The Culture of Comparison

Like many, this is the the time of year I start to reflect. I actually start in September, because I treat my birthday as my new year, and I give myself until December 31 to toss out clutter – both physically and metaphorically speaking.

One thing that came up in my refelctations (yes, I’m Wendy Willams-ing words), was that there were people in my life comparing me to them. Or comparing themselves to others. There was a lot of comparing. This… is not cool. Because the comparisons felt so different from my reality.

A few examples:

Comparison #1 – My Dating Life

It was assumed a few times that my dating life was filled with opportunity and privilege. That I had greater access to a wider pool of men and therefore, I had a better dating life.

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Reality Check

I have not been asked out on a date ALL year. Like, all 365 days of it. Unless you count the dude who thought of me as a side dish on his fuck buffet. The year before that, it was NOTHING until November. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

I’ve had “opportunity”, but I’m the opposite of Harvey Specter – I can’t close. I’ve talked at length to men I’ve found attractive and left with no number. I know their blood type, but I don’t even know a last name. Attempts to follow up? #FAIL

So please, stop assuming that your romantic/sex life is the worst. Enjoy a good date for being a good date. Enjoy sex for being sex. Don’t place expectations on yourself based on what you see on the ‘gram. You don’t know what that relationship is like when the filters come off.

Comparison #2 – My So Called (Bougie) Life

I have, a nice apartment in a nice trendy neighbourhood. I have a cute dog. I dine out. One time a friend walked in and said, “look at all you got”. I’ve been told that my life is parties, fun, and…I dunno, “cool”?

Reality Check

My apartment is expensive. I haven’t traveled anywhere in so long my passport expired and I didn’t even realize it. I have a dog that I bought on sale. He eats President’s Choice kibble – and table scraps. He is more therapy dog than he is accessory and yes, I was advised by a professional to get him to improve my happiness (and he has).

I have worked between 70 and 80 hours a week. (Trying to cut back to 50!).

While I truly enjoy my solitude, it would be WONDERFUL to come home to a meal because the thought of cooking (and cleaning) for ONE is exhausting. So I buy takeout instead of groceries. Laundry? Yes, it’s great I have en suite…because sometimes in order to have clean clothes I have wash a load at 12:30 am. I often come home and fall asleep in my clothes because I. Am. Tired.

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Me, almost every weeknight

I do not begrudge your vacation pics…do not envy my rooftop patio pics.

Comparison #3 – “Well you can find clothes easily. It’s harder for some of us.”

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Reality Check

I’m 5’3-ish, 150 lbs. My mother calls me fat. Old on the street call me fluffy. Cat callers will call me a fat bitch when ignored. The labels range from size 8 to size 12 and they all fit the same. I’m not built like a video girl and I live in a city with a disproportionate amount of video girls. So those comparisons are ALWAYS there and they annoy me.

I would rather eat all the foods and do all the nothing. But I can’t. I have a chronic illness. My diet and exercise choices aren’t determined the size of the clothing label; my illness has dictated that for 25 years. If I don’t maintain a delicate balance, I literally cannot walk. I’ve blacked out in the street. I often crawl on the floor of my nice apartment to the bathroom to throw up, because the soles of my feet are in fiery pain. There are days I scream and cry in pain until I pass out. I’ve missed birthdays, christenings, milestones, events, and work because of it. So I do what I can holistically, because pharmaceuticals aren’t effective. If that means the tradeoff is I’m a standard size, then that’s what it is.

Comparison #4 -You have it easier than me because gender/weight/skin tone/income

Reality Check

Think whatever you want. We could sit and play Oppression Olympics all fucking day, and no one is gonna walk away with a medal. We will sit and compare bad thing to bad thing to try and make the other person feel better about their shit until the end of days.

The facts are there are things that are good for me and there are things that are good for you. MY good doesn’t automatically mean that it’s BETTER than your good, or should be the good that you have. Get it?

You know how a bunch of folks will be saying, “leave x behind in 2016”? I wish we could leave behind this culture of comparison. Can we stop using other peoples’ #BestNine as our personal vision boards? Can we take our relationships with each other and focus on what we have in common versus what we have in comparison? I know what load I carry, and if you think this post was in any way some “woe is me” moment, you’ve missed the bloody point.

Trust. There is something that you have someone else envies. Compare what YOU don’t have to what you DO have. If there is something you want for YOUR life, go after it. If there is something in YOUR life causing clutter, GET RID OF IT. Make space for the things you want. DON’T look at someone’s good fortune, good moment, or good filter and think, “I wish I had that”.

“That” which you covet? You don’t want THAT.

You want how it makes them feel.Fill your life with the things that give you THAT feeling.

Because you don’t know what the tradeoff was for them to have that.

/rant

 

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#MyMotherMadeMeDrink – Xmas 2016

On Christmas Eve, my mother asked me about my dating life.

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I dodged the question.

On Christmas Day, a friend of the family called.

“Auntie says Merry Christmas and wants to know when you’re getting married.”

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Blame the sorrel and spiced rum for my response: “CAN I GO ON A DATE FIRST?! Merry Christmas”

On Boxing Day, my mother casually drops that she has never liked any of the men I’ve dated.

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Wait. What?

My mother thought I was going to marry one of these dudes! I didn’t even think I was going to marry one of them!

“Uhm. You thought we’d get married…?”

“Yeah. But I realized later. He was a six at best.”

“A SIX? You’d thought I would marry a SIX?”

“Welllll. Not NOW. But you were young then. I didn’t like the cheater at all. Nope.”

“Okay. Not at first, but–”

“Not EVER. I never told anyone. Except your sister. She agreed.”

WAIT.

HOLD UP.

You welcomed these men into your home. Made meals for them. But you never once expressed your doubts to me?!?!

“I didn’t like the one from high school. The wannabe rapper.”

WAIT. We’re going into the archives?

My mother basically told me ANY dude I’ve brought home over the past 25 years has been “meh”. That is a direct quote. “Meh.”

“You know who I’d think you like? That Steph Curry. I think that would be cute.”

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“Mom. I can’t date another liteskint dude. We’d look related!”

(Let’s pause for a moment since my mom laughed for a full twenty seconds.)

“Really? Hmmm. I guess. But if you can’t date light skinned men, how you gonna date a White guy”

“I don’t LOOK WHITE mother”

“Wellllll. Wait. Why are you pouring more rum into that sorrel?”