Ever since I was little, I always had this “idea” of the type of woman I wanted to be when I grew up. I used to watch Melanie Griffith in Working Girl with envy, and I thought to myself, “I want to be that successful, that smart, that pretty, that perfect.”
If you haven't seen Working Girl, it's a must-see movie where Melanie Griffith plays a secretary at the bottom of the corporate ladder. Throughout the film, she eventually realizes that to get ahead; she has to break a few rules and portray to be someone she really isn't – her boss.
She changes her appearance, starts wearing gorgeous shoes and clothes, and eventually ends up with a huge promotion at work and wins the guy at the end of the movie. If you haven't seen it, watch it!
So as a little girl, I developed this image of the type of woman I wanted to become – what I wanted to look like, act like, be like. I developed this craving for fashion and clothes, and it slowly spiraled out of control. With all the new clothes came expensive hair appointments, nail appointments, new shoes, waxing appointments, and tanning sessions.
At the age of 25, the reality of what it took to portray this woman that I wanted to become hit me hard. I just started a new job in the financial industry, just graduated college with a pile of student loans, I had seven racked up credit cards, and my financial life was a mess.
The perfect woman I had imagined in my head, was no longer someone I could pretend being. To dig myself out of the debt hole I created, I had to take a hard look at not only the numbers but at my behavior.
In the movie, Melanie Griffith's boss tells her, “Dress shabbily, and they notice the dress. Dress impeccably, and they notice the woman.”
As I looked in my closet, filled with brand-named clothes, dresses that I never wore, shirts with tags still on them, I realized that most of the purchases I made over the years were things I didn't even like. I tried to be the woman who was always on trend, the one with the new Fossil tote in ivory and beige, or the new off-the-shoulder dress that you've probably seen everywhere lately. I tried being that woman, and the moment I finally got comfortable wearing something that I wouldn't usually wear, it would go out of style just as fast.
You see, needing to look a certain way happens like clockwork. The more I tried to keep up, the more I would fail. I eventually learned that I don't want to be like everyone else, and real fashion is about making your own choices, creating your own style, and wearing jeans when everyone else is telling you to wear a dress.
It took me two years and five months to dig myself out of the financial mess I created trying to be perfect. To this day, I still get ideas in my head that I should be a certain way, and my life would be easier because of it. If I just had perfect skin, and hair that just magically looked good all the time, I could spend less time getting ready in the morning and spend more time doing things that actually matter to me.
If I have a closet full of new clothes that are always on trend, I wouldn't have to worry or stress about what I am going to wear in the morning, and no matter what I pick, I will always look good.
These are all of the things that we are told to “want” to be able to do. Be the woman who looks good without any real effort. But for me, it took all of my effort. I realized that spending money in an attempt to be that kind of person got me nowhere, and in the end made me worse off.
Learning to love myself, and everything that came with the real woman that I genuinely was, took time and a lot of soul-searching. With a world which is continually trying to sell me the version of “her” that I tried being for so long, it's still hard to this day. But I know that the woman the world is trying to sell me doesn't exist. But I do.You were born to be real. Not to be perfect.Click To Tweet
You don't need fancy manicures, the newest clothes, or perfect hair to be the best version of you. I can tell you from experience; you can't buy it. And if you try, you will fail financially.
I have told you many times before, that setting up and using a budget is crucial because it allows you to spend money on things that are important to you. It essentially tells your money where to go and gives you a blueprint on how you should spend your money every month. But setting up a budget and filling it with expenses that aren't important can also ruin your finances.
My messy hair, imperfect skin, do-it-yourself nails, and $10 jacket from Ross doesn't make up the woman that I am. The fact of the matter is, no one thing will ever transform you into Melanie Griffith from Working Girl, and pretending to be someone you are not, will never make you that perfect woman. You will always be the same you – only with more unnecessary expenses in your budget, and a new pair of shoes.
Stop wearing the dress everyone is telling you to wear, and put on the dang jeans.