Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:26
For several years Eliza was consumed with competing with me. Believe it or not she asked my SIL what was so special about me! Shortly she started to emulate my dress and speech. As if that was not enough she started wearing her hair in the same style as mine!
When I had Nicholas record our voicemail greeting, she promptly had Evan do the same. Strangely, she started telling people that she was a kindergarten teacher! I think she was intimidated by my level of education because she left a voicemail when we first started dating saying he has a girlfriend who is supposedly well educated…but I doubt that!
There were other little acts of competition along the way, too. Even presently when I would send her letters at her request about the boys I would include some of the things things that we were doing with them (i.e. On Friday we took them to a Pacer’s game and the boys had a great time!), she would write back telling me what all she has done with and for them. Not wanting that kind of competitive exchange, I quickly discontinued providing her with too many details.
When she married her current husband, she gave up. She went back to doing things the way she normally did. It was a relief because it felt so ackward being that it painfully obvious as to what she was doing. Truthfully I felt embarrassed for her. I also wanted her to realize that I didn’t want her to feel that she had to compete with me. What for? We are both winners.
Today I was thinking about how different yet similar Eliza and I are. I noted a few comparisons below which caused me to ponder why competition seems to be a common factor in relationships between women.
Obviously our persoanlities are different. I really don’t have to go into detail here.
We married the same man–enough said!
If I had to rate her in the looks department I would give her a 6 on a scale of 1-10. I would rate myself an 8. We are the same exact height, 5 feet tall and we pretty much weigh the same. I weigh 129 pounds and she doesn’t look much bigger. We have the same skin tone, too. However, that’s where the resemblence ends.
She is a more casual dresser. Eliza likes jeans, t-shirts, jogging suits, tennis shoes, and simple shirts. She used to relatively old-fashioned for her age. But now she dresses more youthful. I am a more conservative/funky/fashionable dresser. I tend to favor blouses, slacks, blazers, suits, camisoles, sweaters, twin sets, skirts, and stilettos. I love signature pieces and mixing things up for an expected yet elegant combo. Some of my favorite stores include: Banana Republic, Ann Taylor Loft, Target, Macy’s and The Limited. I pretty much dress this way all of the time. Sometimes I do wish that I approached dressing more casually. I can be somewhat prissy but I am learning to relax.
My hair is quite long and hangs well past my shoulders. I like my hair simple and typically styled in an iron-out. For special occasions I will wear soft curls. Eliza likes the more intricate do’s. She wears it all: braids, ponytails, fountains, humps and other trendy hairstyles. Her hair looks “fun.” She also styles her own hair. Unfortunately I don’t have that talent so I have to go to a stylist.
We both like poetry, food, and conversation.
I am an avid reader and she stated that she likes to read as well.
She is a hoarder and I am a minimalist.
Eliza once had temporary custody of her niece, too!
We are the same age, although she is almost exactly a month older than me. She was born December 21st, me, January 22nd.
Eliza has held a lot of jobs in her lifetime. She usually works for a month or two here and there. I don’t think she has been at one job longer than six months. In my adulthood I have only had one main job, teaching English and one part-time job, teaching ballet.
Both of our moms are deceased. Sadly her mom passed before mine. Neither of us communicate with our fathers. I have 5 siblings and I am the oldest. She, too has 5 siblings but is the second youngest.
We both have three children, two of them I “share” with her.
I have two college degrees and I am currently working on a third. She earned her GED while in jail.
She revealed that English was her favorite subject in high school. It was mine to which is why I made a career of it. Eliza also stated on her pre-sentencing report that she eventually wanted to attend college to major in Business and minor in English. Go figure!
She is insanely afraid of dogs–both big and small. I like dogs, especially the little baby-sized ones.
When she moved out of her old neighborhood, I moved in.
We are both stepmoms.
We are both women.
We are both daughters of the King.
I am healthy enough to know that she has some good qualities as well as some bad ones. So do I. Do her bad characteristics outweigh the good ones? This is a question I can’t answer because I don’t know the complete contents of her heart. And really, this is a job best left to the Master.
I like to celebrate and acknowledge Eliza when I can. I have told her that she does a good job staying connected with her boys (she really does, she writes them pretty faithfully every week). Eliza also has a nice smile and I have commented on this before. I am not fake about it and only do so when I am able to be sincere. It is my small way of helping her build self-esteem. This helps tone my grace muscle as well!
I’m aware of the adage that says imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I do believe that too much imitation is really insecurity. Too much insecurity leads to jealousy and envy. When you feel complete there is no need to compete.
And because we are all human, we all tend to feel this way from time to time. In these moments it is wise to reflect on our strengths. This always puts things into perspective for me. I know that we are all blessed with gifts and talents. Sometimes we just have to discover them.