It’s been a long time since I’ve been made to feel insecure by other women, but recently it happened and it’s stupid and silly and I need to talk about it.
First, let me tell you something. I love the colour red: I have (unnatural) red hair. I wear red lipstick. I have a red purse. I have a red toque, numerous red scarves, assorted red clothing, red tights, red nail polish. It’s endless and it’s the one colour that I feel the most confident in. I don’t wear it, or red lipstick, to mask some sort of insecurity — it’s quite the opposite, really — I just feel like it brings out some level of confidence in me that I already had, it just needed something to show the way. The colour is ‘me’, and so many people I know associate me with it. I love that.
Sometimes I need to tone it down with the red, because I want to wear it all the time. Sometimes I go out wearing Too Much Red and I know it can probably be an overbearing colour because, for lack of a better term, it’s fierce.
So, the other day I wore a black mini skirt and a pair of orange-y fire engine red tights and I felt pretty good in them. Like I said, it’s the colour that makes me feel the most confident, like I’m some sort of red-wearing super hero and I can do anything (please don’t laugh. If you do, don’t tell me — just let me have this). Anyway, I’d just gotten off the train at Commercial/Broadway to take the 99 B-line home. I saw a couple of young girls, probably 19 or 20, hugging it out as I walked past them, saying something along the lines of how they’ll be friends forever and how they loved each other ‘so, so much.’ I could be generalizing here, but the situation felt very much like they’d just had a huge confrontation, I don’t know what about, and they were mending the pieces back together and everything was peachy keen again and happily ever after they went.
Then those two girls ended up behind me on the escalator, and they started snickering and laughing very loudly about why would anybody wear those, that it was an ugly colour and that they looked terrible. Then I realised they were talking about my red tights and it was like they’d been trying to get my attention the whole time. This dawned on my partway through the ride down the escalator, but instead of turning around to say something, I stood there, face flushed, heart dropping and suddenly very embarrassed. I don’t really know why, because I didn’t do anything wrong, but I was embarrassed because I was made to feel insecure by a couple of 19 or 20 year old girls at the age of 30.
Nine times out of ten, I don’t care what people think of me — I generally go about my business, wearing things that I’m comfortable in and doing things that make me happy. I could always improve my confidence, I know I lack it in areas, but most of the time I feel okay about myself. I have a ton of people in my life who give me swift kicks in the butt when I need them, and I appreciate that.
This was the first time I’d been made to feel self conscious about myself by a complete stranger’s comments in a very long time. I felt like I was in elementary school again, where I was bullied relentlessly as a child for years. It sucked, and for those few brief moments, I felt like ten year old me all over again. All because a couple of girls made snide comments about my tights.
I tweeted about it — and someone pointed out the fact that they were ‘girls’ and that ‘women’ would not do that. Key word: girls — and I agree.
It’s unfortunate, though. I shouldn’t have let it bother me. It doesn’t anymore, but it’s, for lack of a better term, shitty, that so often one’s own insecurities are taken out on someone else by saying demeaning comments about their appearance or what they’re wearing.
I hope you gained some self esteem, girls. In the meantime, I’ll be over here, holding on to mine.