Female Competition: Digging Deeper

My last post touched on how I was raised with an all too common female myth of competition.  Now I am going to delve just a little bit deeper into the subject, and the conflicts that I had to overcome and still do when interacting with women today.  As a society we are raised to keep work, home, and our family all in proper and perfect order all by ourselves.  We are taught that women are the competition and we can only make a name for ourselves by outdoing the lady down the street.  As I mentioned there can only be one best friend, and all other women are out to get you.  It is a sad but all too true myth that has kept many women from creating community and support systems that would be beneficial to all.  This is not a post though to place blame, just more to express where I came from and to accept and grow from those all too common norms.
When I was a young teenager I watched the adult women in my life and how they interacted for guidance.  It seemed that they believed in wine, makeup and gossip.  And as is all too common, children grow up either emulating their elders or trying to aim for the complete opposite behavior.  I chose the latter in concept.  However I did not have any skill set in mind, to replace the gossipy interactions.  So I developed friendships with men, rather than learn to forge close bonds with woman.  And those I did create bonds with were not what I now would recognize as healthy. 
The truth is, I have made a lot of mistakes when it comes to female interaction.  I have pushed away loved ones to prevent myself from getting hurt.  I have closed myself off emotionally to ensure that my nearest and dearest couldn’t know my inner thoughts, rationalizing that if they didn’t know my secrets then they couldn’t stab me in the back later or tell all their friends.  I isolated myself in an effort to protect myself, my pride and simply shut myself off.  I was raised to believe that this was the only way to interact with woman.  That they were my enemy, out to get me, and could not be trusted in any capacity. 
After my last post, I realized that I was not alone in this misguided thinking.  I am recognizing that woman should be champions of support for each other.  We should cherish each others differences and support the ladies in our lives.  We should be free to be intimate with our emotions, desires, and dreams. And yet, like many out there, I did not have a template to achieve this growing up.  Instead I had catty women, who never truly trusted one another and were constantly vying to be so and so’s best friend, as there could be only one.
I cannot make the pain I caused the beautiful woman of my past go away (both inside and out), but I can try.  And further, I can help educate other woman that we can work together in business, friendship and relationships without contempt or jealousy.  I may not yet have mastered the art of the female compliment, but I remember the ladies who have complimented me in the past, and I cherish those moments.  They stand out for me, and they have made a very positive impact, tearing down the myth that I was raised to believe.  The ladies in my life are not out to get me, they are here to love and support me.  We do not get together and gossip.  Instead with have conversations about our goals, dreams and provide support during the rough patches in our lives.  
I did not see this type of interaction growing up, but it is my earnest hope that the generation to come does.  That they grow up seeing the benefits of a female positive bonded society, and they forge healthy relationships with their peers and allies as children, instead of feeling the emptiness that I did, and frankly didn’t recognize until my 30’s.  And a personal thank you to all the women who have stood by and supported me as I broke away from this myth and opened myself up to your love and support.  I love you all!

Overcoming the Female Competition Myth

When I was little my mom raised me to believe that you could only have one female best friend.  She told me that women couldn’t get along in a dynamic greater than a pair scenario as we were too jealous and competitive.  She taught me that I should always have one best friend at a time and be happy with that.  Anything more was trouble.  This was reaffirmed during the bullying I experienced in junior high when one by one, the girls I befriended would turn on me and attack in groups both physically and emotionally.  It was a hellish time, and one that unfortunately was a large part of growing up and I dare say there are few people out there who do not have their own experiences with a bully or two.  It made me leery of women, especially in groups.  It took until my 30’s to hush the voice of “they are laughing behind your back” whenever I would go home after a girl’s night.  That strong distrust that was cemented was difficult to over come. 
As I came to recognize the reality of my female mis-education, I realized that I had actually compartmentalized my female friends and gave them titles so that they were no longer competing for that one prized spot of best friend.  For example, my cousin was family, so she was more than a best friend.  I had my childhood friend who was long distance so she was my oldest friend.  I had the girl who I called my sister in high school and I had my 2 wives.  Writing it out like this makes it seem so calculated and yet, each one of these titles came organically and played a major role in who I am today.  
Having grown up with these preconceived notions, I knew I was not allowed to have a bunch of female friends for fear that we would always fight and compete with each other.  And as I result I feel I missed out in one big way, I did not have the female on female exploration that media says you are supposed to in college or university.  I had women around me, but I was incredibly selective of who I shared what with.  And I felt I needed to spread my feelings and secrets around.  No lady in my life knew everything about me.  They instead each filled a very select role and place to ensure that they all were equals at the end of the day.  If there is no head honcho of best friend then there is no person to rise above for supremacy, thus competition is eliminated.   
Now I find myself a little unsure of where to categorize the women in the couples that we date.  I don’t have a natural tendency for intimacy with them, but I do have curiosity if that makes any sense.  Women tend to smell better, are softer, and have all these qualities for compassion that males do not.  So I find myself asking time and time again, what do I do with the female female dynamic?  Will this become a strong friendship, will this turn sexual.  Where will the two of us find ourselves down the road and what name will I give her?  Will she be a girlfriend?  A partner? Or something more removed, like my partner’s partner? 
I now firmly believe that female competition is a myth.  One on one especially, woman want to help, to listen, and build a strong community, not fight or vie for supremacy.  I wish younger me knew this, and had learned to forge better and stronger relationships with women.  Perhaps though, I would still find myself in the same place, a little unsure, a little nervous, and of course excited to explore new relationships in their entirety.

My Realization About Ladies Night

I am and have always been a bit of a late bloomer.  It can take me longer than most to accept new and different ideas, or at least there is a part of me that perceives it this way.  I was the last of all my friends to enter puberty, one the last ones to lose my virginity, and I have just discovered that I am one of the last to truly understand and appreciate my female friends, aka girls nights.  This seems so odd to even admit or to write about, especially as I posted in November about my amazing girls night.  But a poignant realization has brought me to a whole new understanding about the company of my females. 
I have always had my little circle of ladies in my life.  I have my cousin, who is my nearest and dearest, childhood friends, the ladies I refer to as my wives, and recently a group of amazing and strong ladies who are happy to share bottle after bottle of red wine and laugh until our cheeks hurt.  But I must admit the problem that I only just discovered, for me having women was wonderful and I enjoy their company, but I was always missing my man or the man of the hour.  If I went out dancing with just the girls, I would make sure that I was dropped off or picked up by boyfriend.  When I would go out for drinks and appetizers with my female friends my phone would always be visible and you can bet that I was flirting with someone on the other end via text, e-mail or various other forms of technology.  I always thought it was wonderful that I had these ladies to talk to, but a part of me was just longing for the sex that awaited me when I got home.
And to be honest with myself, I only just admitted this to myself this weekend.  I would have a few hours where I would forget about boys and talk about life and other various things, but some guy would always creep into my consciousness.  Of course the exception to this is and always has been if any of my friends male or female needed my help.   In this case, my full attention was and is always there.  I love the people in my life and I enjoy being a source of comfort or just being that ear to listen.  I am not completely selfish, just in the light of ladies night.  I am 28 years old, and this past weekend I just had the most fulfilling ladies night that I have ever had.  We laughed, drank, talked about boys, life, and sex.  But the difference was that I was completely absorbed in the conversation and was not wanting it to end.  There is something to be said I think for living life to the fullest.  I have acknowledged that I eagerly want to attain this in my relationships.  But the most amazing side result was that this is trickling into even my female relationships. 
I don`t think I was ever a girly girly for lack of a better term.  I have though put up a wall between myself and the ladies in my life.  For so long I have not shared anything but funny stories and the current points of my life.  To open up and share fantasy, and reality with these women and hear about their lives, wants and desires, what else can I say other than I was missing a really amazing gift.  Life does not have to be plodded on alone, instead you can share and learn with each other the failings and shortcomings.  Even more amazing though, is to have woman who applaud and share the joy and accomplishments with.  Women are not the enemy and competition that I think so many of us have come to believe throughout our lives.  Thus I think it deserves mentioning that the relationships we forge with the people of the same sex can be just as important as how we relate and react to the opposite ones.

Ladies Night

I’m going to keep this post nice and short.  I hope I am not the only one who has had a conversation with her boyfriend that just bores him to tears?  Well I have, and what’s more I have a boyfriend who will call me out on it.  Which is for the most part a good thing.  If I hear this more than once or twice in a few week span, then I know it is time for a girls night out.  It seems really simple, but for some reason this took me a long time to really figure out.

I was taught that the man in your life is your best friend and you should be able to share anything and everything with.  This is how I have historically approached every relationship.  With this notion that whatever is going on in my little coconut then my partner wants to hear.  Reality check!  He doesn’t.  Low and behold there was a solution and that solution is a girls night out.  There is something so amazingly stabilizing about having an evening out with the ladies.  Having the opportunity to chat in chick speak and get some emotions off your chest.  And the same holds true for the opposite sex.  Having a guys night, drinking beers, shooting the shit, it’s cathartic and feels oh so great.

So as I pack to go to Las Vegas for a few days, I leave you with this.  If you see the eyes rolling in your partner after you have prattled on for a few minutes, recognize what this means.  Call up the ladies, get dressed up and go for a evening out.  Oh and tell your man exactly what you’re up to.  Let him know that it’s not his job to hear the latest gossip or about your woman problems.  But rather that you will come home with some fabulous stories about how you were told he was the luckiest man on earth to have such an amazing woman.  Quality time with your man beats quantity any day.