that could have been given and received. I'm going to send her a note today and admit that I've had her on a pedestal for too long, but that if she wants me, I will be her friend.    

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