Want to see something weird?
Put me in a room full of cool girls and strong women. Things will get strange quickly. It will definitely get sweaty, and I’ll either start talking gibberish or not at all.
The Cool Girl Run-In
I recently ran into Brianne Jell, “The Cool Girl,” from my high school. Back then, Brianne was beautiful, blond, and confident. She hung out with all the “right” people and was invited to all the best events.
When I saw Brianne, she looked exactly the same. I was instantly flustered, my heart began pounding. I wanted to dive behind a cashier instead of letting her see me. I forgot that I was a high-functioning adult and reverted back into a geeky teenager.
The Back Story
Brianne and I lived in the same small town and attended the same schools for six years. We never spoke.
Based on nothing more than her appearance and social circle, I assumed I knew her well enough to form an opinion that could have lasted a lifetime.
When I noticed my visceral reaction to a woman that I knew nothing about I had to explore it.
I mustered the nerve to message Brianne. In my head, she knew she was far cooler than I was. I was highly doubtful I’d even get a response back.
You guys! Not only did she respond, but she was funny and vulnerable, and she even apologized for making ME uncomfortable.
Isn’t it amazing how the stories we tell ourselves about others can feel like facts?
The Real Brianne
When I spoke to Brianne, she mentioned she had been shy in school and was often mistaken for being snuck up, which is something I have experienced many times in my own life. I felt disappointed in myself for never considering this could be a truth for Brianne as well.
My views about Brianne were based purely on my own insecurities and belief that being blond and beautiful would solve all of my life issues.
Moving forward, I will not fall for these stories without first exploring their roots. I invite you to also re-examine someone you think you know.
Beyond the Surface, Interview with Brianne Jell
Please let me introduce Brianne, beyond the surface.
How does it feel to be blond and beautiful?
I DO NOT view myself as blond and beautiful! Yeah, I’m blond. But aside from the colour of my hair, I think it’s too thin and limp. I’d love a nose job. It’s all I see. I’m super insecure about it.
If you could go back to high school would you do anything differently?
I would study more and focus on my future rather than hanging out with my friends, boys, and having fun.
What would adult Brianne tell teenaged Brianne?
I would tell teenage me to go to college and get a career.
What did you study in school, and why?
I studied mental health and addictions because I could relate, and many people in my life struggle with one or both issues.
What type of woman causes you to feel unsure of yourself?
I’m uncomfortable around women that are successful, flawless and wear expensive clothes.
How old is your son? What part of motherhood causes you to struggle?
Jace is 4. I struggle with a lot, dealing with meltdowns, not listening, not having time to myself, and not sleeping as much as I’d like.
Are you a stay at home mom or working mom?
I was laid off when COVID hit. We’ve since decided daycare was causing too much stress in our lives, so I won’t be returning to work right away.
What surprised you about being a mother?
It surprised me how much work being a mom is and how little patience I have.
What is the best part of being a mom?
Unconditional love is the best part.
What do you do for your self?
Ummmmm, I drink wine 😂. When I get the chance I like to go to the gym, window-shop, see friends.
In Brene Brown’s book “Braving the Wilderness,” she says, “We are complex beings who wake up every day and fight against being labelled and diminished with stereotypes and characterizations that don’t reflect our fullness.”
My interview with Brianne highlighted that we are often more alike than we even know. Leaning in with curiosity can lead to learning something new about ourselves and open doors for deeper connections. Can you think of a relationship you’d like to re-examine?
Has anyone ever tried to describe you in a way that doesn’t resonate?