entertainment/pop culture motivation

Some Women (Like Nara Smith and Ballerina Farm) Are Just Better Than You

Every few months it seems like there’s either a new Tik Tok trad wife that’s ignited some heated debate for the radical act of cooking her family real food and being beautiful, or one of the established trad wives is under fire again because a new person with too much time on their hands and just enough Twitter followers found out they exist. Think of women like Ballerina Farm and Nara Smith. 


If you live a blissfully offline life and have no idea what or who I’m talking about, I’ll try to explain it as briefly as possible. These are both gorgeous women with gorgeous, comically rich husbands and litters of gorgeous children. Both live lives more traditional than most, with Ballerina Farm owning and operating a fully functional farm with her family and Nara Smith infamous for making meals for her family from scratch. Actually, from scratch almost seems like too simplistic of a term to describe the way she prepares food. It’s like watching a model prepare delicious, organic meals with both the equipment of a professional Michelin chef and the methodology of an Amish woman.


I’ve never followed either of these women; I’ve stumbled across their content here and there, so I don’t know much about them or their lives beyond what I’ve just shared. But I was curious about why so many people had such strong, negative reactions to them.


I knew that Ballerina Farm was married to a JetBlue heir, and that was a huge part of what enabled them to buy a farm in the first place. But as far as I know, she never pretended that her lifestyle was easily attainable or that she was some kind of self made success story. So I didn’t understand how her wealth was relevant.


I know better than anyone how abrasive and annoying some proponents of “traditional values” can be. So I wondered if they were *those kinds* of trad wives. The condescending, scolding, holier than thou types that couldn’t share a picture of a bread loaf without launching into a monologue about femininity or the decline of the West.


So I did a little digging and asked around. But I found no evidence of tradtard behavior. These women never said anything that could be perceived as ideological or politically driven. They simply shared their lives. No polemics, no self righteous pseudo intellectualism, no forced philosophy. Just pretty pictures and oddly mesmerizing videos.


So why did the New York Times publish a hit piece on Ballerina Farm, accusing her of “using social media to push for a return to traditional gender roles while glossing over the privileges that have allowed her to have such a lifestyle in the first place?” And why did Nara’s lobotomy inflected cooking clips inspire such a rabid hatred on what seemed like a bi-monthly schedule?


The answer won’t surprise you. These women aren’t just stunning, and they don’t just live like royalty. They adhere to strict standards of living for themselves and their families. In other words, they’re easy to envy.


When the average woman finds herself in a comparison trap with more conventional celebrities, while she may feel physically inadequate, she can comfort herself by looking into their messy personal lives, their affairs and divorces, their poorly behaved children and think “I may not be as pretty and I may not be as rich, but at least my life is in order, at least I have genuine love in my life, at least I’m a great mom.” But with women like Ballerina Farm and Nara Smith, there’s really no room to cope.


Of course, none of us know what’s going on behind the scenes. But based on what’s available to the public, they quite literally have it all. From their looks, to their tax brackets, to their adoring husbands and cherubic children and the ease with which they seem to juggle it all, these women are living the lives most of us could only dream of.


Maybe I’m an anomaly as a woman that doesn’t often feel the pressure to compare myself to influencers, but I know the sentiment. I remember this girl that moved to DC maybe a year or two after I did, and two or three years my junior. And I felt like I was struggling in every aspect. Socially, romantically, professionally. But it all seemed to come so easily to her. She was much more attractive than me, in way better shape, elegant, statuesque, easy to talk to. She was one of those rare people that could pull off an air of mystery while being charming, friendly and inviting. She found a handsome, tall boyfriend in a matter of months which seems like a Herculean feat in the Swamp. She had a job that put her in the middle of all the action and constantly rubbing shoulders with impressive, important people. She reminded me of the Sex and the City episode where Carrie discovers Big and Natasha went through with the wedding and begins spiraling over her ex’s new wife. “She’s shiny hair, style section, Vera Wang and I’m the sex column they run next to ads for penile implants.” I just felt so clumsy and incompetent every time she showed up on my feed.


This was years ago, but if I looked her up today, I’m sure I’d feel the same way. Actually, curiosity got the best of me, so I did and I was right. I could try to tell myself that “everyone has a struggle you know nothing about” to try to trick myself out of jealousy, but maybe she’s just a basically perfect woman with a basically perfect life and deliriously happy.


The truth is some people are just better than others. You can let that make you bitter or you can choose to make yourself better.


I doubt I’ll ever possess the refinement or radiance of the girl that moved to DC after me. I doubt life will ever just come as easily for me as it did for her. I haven’t thought about her in years. But in the years that have passed I haven’t spent my time seething or wallowing in self pity because there are women better than me. I’ve spent my time trying (and often failing) to become better.


I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since I started college. I play tennis regularly. I used to live on takeout, fast food and delivery and now I cook almost all of my meals at home – so much so that my palette has changed to the point where I can’t enjoy hyper processed junk food like I used to. The last time I ordered Uber Eats was my birthday in January. Even after realizing a significant number of people I considered friends weren’t who I thought they were, I wasn’t desperate to hang on to relationships with people I knew didn’t care about me, because I know who I am, I know how I treat people, and I know that because of that, I’ll always have real friendships. I’m obsessed with keeping my home organized and clean. And after years of lying about my height, saying I was 5’5 even though I was 5’4.25, I finally grew the .75 inches through sheer force of will. Now it’s time to start lying and saying I’m 5’6. 


Day to day, it never seems like much is changing. But when you look back at where you were versus where you are, you realize just how much you’ve grown.


I’ll probably always be a little bit awkward, a little bit strange, and have to work harder to achieve things that seem to come naturally to other people. But instead of being mad at some women for being better than me, I’ve chosen to better myself.


You may never be as domestic, beautiful, or accomplished as women like Nara Smith or Ballerina Farm. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. But instead of hating them for being better than you ever will be, you can let them inspire you to become better than you ever have been.



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