Ponderings on perfection

One of DC1’s classmates is a doctor married to another doctor.  (Her youngest is best friends with my oldest– they skipped first grade together.)  Dr. Bestfriendsmom is also gifted with organizational and artistic abilities.  Her kids seem similarly endowed and often win the school-wide art contests.

Dr. Bestfriendsmom also throws amazing parties.  She knows interesting people, both with kids and without, even though they’ve only been living here a couple of years.  She and her husband are both total extroverts.  Their parties are honestly the only ones we’ve really enjoyed (including the ones we throw) since our odd assortment of non-work friends graduated, getting their PhDs, and moved to other states.

The children’s parties that Dr. Bestfriendsmom throws are generally themed.  She does the decorations.  (She makes pinatas in her hotel room on conference trips.)  She does the baking.  (The baking can include 30+ gingerbread houses made from scratch.)  She’s totally amazing.  A non-anal Martha Stewart.

At the last party, other mothers tried to engage me and did engage each other with catty comments about Dr. Bestfriendsmom and her over-the-top baking.  I responded with earnest, “It’s totally amazing,” and “DC1 is loving this” kinds of comments.  Mentally narrowing the eyes in my mind while doing so (the eyes on my face got wider and more innocent looking).

I don’t get the vitriol.  The jealousy.  Why are people so hostile when presented with someone who is awesome?  Why do they feel like they have to tear someone down who is just trying to do things well?

I don’t particularly want to be her… crafts are not my thing even if I had artistic ability.  (Also:  it is my understanding that MDs have to deal with blood.  Urp!)  So much extroversion would tire me out.  But I appreciate that there’s someone in our life who puts in that kind of effort to throw a big party and to make sure her guests are having a great time.

It could be that I don’t feel jealous precisely because I don’t particularly want to be a crafty person who throws awesome parties (though I appreciate being invited to them!).  But I also look up to the awesome women in my field who are at better schools and more published than I am, even though I do want to be them!  I strive for their accomplishments and I appreciate the way they’re opening doors for all women.  (Come to think of it, the ex-friend whose therapist told her to stop talking to me often took instant dislikes to some of these shooting stars, and also accused me of being jealous of her own success.)

Maybe it’s a fixed mind-set vs. growth mind-set thing.  I assume that with enough concentrated effort I could do things, or at least do more things, so there’s no need to tear anybody down to my level.  But really I have no idea.

Related:
Sylvia:  The woman who does everything so much better than you do.
Also Historiann’s recent series on Hillary Clinton.  (Another awesome woman.)

Why do you think some people hate perfection?  Do you?

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67 Responses to “Ponderings on perfection”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I don’t think they hate perfection, they just hate comparing themselves to it. The issue I think is they are comparing apples to oranges. I admire crafty people but don’t necessarily aspire to be one. If said catty people valued baking or entertaining like she does, then they’d probably do more of it too.

    I actually made a 3’x4′ stained glass window in a hotel room once. They are expensive to ship so I made it near the friends’ house who were getting it. I am sure some people think that stuff is bonkers but making time for these leisure activities is what keeps me sane. If I can carve out a day to make jam, it must mean my life isn’t dominated by work (even if I end up being up 1/2 the night doing it).

    I love awesome people. I am lucky to know a lot of them and they enrich my life. It is empowering knowing that anything is possible.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      “If I can carve out a day to make jam, it must mean my life isn’t dominated by work ”

      I totally get this. Also: homemade jam is yummy! (Though we buy ours at the farmer’s market…)

  2. NoTrustFund Says:

    I love hearing stories of people who can keep up their passions on the side as it sounds like Dr. Bestfriends mom does. And I wish I could come to her parties!

    I think people can be mean about ‘perfection’ because they have insecurities about there own lives and capabilities.

    If everyone had true self confidence would people just be nicer to each other? It’s easy to give out compliments and accolades when you think your life is awesome too.

  3. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    I don’t get the vitriol. The jealousy. Why are people so hostile when presented with someone who is awesome? Why do they feel like they have to tear someone down who is just trying to do things well?

    C’mon. You really don’t understand this? I can see that you don’t think it is good or productive that people behave like this, but you really don’t get why?

  4. Historiann Says:

    It would be one thing if the catty queens stayed away from her parties or refused to eat her delicious baked goods. But they don’t, apparently.

    Do they have jobs or professional lives, or are they resentful because Dr. Awesome is also better at being Martha Stewart than they are although they don’t have day jobs? Do they feel she’s competing with them on what “should” be their home turf b/c they may not be in the paid workforce? Or do they feel she’s raising the bar too much precisely because they’re women with jobs or careers, and Dr. Awesome is raising the bar on what schools, teachers, and other families should expect from non-compensated mother work?

    Anyway, thanks for the link. I have a feeling that Hillary Clinton Has People who bake, entertain, and throw parties for her, and I’m pretty sure she’s totally OK with that.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      In terms of the other mothers… I actually have no idea. We’re totally introverts and I really only connect with the other university people (because work is an automatic conversation starter) at these kids parties, so all I know is they weren’t university people.

      NPR had a great Hillary Clinton interview this morning. She sounds so confident in her skin, as she should be! Truly an amazing woman.

  5. chacha1 Says:

    I think it’s a combination of the zero-sum fallacy (i.e. there is only so much awesomeness, or money, or success, or beauty in the world, so if That Person has some, there is less for me) and the very common manifestation of whichever gene causes failure to accept responsibility for, or at least to accept the reality of, certain lacks in ourselves.

    I love it when people are better at something than I am. Nobody can be great at everything, and being great at something – even if you enjoy it – is WORK. I’m glad somebody else is doing that work! If it’s something I’m interested in, it delights me to see it done well.

    I am perfectly happy to be mediocre at a bunch of things that don’t mean a lot to me. (I am competent at many things, but mediocre nonetheless.) On the other hand, there are a few things that I do really well. I put a lot of thought and effort into those things because they DO mean a lot to me. But there are still people out there, I’m sure, who do everything I do better than I do.

    Worrying about crap like that is the worst kind of attachment. And beating up others who do things well is the worst kind of small-minded, shriveled-hearted, insecure, ignorant meanness.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That makes sense too. But honest, just because we’re awesome doesn’t mean there’s no awesome left for everyone else. It’s like love… it can expand to encompass more people!

    • hush Says:

      The zero-sum fallacy sounds right. I’ve also heard this referred to as “tripping the prom queen” (in the book by the same name) – it is irresistible for some women to tear down the woman they see as “stronger” than they are in some area; whereas for groups of men, they tend to pick on the weakest male in the group. Women tear down the strongest women.

      And BTW, in my book, you’re also awesome for refusing to engage in the cattiness. How crude of them, after being guests in her home, and pretending to be her friend. @Historiann’s right “It would be one thing if the catty queens stayed away from her parties or refused to eat her delicious baked goods.” Yuck.

  6. oilandgarlic Says:

    I get why people make catty comments. Even if the awesome person doesn’t rub her perfections in anyone’s face, it sets a high bar and probably make people feel bad. However, I’m the kind that would feel bad, or lesser, in the privacy of my home. I don’t feel the NEED to tear anyone down. After all, tearing them down isn’t going to make you any more awesome..

    It reminds something that I often read in personal finance blogs — if someone looks outwardly rich, don’t envy them because they could be in debt etc.. (or have bad things going on in other parts of their life). I always wondered why the antidote against envy has to be the assumption that there’s a defect somewhere.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I sort of think of her parties as so over-the-top that the bar can be ignored. (As in: We pay other people to do DC1’s birthday party.) But maybe other folks don’t. I don’t think I’d be intimidated by something reachable either though… might steal ideas, but wouldn’t feel like the bar was too high. But maybe I don’t care enough about what others think.

      I agree with you on the personal finance blogs. Some people have nice cars AND retirement savings. We’re very well off now because of sacrifices we made a long time ago. Some people got lucky with luck and skillz and hard work resulting in little to no school debt and high salaries after. (We really like leightpf’s blog, even though she’s definitely doing well! Or really, because she’s doing well.)

  7. Debbie M Says:

    Sometimes it’s annoying when the awesomeness also comes with a big ego. But actually, I don’t mind a big ego when it’s attached to awesomeness. (For example, that’s how it’s okay for Tom Cruise to be in “The Firm.”)

    I always love surrounding myself with people who are better than me. Because the alternative is that I am surrounded by people worse than me. I’m so glad I can be rational on THAT issue!

    Oh, I thought of another thing–it’s hard to see the whole picture with other people. Sometimes you just see all the ways they are better than you. Or all the ways they seem richer than you. Or all the ways your friend’s/child’s fiance isn’t good enough for them.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t think Dr. Bestfriendsmom has a big ego. She probably has a healthy self-esteem, but she’s not obnoxious or anything. She’s very matter-of-fact about her accomplishments. Mostly she seems busy!

  8. oilandgarlic Says:

    I think my comment got trapped in the spam filter, so here it goes (again): I get why people make catty comments. Even if the awesome person doesn’t rub her perfections in anyone’s face, it sets a high bar and probably make people feel bad. However, I’m the kind that would feel bad, or lesser, in the privacy of my home. I don’t feel the NEED to tear anyone down. After all, tearing them down isn’t going to make you any more awesome..

    It reminds something that I often read in personal finance blogs — if someone looks outwardly rich, don’t envy them because they could be in debt etc.. (or have bad things going on in other parts of their life). I always wondered why the antidote against envy has to be the assumption that there’s a defect somewhere.

  9. Alyssa Says:

    You mentioned above that you only tend to relate well to people at the university…well, maybe this topic is just the common ground these women are looking for? I find some women like to bond over gossip and/or trashing others (especially other women). I don’t know why, but maybe that’s why it comes up?

  10. Dr. Koshary Says:

    Like Gore Vidal and David Merrick both supposedly said, “It is not enough that I succeed. Others must fail.” For a lot of people who possibly need to rethink a few things, success in life is less meaningful unless they can see other people around them actually failing, rather than just doing well also.

    I can never think of that quip, or the phenomenon, without thinking of the great review Roger Ebert wrote of Amadeus. See below:

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20020414/REVIEWS08/204140301/1023

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That is a great review. Though Performance Today is always careful to say it is a complete fabrication and vile calumny on Salieri’s character each times it plays a Salieri piece. But it makes for a great story.

      • chacha1 Says:

        It *is* a great review. And without “Amadeus” most people (even classical music scholars, probably) wouldn’t have a clue who Salieri even was, so, in a way, that vile calumny has at least ensured that he is not completely forgotten.

        And boy, did I love that whole deathbed setpiece. Talk about ENVY. Overcome by grief for the genius that was dying.

  11. ianqui Says:

    I think I have a different reaction to this kind of perfection. I know a mom who is a bit like this, except that she doesn’t have an outside job or career, so may be different. Anyway, she goes WAY out of her way at kid birthday parties and other events that she throws and attends. In my group of friends, we all recognize her generosity and zeal (as positives), but I may snark a bit (very privately, only with the closest of those friends) because I just don’t understand why she thinks these perfect parties are so important. I’m always shocked at the extent to which she fulfills the themes she chooses for her kids’ parties. The kids are barely going to remember, so I can only imagine it’s more for maintaining her image among her friends. I don’t care at all about my own ‘shortcomings’ or lack of perfection, and in fact, I would be embarrassed with myself if I ever did things the way she does. It’s so over the top (and ultimately wasteful, since the themes involve a lot of purchases from Oriental Trading.) Now, Dr. Bestfriendsmom sounds like her personality is different, so my comments very well may not apply to her, but this is just my perspective on something potentially similar.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I am sure that is what the other mothers were trying to say to me as well. But I don’t think I will cast aspersions on Dr. Bestfriendsmom’s motives, or the motives of your “friend” either. Maybe she’d be better off in a corporate boardroom where competition is real or maybe she just really gets a kick out of things being just-so (have you ever listened to a Martha Stewart interview?). I don’t understand why people do crafts, but people do them.

      It is true that occasionally we’ll get a beautifully crafted birthday invitation and I’ll wonder what kind of parent has that kind of time to do something that I would admire if it were say, a wedding invitation. (Too much free time, I will think.) But I don’t think it’s because said kid’s parent is trying to show some sort of image. Some people just really like crafting and have the scrapbooking materials and time to do it. I prioritize reading novels and paid work. Even though I would be unfulfilled doing that kind of thing, that doesn’t mean other people aren’t. There’s probably some sort of satisfaction to getting things lined up just right, I dunno. Possibly the same kind I find when empirical results perfectly fit a model.

      • ianqui Says:

        You are right–to each her own. I don’t doubt that my friend enjoys her crafty perfection (although I wish it weren’t often accompanied by humblebrags on FB about how late she stayed up crafting a papier-mache dolphin or Under the Sea cupcakes for her son’s sea-life themed party…)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Another reason I’m glad I’m not on facebook. :)

  12. becca Says:

    Yes, but were the 30+ gingerbread houses made from scratch with fair-trade shade grown organic spices?!?!?!?!

  13. Grace Says:

    I do get the envy, and will even admit to feeling it occasionally–it’s all part of “Why her/him? Why not me?” Never mind that the answer is “because I’m NOT a doctor, I’m NOT crafty, I’m NOT organized and my kids will NEVER be models for an upper middle class upbringing!” I especially feel that way around writers, but a close and insightful friend (and a science fiction writer I try hard to hide my envy of) once told me to get some perspective: If, in order to write like some of my favorite authors, I had to live their lives in their entirety, would I still want it? Ummm–if you say it that way, then, No. . Too many of the writers I admire the most have drug/alcohol problems and/or scummy home lives.

  14. Revanche Says:

    Re: the perfectly crafted invitation: I think I have an allergic reaction to those sometimes because for so long they were sent by a needy-mean-Something Not Fun bride or groom. But in nearly all cases, now, I really don’t have to care if they are because it has no effect on me. Woot.
    Otherwise, we need more awesome in our lives, not less, so hating on perfection makes no sense to me. Also it makes no sense because that is their lives – are you having to live it? No? Then what’s the objection to how they choose to live it?
    If they’re comparing themselves and falling short so lash out because of their insecurity, then that’s still their issue and dragging other people through the mud publicly to get validation for those theories is just mean spirited and rude. I should think a good rule of thumb would be: Don’t eat your hostess’s brownies and badmouth her for making them. Harumph.
    I don’t have any reason to be uber-super-confident in my opinion, I have plenty of places I can improve if I choose but that doesn’t mean someone who I think has it totally together deserves to be lashed in petty gossip. Anyway, perfection isn’t necessarily perfection to those demonstrating it: it’s the life they choose. There’s a great solution if they really are flaunting it by way of big parties, and the flaunting is not appreciated, after all.

  15. bogart Says:

    I’ve been mulling this one all day. So taking Bestfriend’s mom as a prototype rather than an an individual because I’m sure she’s lovely, where these (her) sorts of choices lose me is the 30 gingerbread houses. Pinatas in a hotel room, sure. A gingerbread house, sure. Two maybe. But 30, you might as well have told me that she, I don’t know, walks on water. That’s not right because it truly is impossible whereas 30 gingerbread houses clearly aren’t, but in my mind *wanting* to make 30 individual gingerbread houses, is.

    Clearly that’s a shortcoming of my mind, not the gingerbread-house maker. Moreover, I spend plenty of my own time wastefully — non-productively (and sure, gingerbread houses are a product and an enjoyable one, but I’m not going to call them a best use of time other than for the enjoyment of making — not eating –them. Any more than my blog reading and commenting constitutes a best use of time!)

    And too, you say in a comment above she’s not raising the bar (for you) because you hire people to do DC1’s birthday parties and that may be true. But I am truly perplexed that we — anyone, anywhere — have landed in a world where a birthday party for kids under 10 is something it could *possibly* make sense to outsource — that it could possibly be complex enough or fancy enough. So in that sense, I call the bar raised (a lot). How could it not be; my kid notices what other kids’ birthday parties look like, and not all of them are the simple-meal-birthday-cake-presents-few-balloons-maybe-a-game events of my youth. So I can hold my expectations constant, but my kid is forming ideas of what kids’ birthday parties look like, and the bar goes up.

    All that said, I wouldn’t dream of accepting the invitation and critiquing the event, and particularly not in a way in any way part of the event, public, or with people I didn’t know really, really well (as in, OK, OK, I did *once* make a few catty remarks after the fact to my mom about a cousin’s wedding, but I don’t make a habit of such!)

    And, again (consistent with prior paragraph!) this is entirely about the abstract yet perfectly implausible idea that anyone might enjoy making multiple gingerbread houses and nothing more! I’m delighted you had fun at your friend’s party, which sounds like it was, indeed, lovely.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      The gingerbread thing wasn’t even a birthday party! Just a random holiday party to decorate gingerbread houses (30 houses because ~30 kids showed up). It was DH’s turn to chaperone for Bestfriend’s birthday party, which was also awesome, I hear. They also do a really neat other holiday party that is a lovely cultural event for both parents (they have widely different ethnic backgrounds, and there’s a day that’s a holiday for both), and we both went to that one and had a great time talking to grown-ups without kids.

      I think kids actually prefer the ChuckECheese variety birthday parties over any home-made ones. (We go lower on parent-stress and possibly also on kid-enjoyment by doing ours at the local science museum. Though this year DC didn’t do a birthday party.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Also– this was the second year they did it… we didn’t go to the first one because we had another engagement that day… they may not have been expecting quite so many people to RSVP yes!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        p.s. All of my birthday parties were the type you describe. My little sister, however, was of the generation that McDonald’s realized that they could throw parties, and Hardee’s as well. Even though we were short of funds, my mother gladly shelled out for those. The not-cleaning up before and after and not supervising (because, remember, back in the day parents just dropped the kids off) was worth every penny. She often said she wished they’d done parties when I was my sister’s age.

      • bogart Says:

        OK, then she is forgiven, not that she needed my forgiveness! I can much better understanding making N gingerbread houses for children to decorate (or even for adults to decorate) than I can understand making *and decorating* N gingerbread houses (N>2), which is what I was envisioning.

        I’m pretty sure all my <10 birthday parties were as I describe. I do remember one friend who took us to the first Star Wars movie at around our 10th birthday (in case you were wondering how old I am :) !) and we certainly had some activity parties (typically ice-skating, we were reasonably short on activities back in the day) as we got older. I did actually give my son the option of a birthday party at our (local, public) pool this year, but he declined that in favor of having friends join us for a waffle breakfast. Beyond that, I think timing and other particulars can matter; our house now is smaller than the one I grew up in, and birthdays in months likely to involve bad weather (DS is sort of on the cusp, there) reduce the appeal of being outdoors, making going somewhere else more appealing (and less a splurge if compared to, say, buying a bigger house). So just to be clear, it's not that I'm opposed to venues, or outsourcing, or whatever, but there do seem to be upward trends (in costs, logistics, expectations) that were pretty much unimaginable to me as a kid (I am, for the record, perfectly comfortable telling DS that "that's not how our family does things," though I haven't yet needed to use that line in this realm).

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I wonder if part of the birthday party thing is that parents now have to go to them too and they see what other parents do. Kids seem pretty oblivious about a lot of things and don’t necessarily equate time or money spent with what they enjoy when it comes to parties.

        The ginger bread house party is a neat idea, though if I had to do it I would probably do it with graham crackers. In her case, she made the houses using a house cookie cutter set she had and sugar syrup. Guests each brought candy and icing. The candies were pooled and kids sat at tables and decorated. Then we brought the houses home and ate them over the course of a few days.

      • hush Says:

        re: The birthday party thing. Here’s a link in which Gretchen Rubin, who is one of my favorite awesome woman authors, puts people who “spend too lavishly at birthday parties” in the same category of social rule-breakers as people “who cheat on their spouses” and people who “act arrogant” :

        http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2006/05/no_more_gossip/

        Finally, I find myself in total disagreement with G. Rubin on something! I would never get my panties in a bunch about how other parents choose to handle their kids’ parties. I’m generally just delighted to be invited, as opposed to being a pariah.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Hm, no, I don’t think someone who spends lavishly on a birthday party is in the same category as someone who cheats on a spouse. Maybe she says that to give people permission not to spend so much on birthday parties. I understand escalating party costs is a bi-coastal city problem. (The year we lived in a city, we solved said problem by having the party at school only– DH went in and they made carrot quick-bread cupcakes as a class project.) But a better way to find true and lasting happiness, I think, is to, as you say, not get ones panties in a bunch over other people’s choices! But maybe that’s too difficult for some of her audience.

        When I was in kindergarten at a fancy Catholic school in a fancy city (we lived in an apartment in the suburbs and my mom “volunteered” teaching her subject area at the school p/t for a tuition break), one of the truly rich kids had a birthday party. We drove up a long winding road to the mansion. There were peacocks on the grounds. There was a magician who we had to sit still for (but the class trouble-maker couldn’t). And that’s all I remember. The birthday party my mom threw in the yard of our apartment complex was just as fun. I don’t think anybody else in the class felt the need to emulate, though maybe with today’s easier access to credit and cheaper magicians they would.

      • chacha1 Says:

        I think a holiday party revolving around decorating edibles is a genius idea. We used to do this as kids – with sugar cookies, not gingerbread houses, but yeah – you have to have enough for everyone to take theirs home (or to do a gladiatorial cage fight to see who gets the best one).

        I only had maybe two actual birthday parties growing up, and you know what? I was not scarred for life.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        One of my birthday parties growing up we did an old-fashioned taffy-pull. Nom.

    • Rosa Says:

      We outsourced my 7 year old’s birthday party this year and it was LOVELY. I think he prefers the home ones, but all the grandparents (including the divorced and remarried ones, who are not fun to be all in the same room with) want to come to our house if we have the party here. That is uncomfortable, and they all have the problem of overstaying the time by quite a lot – one year two of the sets of grandparents showed up more than 24 hours early! They all typically hang around 4 or more hours after the stated end of the party, too, and are all very good at just ignoring subtle hints like “Look, it’s dinner time, I need to get real food into this child and clean up my house! It was so nice of you to come…”

      Since they are all visiting from out of state, it is very difficult to dislodge them, and things never end well – the last few years I had taken up just going into my room and taking a nap with my child after the friend-guests left, which felt unbearably rude and caused a big argument with my mom later, but prevented me having a meltdown on top of the child meltdown that is unavoidable after 12-to-36 hours of birthday.

      The outsourced birthday party had a definite limit to the number of people allowed, was child- instead of adult-centered, took a very specific amount of time, and did not take place at my house. All we had to do was issue invitations and show up with cake! It was the best of his birthdays I’ve ever had, and it turned out to be about the same cost as making food for the hordes that descend on our house for his birthday otherwise.

  16. Sarah Says:

    I have to ask: how do you make a pinata in your hotel room while at a conference?!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      She gets asked that a lot. Apparently she gets weird looks from airport security too. She takes the newspaper and flour and paint with her on the plane and mails the completed pinata back to herself.

      • GMP Says:

        See, I don’t understand this. This sounds very inconvenient, I don’t think this can be explained by her love for craft. I cannot fathom that she feels a visceral need to carry paint and flour and engage in crafts in her hotel room when she could and should be engaging with her professional peers.

        This sounds like a control issue with a helping of martyrdom — there absolutely has to be a pinata made by mom, and it has to be communicated that she goes through this major inconvenience while traveling for work to make the pinata.

        Or maybe I don’t really understand what it’s like to like crafts. Maybe it is a very potent urge, like alcohol addiction. All I know is that there is nothing on earth that would compel me to take paint and flour on a plane.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Wow, that sounds really harsh. No, I do not think she has a control issue or martyrdom, and I think it’s really awful to suggest that someone you do not know has that. Perhaps, as the saying goes, it says more about you and your feelings of adequacy than it says about her. Or perhaps you’re just in a bitchy mood.

        She says it isn’t a big deal and she’s not crazy about the doctor scene on conferences (most of which are held in Las Vegas, which she feels like she’s done), so it gives her something to do. Personally I go to conferences to see my friends, but my friends aren’t surgeons. I don’t think I would want to socialize with surgeons either.

        Also, she doesn’t bring this up. Someone always asks how she finds the time (the pinatas are really awesome and obviously custom-made), and she is upfront about how and when she does it. During downtime at conferences when she can’t possibly be on call.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Actually, why do you think you say nasty things about women who achieve behind their backs? Do you know why you do it or is it just as much a mystery to you too?

        Though you say nasty things to the virtual faces of self-confident women too, IIRC. Why do you do that? Last time I asked you (on a Wandering Scientist thread after you’d attacked us for saying we were awesome, even though we are, in fact, awesome) said it was because people tear you down when you’re self-confident and you feel the need to tear other women who are “full of themselves” down too. But I still don’t understand that logic. It would seem to me that it would make more sense to do the opposite– work on your own self-confidence and encourage other women to be self-confident as well. Shut down the haters and don’t let them bother you instead of becoming one of them yourself.

        I see that your post today is full of under-confidence. Perhaps you’re trying to get people to build you up by fishing for compliments. That doesn’t work so well because as I’m sure you’ve found, you start believing the horrible things you say about yourself. Tearing other people down isn’t going to help either.

        If you really want to start feeling better about yourself, perhaps you could try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, specifically Cognitive Restructuring. We at grumpy rumblings have found it helpful in the past. Replace the negative self-talk (and negative talk about others) with more reality-based talk. It doesn’t have to (and indeed shouldn’t) be unrealistic positive talk, just more reality-based than the doom-and-gloom. Stop attributing the most negative possibility to your actions and to the actions of everybody that you come into contact with. You don’t have to be PollyAnna, but a little more reality will probably make you a happier person. And will stop the attacks on other people.

        Because when you attack other strong women for being confident or just for being awesome, you’re working for the Patriarchy.

      • GMP Says:

        No, I do not think she has a control issue or martyrdom, and I think it’s really awful to suggest that someone you do not know has that. Perhaps, as the saying goes, it says more about you and your feelings of adequacy than it says about her. Or perhaps you’re just in a bitchy mood.

        I am always in a bitchy mood, so that’s neither here nor there. And “it says more about you and your feelings of adequacy than it says about her” — sure, whatevs; I am not endowed with oodles of unconditional self-acceptance, kudos to those who are. I just wrote how what you had written above struck me. Of course I don’t know her, but it’s not like I was actually at her party gossiping about her; my drive-by comment hardly hurts her.
        What’s important is that you like her IRL and I am sure she is probably awesome.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        No, hating on someone who will never read the comment doesn’t hurt her. It just hurts *all women* who aspire to doing something awesome when they read the comment or internalize it and move on. It creates a culture where women cannot win. Where their motives are questioned when they try to do whatever they do. Either we’re control-freak martyrs or we’re terrible mothers. And that’s a horrible culture to try to exist in.

      • GMP Says:

        This is your blog so I will not engage any more, as you should have the last word. But I urge you to read the things that you write to me, and inspect them for traces of support or understanding, that you seem to demand from me. I know I irritate you, and that’s fine, I will re-ban myself from your blog. But don’t kid yourself that you are some kind of women support saint. What you write to me is hateful and almost invariably condescending (like telling me to take a nap in the comments to my last post; or telling me I am fishing for compliments).

      • bogart Says:

        I’m not seeking to engage in the conversation between the Grumpies and GMP, here. I will, however, note just for reference that I find the thought of making a pinata in my conference hotel room *far* more appealing than the sort of networking one is supposed to engage in after-hours at conferences. And I am not the least bit crafty! So this says far more about my feelings about the networking than anything else. But I for one would typically find making a pinata, alone, in a hotel room far more, well, fun than networking.

        If we want to critique conferencing behavior and say that I’d be far better off networking to advance my professional goals, that’s likely true. But if the metric of interest is fun, the pinatas win.

  17. Cloud Says:

    This is an interesting post and discussion, and I feel like I should have something interesting to say, or even a fully-formed opinion… but I’ve been sick and am just wiped out and recognizing that it is interesting is about my limit tonight. Why’d you have to go and write so many interesting post on a week when I got so sick???

  18. Pamela Says:

    I think a lot of it is insecurity. These women probably feel like they should be able to do things like this woman does. I’m with you, if someone has a talent and wants to share it I am happy to partake and praise them to the skies! And thank them for it. And for this MD, I’ll bet you anything that crafts are a real stress-reliever for her.

  19. TimelessFinance Says:

    People resent success. You can see it IRL, or you can see it in the writings of debt bloggers who actively hate on “rich” people as though their success just fell into their laps. My goal is to associate with success and to try and emulate it. The “birds of a feather” saying is true, so I try to capitalize on it.

  20. Antonia Says:

    Thank you for this post. We really need more people who acknowledge others´ outstanding efforts and successes and don´t seem them as a highlighter of their own mediocrity, or as many commenters said, insecurities. We all need more awesome people in our lives, who inspire us to be better and more unique.

  21. MutantSupermodel Says:

    Keep that lady in your life FOREVER

  22. RBOC | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured Says:

    […] at another one of DC1′s friend’s parents’ excellent parties.  This time the woman who was bitching about the mom doing the awesome party last time bitched […]

  23. Do the holidays stress you out? | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured Says:

    […] out of doing stuff like that.  We love that DC1′s best friend’s mom is doing another gingerbread house party this […]


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