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competition – something to prove?

Last night was my best friend’s hen’s night and her groom’s buck’s night. They decided to combine the two. It was held on a weeknight for people flying in from another country and, as most of us had time off for the wedding or work or study, we were okay with it being held on a weeknight. It was going to be held at a strip club, which I was a tad bit apprehensive about. I have never been to a strip club before and don’t really have any opinion on them, apart from a feeling that wavers between vague discomfort and outright disgust with the way some patrons talk about strippers working at the clubs. However, I didn’t end up at the strip club after all – I ended up with my head down a toilet bowl and in bed by 10 pm instead.

In an effort to “keep up” with the others, especially with the bucks, I drank way too much for my body to handle. I drank three drinks in total, which normally would not have affected me all that much, having much more body weight than pretty much everyone in the room, but the alcohol was a lot stronger than I thought it was, and my ridiculous bravado overtook my body’s signals to stop.

This isn’t the only time I’ve tried to “keep up” or compete with others and it’s usually with men that I do this. I did it twice today – once with my dad, helping him move my very heavy new bookshelf up the stairs and into my bedroom despite my utterly epic hangover and bad upper body strength, and the second time when I declined help from the check out person at the grocery store with lifting a large lot of bottles of water to put into my trolley, despite how heavy it was, and, again, my bad upper body strength.

I don’t really know why I do this. I suppose it’s I want to prove I’m just as “tough” or “hard” or “strong”. Which … really? Why do I even care?

Years of being taught to be a lady, never being allowed to do anything “strenuous” and being made fun of in case I break a nail have backfired on me and I’ve gone the opposite way – but it’s still for the approval of men. For the acknowledgment.

This is conditioning I didn’t even realise I (still) had. I thought I had rejected it. I’d rejected the need to be seen as a delicate ladylike lady, but not the need to be seen as “just as good”. I don’t want to be seen as “just as good” or lesser or better. I just want to be seen as me. Capable. And I think it’s going to take some effort to break out of this.

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