I was 11 years-old when I noticed all the girls had changed.
I vividly remember coming to school on a Tuesday and being informed that my friend was “mad” at me. Mad? What for?
Oh, you should know.
I didn’t. I sulked, until a day or so later when my friend had forgiven me and smiled as if nothing had happened. I embraced her forgiveness. Hooray! The friendship was back on.
Later such tribulations evolved into all sorts of behaviour—girls bullying, teasing, and fighting each other. And worse, gossiping. One minute we’re best friends, the next minute we hate each other. One day, she stole your boyfriend. The next, we’re having a sleepover.
It was erratic, confusing, and tear-soaked.
I heard a saying many months ago that rang true: it said that girls go “off the rails” for a period of their life. From preteen until their early twenties, girls are crazy. Uh huh, I’m allowed to say that. I‘m a girl. Being off the rails is like being in a vortex of jealousy, insecurity, and a whole ton of hormones. It’s a wild trip.
The scary thing is that some girls get stuck in the vortex. They’re spinning, blind and lost, gaining no traction whatsoever.
A very beautiful, smart, and charming friend of mine just got married. After the wedding, her “good friend” informed her pointedly that she was mad at her. Mad. These women are in their late twenties, married, established. My friend listened to her, heard her out, and genuinely wanted work it out. Through a sideshow of antics and accusations, and a guilt trip from hell, “good friend” confessed how difficult it was for her at the wedding, how difficult it is when she is not the prettiest girl in the room.
This is crazy. Bat shit crazy. This girl is so devastatingly insecure that she is hating on her friend, simply because she doesn’t feel she’s pretty enough.
This “pretty enough” insecurity nonsense is the vortex. It’s girls who went off the rails and got stuck. It’s selfies, nudies, and controversial snapshots that decorate timelines. It’s sexiness for the sake of it and blatant attention-seeking online behaviour. Call me old-fashioned, conservative, or even a prude—but I don’t believe that this is coming from a place of joy. I just don’t.
So, what is a girl to do?
1. Choose wisely
Start off by considering that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Pay attention to signs of derailing behaviour like neediness, uncalled for mood swings (we all swing, it’s inevitable), and plain old self-hate. Hang with girls who openly admire other women, girls who cheer them on, and never hang with girls who gossip.
Unpack your luggage and become aware of every time you criticize a woman—yourself included. It has to stop. And it starts with you. Try creating a mantra to silence negative self-talk and to build up self-esteem. The things we hate about others are the things we hate about ourselves.
3. Lead by example, Baby
Hold yourself to higher standards; consider decorum, your purpose, and whatever else is dear to you. Just be better than you were yesterday in some small, minute way. You can start off simple by writing down a list of the women that most intimidate you and drill yourself to understand why it’s so. The reason is there, keep digging.
What if girls were taught to love women from childhood, to celebrate each other, and to always be each other’s raving fans? Oh, what a world it would be.
Gabrielle Garon is a writer, connector, and collaborator. She is a “people person” by definition: warm, touchy, and talkative. Gabrielle’s obsessed with self-improvement and personal growth and you’ll find her favourite thing to do is influence others. When she’s not writing she’s doing what she does best: helping others in her full time gig as a HR pro for one of the Pacific Northwest’s top web development agencies, ImageX. Connect with Gabrielle via Twitter or visit her website.