It's not in me...

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while you could miss it.”

Matthew Broderick as Ferris Buller, "Ferris Buller’s Day Off

I think Ferris is right. This is why I believe simplicity is key. Along these ideological lines, I recently received my first copy of REAL SIMPLE. I like the look of this magazine, the recipes are great, the style of the magazine is...well, simple and sleek. I like it. I do. But there were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way.
For one, this quote, which was located in the table of contents:

"It's better to be noticed for blood-red lipstick or bright blue eyeshadow...than to walk around with timidly applied, conventional makeup, looking like a great big question mark."
--Kevyn Aucoin (the art of makeup)

eeek! You mean if I don't make a makeup statement, my life is a big question mark? I'm in trouble. (gulp) Okay... moving onto the table of contents:

There are trends, solutions, Life Lessons, Beauty Guide, Fashion Guide, Health Guide, Home and Monday Guide. And then there are the features:

  • What Makes My Life Real Simple, p. 125
  • They’re Golden, p. 126
    Six couples, all wed for 50 years or more, share their secrets for staying happily together
  • The Art of Moderation, p. 136
    How to strike the right balance with everything from sweets to cell phones
  • Keep It Real (Neat), p. 140
    Four supremely organized women share their systems
  • The Pros’ Guide to Pampering, p. 146
    Spa-quality treatments you can give yourself at home

  • After all of this is listed, comes recipes that are low fat, quick, easy, etc.
    Oh good god. I suddenly felt overwhelmed. All these things a woman must keep in control. And beneath this guise of "we want to help you live your perfect life!" comes a sense that the writers have no idea about the kind of life I want to live!

    I'm not blaming this overwhelming feeling on Real Simple. They have an audience that loves what they do and I love what they do too...but maybe it's that I'm blaming this overwhelming feeling on Chaka Kahn...
    "I'm Every Woman" kind of deals with why life in the woman lane is overwhelming.
    You must want.
    Everything.
    All times.
    And that if you don't want it all, that you're somehow not living up to your modern woman expectation. And how did you not put others first but also how did you not take time for yourself (you deserve it!) and also, why aren't you over in Haiti helping people who aren't as fortunate as you!?

    I saw an article about work-life balance in Real Simple and found myself resenting the woman who was sharing her "tips" on the matter. But the whole magazine, really, was an attempt to give me the perfect life where I can have it all. I don't want a perfect life. I just want to be happy for most of it. I appreciate the thought behind letting me in on "secrets," "tips" and "rules" but no thanks.

    The instinct to be everything creeps in, but then comes a sense of slowly creeping insanity.

    We don't have to be every woman. It's okay just to be the woman we are. I'm going to say it. If it means you want to be a mom and make that priority, good for you. I feel powerful and fierce but do I want to get married? TBD. Do I want to have kids? TBD. Do I want to run away and join the circus? Well, I haven't ruled it out.

    I'm not every woman, I'm just me.

    Ferris is right.

    If you don't stop to look around once and a while, you could go your whole life trying to be everything instead of something really great--which is who you are right now, imperfections and all.