She gives me her hand to shake and says hi I’m Lauren, nice to meet you. I take her hand and then take her in. Shoulder length blonde hair brushed and neat. Kind, blue eyes that glisten with sincerity. Beautiful facial features, the kind of pretty girl looks you’d see on a woman who was the class secretary in high school, on the yearbook staff, and maybe a dancer long ago. Not the most popular girl, not the most desired but definitely well liked by all.
I look down at myself sitting in one of those popup chairs at the soccer field in my “frumpy, go-to, good enough for public” sweats and sneakers. My hair still damp from my shower and no makeup on my face but happy my glasses can disguise my tired eyes and the bags that go on for days. I used to be pretty too is my immediate thought.
Every once in awhile on the soccer field, I’d see her. She always looked so well put together standing with her handsome husband and three healthy, happy kids. Her hand sporting the quintessential diamond ring you see many moms donning; large and beautiful yet not splashed in your face.
I’d see her in her big SUV, shiny and fancy waiting at the bus stop. Sending off her kids with kisses and hanging around the bus stop for a bit afterwards catching up on the latest gossip in the neighborhood.
I’d see her in the school with friends all around her, her little one hugging her leg. Always polite to everyone and giving me a friendly smile and nod hello. With her gold ball earrings and her fit figure in neat attire - not fancy or trendy but just classy and organized.
I’d sit and wonder what it’s like to be her. I wanted to be like her.
My little, athletic figure gone and flab in its place. My pretty facial features not so pretty anymore. My limp hair I can’t be bothered with. My clothes aka my sweatpants I can’t bear to part with. My little diamond ring that can barely be seen by the naked eye. My second hand SUV. My crazy, busy life as a working mom. My husband and I struggling after his lay off.
But she is not me. I am me. And I don’t know her. Maybe she’s not happy in real life. Maybe she looks perfect on the outside but is truly hurting on the inside. Maybe she struggles from something that I don’t know about. Or maybe she is really that perfect and happy. Maybe, just maybe, she sees me and thinks the same.
Maybe she’s envious of my beautiful children who are smart and well-behaved. Maybe she’s envious of my career and how I support my family. Maybe she’s envious of my pristine home and property. She may even be envious of how my husband takes care of the house and how he is an amazing chef and handyman.
I think about all I have and I think about my blessings and I look at her with envy no longer. I wanted to be like her but I will be me.