I could blame the unsettled mood on the dream, a sort of reunion – college I think. And I haven’t attended a reunion of any sort in nearly 20 years. There were women everywhere – from their twenties through their sixties – as well as an old boyfriend, displaced in time.
There was whispering. There was eyebrow raising. There were negative remarks muttered, but within earshot. Gossipy snippets of conversation. Callously cutting commentary.
Women judging women. And it wasn’t pretty.
As I made my way through the throngs in a lower lobby, navigating stairways to floors with increasingly less commotion, I felt tossed back a few decades.
To days of feeling like the proverbial bug under a glass.
I was invisible, sort of, but not quite invisible enough.
It was like being 15 all over again. And… well… it sucked.
I think about those adolescent years, high school mostly. There were snubs. There was judgment. There were mean girls, though I managed to avoid most and surround myself with remarkable women, particularly later on, during my college years.
But judgment hurts. It lodges in our soft tissue, somewhere deep in our psyches. And there are nights – and days – when the insecurity and discomfort returns.
I woke a little shaken, and wondering about women. I don’t understand why we criticize and compete to such an extent, when we’re also capable of extraordinary support, connection, and community.
I wonder why teenagers feel the need to be so catty, and yes, in my experience, it’s largely the girls. They bash and trash so-called friends via text, phone, Facebook, and Twitter. Social media seems to encourage bad behavior.
Speaking of bad behavior, perhaps my subconscious was affected by the Real Housewives of New York Reunion, which was running in the background late into the night, along with the explosive Real Housewives of New Jersey.
Talk about drama! Perhaps their “adult” nastiness and jabs planted the seeds for the scenes in my dreaming.
And the old boyfriend?
He told me he was reading me from time to time, which amused me, considering the gentleman in question is no longer alive. Yet he appears occasionally in dream, like a good spirit. His presence is reassuring, and possibly balanced the negativity I was otherwise experiencing.
As for the feelings of judgment when I woke?
They stuck. I stared into my morning mirror, noticeably disgruntled.
There’s no question in my mind that women are more judgmental of other women, less forgiving of superficial or momentary shortcomings, and willing to cut men more slack.
All women? Of course not. My statement is a generalization, yet one I’ve found too often true, though it saddens me to say.
In front of that mirror I had to drag myself back from age 15, stand up straight, and focus on the good women in my life now, as an adult. Of course some friendships fade with time, others will break, and some will deepen. But women friends have been essential in my life. Women who accept, and do not judge.
- Are you more critical of women than you are of men?
- Do you gossip? Do you try not to gossip?
- Has your behavior toward women friends changed over the years?