By: Kalyn Wilson
I hate the term “stuck-up.” It haunts me. It reminds me of too many days in grade school where classmates scolded me and said “you think you’re all that,” which made me feel that I was the exact opposite since they felt I was clearly wrong if I did think I was “all that.” It reminds me of the verbal bullies I encountered and the reason why I struggled with self-esteem in the first place (because it was easier to put yourself down so that people would stop thinking that you held yourself up too highly).
Over time, I got over it, thankfully, but it still rubs me the wrong way when I hear it. The other day, my friend asked me about some ladies I knew. Is she nice? My confused face set in, I said “yes” and asked why. She looks stuck up.
Looks. I turned around to glance at the girls and there was no sign of sidity to me. I figured maybe it was because I knew them as nice girls, so it was easier to see them through fresh eyes. After I thought again, I still couldn’t quite get that energy from them, but I could see how they’d be mistaken for stuck-up. I was ashamed to say why. It’s because they were pretty.
When talking to another friend, Jane*, about it, I just wondered what could be done about the “stuck-up” energy we send and receive sometimes. I wondered what causes it, especially since I sometimes get “nice girl” vibes from the meanest of the mean (at least others think they are). She told me it all goes back to intimidation. Jane* said, “I think if you’re the same kind of pretty as the girl next to you, then you’ll be seen as a threat and send off those ‘stuck-up’ vibes.”
So is it another classic case of women not being able to embrace one another because of feeling intimidated? Yes and no. I think it works both ways.
My mom used to constantly tell me that she understands why some people did or still do believe me to be stuck-up, even though I would cry my eyes out about how nice and humble I was. I begged and pleaded for her to see otherwise, and subconsciously aimed to prove them all wrong with my oddly low self-confidence. But the day came when I was able to feel good about myself and find that balance between confidence and modesty - and I smiled more. That meant I sent more of a positive vibe to others and a lot of them stopped feeling put down by the well-known, unconscious “mean stare,” often a product of insecurity and unhappiness.
What does this all mean? The stuck-up girl could really be stuck-up. Or maybe you just want her to be because she’s not as open or smiley...or maybe she intimidates you and you’d rather reject her before she rejects you. Or maybe you’re the stuck-up girl because your heart is a little heavy and it’s hard for you just crack a smile at the other girls like you across the way.
Should we all just start smiling all the time? Or should we just let the death-stares roll off our backs? Just from one former “stuck-up girl” to the world, I’d rather we just focus on love inward and turn it to love outward. Even if that means looking at another girl in her seemingly mean eyes and choosing to see the “nice” in her until proven otherwise. Because there’s no put-down like being called “stuck-up.”