She Is Not The Enemy
A little while back, I saw an old coworker at an exercise class. Back in the day, we worked in separate departments of a large company, and I don’t remember if I ever even knew her name.
It’s been quite a few years, and she didn’t recognize me, which didn’t surprise me. But I knew who she was for one very petty reason. I didn’t really like her.
This, of course, is completely ridiculous, because I didn’t even know her. She was just one of those girls towards whom I always felt a weird competitiveness. It’s so ridiculous, in fact, that it’s hard for me to admit to it now.
I honestly can’t tell you why I felt this adversarial response to her. She seemed like she was good at her job. She was pretty and kind, and I got the impression that she had a good sense of humor. But in spite of these lovely attributes, something just kind of irked me.
And sure enough, when I saw her all these years later, the same petty feelings festered to the surface.
I saw her again at another class a few months later, after my miscarriage. This time she was clearly pregnant, looking to be about as far along as I would have been.
And the first thought that came into my head was, She would be pregnant at a time like this. It’s just like her, to be succeeding at this whole pregnancy thing right when I failed.
It was just like clockwork- same trigger, same negative response.
Only this second time, another thought also occurred to me, miraculously appearing through the fog of my internal dysfunction.
What if she’s not the enemy?
I let this new thought roll around in my head, as I watched her in that class. She was all doe-eyed and smiling, awkwardly waddling around and handling her physical discomforts with aplomb. Her whole demeanor was so endearing that it jolted me out of my fog.
It finally occurred to me that this insidious competitiveness doesn’t fit for me. And it made me wonder- Who or what on earth ever taught me to view someone like her as an enemy? As if there’s some massive competition between us? Some invisible race to consume a scarcity of resources?
In the remaining sweaty moments of class, I felt an enormous sense of relief. An actual physical, palpable sensation of release. I don’t have to do this. I don’t have to fuel my energy into competing with this girl.
We’re on the same team.
So this is something new I’m learning. When I’m out and about, I’m practicing mental kindness. I’m letting go of competition and embracing spiritual advocacy. When I’m in line at the grocery store, I give that pretty girl in front of me a generous smile, and I say to her in my heart, “I’m rooting for you.”
She doesn’t hear me saying the words, but I silently tell her in my head, “I’ve got your back, and I think you’re a rock star. I want you to have every brave and beautiful thing your heart desires.”
I’m not sure if my mental shift makes all that much of a difference in the grand, cosmic scheme of things, but I like to think that it does. I like to think that change can begin with the smallest step. That a tiny seed of kindness can grow into something big.
Today, this is me saying to all you beautiful girls out there-
I’m rooting for you. I think you’re a rock star. So fly girl fly.