While the last few weeks have been absolutely amazing and overall, very positive – they have also been quite stressful. We’re approaching the close at the mag, my next-door neighbor (and great friend) is moving back to the countryside, and a few opportunities have me biting my nails in anticipation.
And on top of all of it – it’s that inevitable time when bloating and breaking out are the norm.
So, on Tuesday, as I entered the subway, my hair frizzed up due to the rainstorm, my arms tired from carrying my gym bag, purse, and work to bring home with me – you could say I was a little annoyed. Even though I didn’t technically have to go to the gym (we never are forced, ya know?) – I knew running would help me release stress and I’d feel so much better about the spinach pasta I was anticipating making later.
When the 1 train arrived, I waited for all of the people to exit and then quickly boarded to catch a seat because standing up for 12 stops isn’t fun in four-inch stiletto heeled-boots. I sat down and started to read over an interview I was writing the story for in the December/January issue, and as I usually do, my attention inevitably turns towards the characters on the train. This is especially when I’m not in the greatest of moods. People watching, even as silly and stalkerish as it may seem, gives me inspiration and food-for-thought. This time was no different.
As I studied those around me – a homeless man, a child and her mother, an older man, a business man, a fashionista, and a sleeping woman – my eyes caught a girl, probably just a tad bit older than me in a red jacket.
She was tall and slender, with curly blonde hair, black tights, and peep-toe flats. I knew they were designer, but couldn’t pin-point which one (not a gift of mine). Her skin was beautifully flawless with just the hint of natural coloring and her silk sweater dress hugged her in all the right places. I’m as straight as a gal gets, but she was sincerely beautiful.
While I was watching her, I started comparing myself to her. I immediately thought: She has better hair. Prettier skin. Nicer clothes. She’s more cool and collected. She looks more like she belongs here than I do. She probably has a fabulous job or doesn’t work at all. And look, she’s married. She’s probably madly in love too, and never had to go through a self-made 12-step program to be happyily single and love herself. She’s probably already in love with herself – I mean, who wouldn’t be? Every man in this train is probably one flip-of-her-hair away from drooling.
Now, part of the path to self-love is shaping the language I use to talk to myself. Instead of self-defeating, non-progressive words, I’ve been attempting to use encouraging phrases and boost myself up as my mother or my best friends would. But for this day, no matter how secure or happy I am about certain parts of my life, seeing the lovely lady in the red jacket made me feel down-right awful.
When the train reached my stop, I gathered my bags and started to get up, conscious of the older man with the cane to my right. I hesitated to let him get a lead and make sure he was okay, and out-of-nowhere the pretty red jacket girl shoved her way out of the subway – using her Louie Vuitton to push away those in her path.
She nearly knocked down the poor old man and when someone huffed at her, she shot back at them an incredibly rude pout, and continued walking. I followed behind her, after letting the trembling man get off, and headed towards the stairs. Not only did she use her Louie to get down the stairs ahead of everyone, but she almost sent someone fumbling down the stairs. And again, when someone said something, she acted as if everyone was else was merely a cockroach on the subway getting in her way.
I get that people in the city are notoriously rude or in way too much of a rush, but most people I’ve encountered have been nothing but kind and gracious. While they may not be friendly, they haven’t ever been as ridiculous as Ms. Red Coat. And just because I moved to the North, doesn’t mean I forgot my Southern manners – and I try to shine as an example to those around me by being courteous, forgiving, and thoughtful.
After witnessing the complete disrespect for other people by this woman, it hit me how silly it is to compare myself to someone I don’t know. No matter how sophisticated or gorgeous or put-together someone may appear – there is no way to get underneath their skin. Just by looking at me, no one would ever guess all of the things I do, the things I stand for, or the things I feel. Looks are really just that, an image sent out that isn’t necessarily true or false.
But one truth that I’m sure of – is that Louie doesn’t lead the way. Love does.
And not romantic love – but compassionate love. That love that we give to another person simply because they are a fellow human being. Because they are breathing and they are alive, they deserve the same respect and courtesy as we give to someone we love or adore. That’s a part of love addiction that doesn’t need fixing.
Even though I may dream of the day that I can afford a real-live Louie (not a Chinatown one) – a bigger part of me longs for the day when I can be rich enough to write a check to help that innocent old man on the train have a safer life, far away from impolite women in red coats.
A lovely post… I remember those subway rides all too well
and although I always had an urge to run after some of these people and teach them some manners it is actually one of the things I miss about New York now…
Ok…. maybe I exaggerate :)
Aww, I love this post. Keep up the Southern genteel manners! :)
What an inspiring post! I people watch every time I step foot outside my apartment. Hopefully I won’t run into any Ms. Red Coats anytime soon. Also, you’re right, Louis doesn’t lead the way!
Another excellent post! ;) Life is all about trying to understand and empathize with the people around us. All of us are human beings. Even though we come from all walks of life, we share the same struggles, we cherish the same aspirations and we all crave for love and acceptance. The greatest lesson for anyone, is to learn how to love everyone.
I think all girls struggle with seeing other girls that they think are “prettier” than them. When I first met one of my best friends, I despised her. She’s 6 ft tall, long blonde hair, and a smile that lights up the room. I thought she would be mean or arrogant. When I actually talked to her (about my break up, and boys in general), we instantly clicked and have been inseparable since. Now, her height and smile is something I’ve come to love as her being my best friend.
Thanks for the motivation for today! :)
Really interesting story.
Some years ago I used to compare myself to other people, just like you. But now I know that looking other girls and thinking ‘She’s prettier/ better dressed/ smarter.. than me’ is useless (and sometimes painful). Now I like observing people to find inspiration, not weak points in myself. I think it’s better :)
I’m right there with you lindsay! I compare myself constantly with girls (not as bad as I used to be) especially when I go to the gym with no make up on and a boring pony tail even though I came to burn those breakfast and lunch calories. I feel like a plain jane when I set foot in the gym. While guys in tight tanks are drooling over the over doned “work out” chics I am sweating and sometimes wish I could get a whistle at the gym. Then again I snap back into reality and realize I will take my plain jane gym look who loves to run miles over a over done girl who is afraid to break a sweat and afraid to break a nail. Give me a break! lol
Lovely post. These are things many individuals forget, men and women.
This post reminds me of an incident I had on an elevator once. I was comparing myself to a young woman, about my age who was an attorney. She was literally “shooing” people to get out of her way so she could get off the elevator. There were many people on the elevator and one of them was an elderly man with a cane. She almost knocked him down and when I called her out on it and asked her why she thought it was ok to be so rude to others, she laughed in my face and walked away. Beauty may be only skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone!
Thank you for such a good post!! It was so interesting (and entertaining to read).
I love watching people in the trains (I’m a Londoner and I use the tube all the time). I have seen some Divas on my journey to and from the city…but I think the most entertaining situations are when women apply their make up in the trains. Watching someone apply foundation, eye liner and mascara in a moving train leaves me staring in awe (and confusion)!
Thank you again for such an awesome post!
My bets Little Ms. Rude Red Coats Louis Bag was knock-off :)
It’s very nice you took the time to help the elderly man get on and off the train. Compassion and consideration go a long way in life. You can buy designer bags but to be compassionate to others is truly priceless.
From one southern girl to another I must say very well put. The kind of compassionate love you refer to is a rule my mother taught me long ago…treat others how you want to be treated. This is a rule I apply to my life every day.
I’m so glad you saw the ‘real’ Ms Red Coat…London can be just as bad on the underground at rush hour and people are forever pushing others and huffing and puffing their way past…sometimes I’m amazed at the ‘run around like crazy’ lifestyle we have here…
BRAVO! Another great post. I recently became close friends with this tall, gorgeous, skinny/fit, hair long and flowing, clear skinned, large breasted woman. I guess the perfect word for her would be statuesque. Not only is she an incredible creature to set your eyes upon but as sweet and lovely as they come. (I too am straight as they come though it may not sound like it.) While getting to know this woman it became apparent how insecure the both of us were, and what huge fans we were of each other and each others bodies. I was dumbfounded that this woman would consider my 5ft 1in chubby figure “curvy and hourglass.” You just never know what insecurities people have no matter how perfect they are in your eyes.
“there is no way to get underneath their skin. Just by looking at me, no one would ever guess all of the things I do, the things I stand for, or the things I feel. Looks are really just that, an image sent out that isn’t necessarily true or false.”
Great observation on life and people! This is my favorite post yet :) glad WP put you on the front page!