I Am Anything But -

The Other Woman 

Competitive; a word typically synonymous with greed, overly-confident, narcissism. While I do not attach myself with these following terms, I do feel that competition can be a good thing. Whether it's a self-destructive mechanism or not is solely up to the individual. I find that as I get older, my competitive nature continues to increase (but not in all aspects of my life). In certain settings such as academics, career, athletics, or the usual fun n' games, competition becomes vital for someone like me. It's not to say that I compete to win. My goal is to not lose. Bottom line: Trophy or not, I just want to walk away knowing that I have given it my all and therefore, am a champion in my own right. Even then, there are some things I refuse to compete for.

1) People's time

2) Attention

3) Men

This last one is a bit tricky and I'll just start by telling you a story so you can have a better picture as to where I stand.

About a month ago, I was in Las Vegas with my close girl friends when a couple of friendly guys asked us to join the bachelor party. Being that we were on Spring Break and knowing me, we all decided to take up the offer.

It was a gorgeous day at the day club. The weather was perfect. The crowd felt like they walked out of a Snoop Dogg's music video: young, wild, and free. Of course, the open champagne bar has been just the cherry on top of the sundae. For the first twenty minutes or so, I swam around and made sure I introduced myself to every person in the group. Despite being surrounded by dozens of beautifully sculptured spring breakers, one person caught my attention. He was tall, toned, and tan. Yep, my cup of tea. Our casual small talks has led me to believe that our compatibility rests on the fact that we had a lot of things in common with each other. We have the same alma mater (Go, Trojans!). Basketball is our favorite sport. The gym is our second favorite place to be (next to home). That's 3/3. What's so great about our complementary personalities was that everything felt natural and unforced. Before you know it, we continued on and talked about life, career, and other hobbies. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested. Clearly, I was and undoubtedly, he probably was too. Everything was going well that was until I bumped into his best friend, the bachelor.

"Isn't he such a great guy?"

"Yeah, he is."

"We're going to be brothers-in-law, you know."

"Hmm?"

"He's dating my fiancé sister."

Of course, of course. The one guy that I actually hit it off with would be taken. 'I mean, what else is new?' Regardless, I tried to push all those thoughts on the back burner and attempted to not let the established fact rain on my parade. For the remaining latter part of the day, I tried to keep my distance, but despite doing so, he and I still find ourselves in our own little bubble together.  And then, that unexpected moment happened. As we were all playing around in the water, right before Steve Angello went on, the guy pulled me into his arms and gave me a small kiss on my forehead. 'You're perfect,' he said.

Given the situation and our environment, if I hadn't known what I already knew, I probably would have kissed him. But it doesn't work that way---at least not for me. I took a step back and while I haven't brought up his relationship before, I knew that I could no longer avoid the topic. I contemplated for about a minute or so before I looked directly up at him and said, "I don't want to ruin your relationship.'  With that, he gave me a small smile because he knew.

A week ago, I met a guy who held a close resemblance to my favorite dancer. Thirty minutes into our conversation, I learned that he just got out of a relationship for about a month or so. Ten minutes later, he told me he loved me and that I was the coolest girl he has ever met. Granted, it's hard to choose bliss and ignorance when I, myself, know better. I know that men, often times, would say what they need to say in order to get what they want. I'm not saying that women are not equally guilty of this, but still. At that point in time, I couldn't even ignore his intentions even if I wanted to. The only thing I could say to him was, "Sorry, dude. You've talked to the wrong girl."

This was not the first time I've encountered these type of situations. Although I try to analyze and sometimes over-think things, I can never truly understand the appeal that comes with taking something that doesn't belong to me. In the court of law and under circumstances, people would be put into prison for such misconduct. In social settings, I might as well just put a paper bag over my face if I were to steal something that's not rightfully mine. I have been in a committed relationship. Therefore, I have a lot of respect for couples and their relationships. But is there good in temptation and passion? Sure. Are those two things worth the trouble? Absolutely not. My time could be spent doing something more productive and worthwhile. After all, having an affair or cheating is easy. Carrying the label as the other woman, on the other hand, isn't. Sadly, these are the traps that my generation tend to fall into. ' tis a sad truth, indeed.

Just earlier, I read a blog written by one of my girl crushes who is a fellow Trojan and television hostess. In her blog, she discusses issues in regards to women empowerment as well as her experiences with being cheated on by a man who claimed that she was the love of his life. It was raw and I loved it. She went on to say that 'People don’t cheat because of who you are, they cheat because of who they aren’t.'  So despite dealing with the brutality that comes with the post break-up,  she is still happy and proud to know there are still wonderful women out there who will stand by her and support her through these rough times.

After reaching the end of her post, I was once again reaffirmed with the belief that I do not ever want to inflict any emotional turmoil on someone else. Simply put, I refuse to be the other woman. Being raised by an independent woman has taught me that I should never truly rely on a significant other in order to feel complete or special. I should never have to settle for someone who does not know how to respect or cherish me. Moreover, through her, I have learned that I have too much going on for me to ever be with a person who doesn't recognize my worth. With that said, my objective in life is not to compete against other women for men. Does it suck to find that the person that I like might already be or is in a relationship? Yes. Does it mean I should stop talking to them completely? No. Even then, I am very aware of my situation and even as a competitor, I have too much respect for women to look at them as my competition. Given the chance to fight against my moral compass and feed my instant gratification, I will always choose the route that I know I will be proud of. So for all my ladies out there, I am here to stand with you, not against you. In the words of my girl crush, "Know your worth and never settle."

Competition? What Competition?

photo

She’s prettier. Smarter. Funnier. More successful. The list of why she’s better than me goes on and on.

But who is this person you may ask? It’s an imaginary character that I've created in my mind. A strong and independent woman who always seems to take 10 steps forward in life while I am left thinking, ‘So what am I supposed to do with mine?’ You have probably heard it before but I will tell you this now. It is extremely unhealthy to be comparing yourself to someone else. Yes, the other person may characterized everything you've always dreamt of being, but how boring is it to be another replica of somebody else? Again, they may inhibit certain notable traits and qualifications, but so do you.  I've learned that it does more harm than good to continuously undermine myself for my apparent shortcomings. There will always be a better person out there, but that's not the whole point. In order for me to efficiently maximize my potential for success, I needed to conquer the fear of not being good enough. So what’s step one? Step one is forgiveness. No one's perfect. We can't always be composed or have it all together and that's absolutely okay. Step two? To love myself for everything that I am and everything that I am not.

On my way back from a weekend trip for Spring Break, I received a text message from a good friend of mine with the photo I’ve attached above. It said, “I’m in competition with no one. Hope we all make it.” Following the picture was her very own message to me in which she wrote, “Can’t wait to make it with you.” I was startled and my eyes became teary. Last summer, I woke up every morning and worked nine hours a day, five days a week. What’s the best part? It was an unpaid internship. (I hope you can somewhat sense my sarcasm here). Now, it’s not like I didn't enjoy what I did. I had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the company, worked closely with the Executive Directors, and gained plenty of hands-on experience. However, what I took away from that so-called ‘unpaid’ experience was something quite invaluable. That some thing is what I called a life-long investment aka a life-long friend. My friend is currently finishing her undergraduate degree and despite making the wrong first impressions of each other, I’ve quickly learned that likes attract likes. She is hard-working, ambitious, and moreover, she has a good heart. To find such person in a lucrative industry such as ours is extremely rare so I will do whatever it takes to make sure that our friendship remain a priority of mine.  So despite the long distance, every other week or so, we would shoot each other spontaneous, motivational messages and allow me to tell you that these are the things that keep me going every time I have to hit that snooze button at 4 AM. Many people have asked me why I’m able to do what I do and this is it guys. This is why.

Earlier this afternoon, Stacey (of whom I've been friends with for almost a decade now) sent me a message saying, “I am motivated just by looking at you, hearing you, and being around you.”  And that’s when it hit me. Rather than comparing yourself with others or in my case, with an imaginative figure, we should choose to surround ourselves around those who are passionate about their dreams and are willing to share their stories. It’s not about being better than the other person. It's about being the best YOU can be with that other person. To establish a genuine and supportive network around you is exactly what you need.

I would like to end this post by once again thanking the friends who have shown me so much love, compassion, and forgiveness. And lastly, I just wanted to let you know, we’re all in this together. One dream at a time. One day at a time.