Girls. We’re Not All Mean.

9 Jul

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See! Look at how nice and sweet we look… with the exception of Julie (black shirt) who judging by the smirk on her face looks like she may be plotting something evil ❤ Kidding. She’s a sweet pea too ❤

Happy Wednesday, Dolls!

Hope your day is off to a good start. Remember, positive thoughts only!

Today I felt like yapping about us and how we’re too often misjudged… by each other. As a girl who had her fair share of cat drama, over the years I gradually built this wall to guard my little feelings and keep my number of girlfriends to a minimum. It was instances like the time Tara, a 6th grade classmate, lied for no other reason than boredom and told Ariane, an 8th grader twice my width, that I started a rumor that she, as in Ariane, was pregnant. Long story short, Ariane confronted me after school in front of all these kids and made threats to beat my you know what. I, the always chipper, boney girl whose closest thing to duking it out was yelling “I hate you” to my big sister, was petrified inside. I didn’t let it show though because the other quick-tongued and stubborn pride side of me took over. Fortunately for me, Ariane was all bark and never actually hurt me. This was one of many occasions. Thank God I was never brutally bullied, but I was on the receiving end of a lot of, “She thinks she’s allll that!”, “That ain’t even her hair; that’s a weave,” and “She not even that cute” commentary that was purposely said loud enough for me to hear as I walked by. The cattiness intensified as I got a little older, and while there were fewer instances, the bite of them was way harder than the playground chatter I had learned to ignore. One of my closest friends completely distanced herself from me and then intentionally tried to hook her friend up with the guy she knew I was talking to at the time, and then there were the times I’d pitch stories to other editors, who happened to be female, and they’d say “tell me more,” just to publish the same story the next day under their byline. That same bite-back-in-public-but-cry-in-private 6th grader made a comeback as I found myself sincerely hurt.

Ironically, I was this girl power writer, but assigning the “mean girls” label to a lot of women I met. It wasn’t intentional. It was just my way of protecting myself and reminding myself that just because a girl says she likes your outfit doesn’t mean she likes you. Heaven forbid she says something like “That afro puff is probably a clip on” behind your back. Instead of giving each woman I met a fair shot to show and prove her character, I’d internalize the first thing she did or said that I felt was out of pocket and take it personal. Maybe she really forgot to follow-up by email, or maybe she’s super cool but just doesn’t show all 30-something whites when she smiles, or maybe she wasn’t rolling her eyes at me and was trying to wiggle out an eyelash would have been more logical thoughts, but I would immediately read “She’s mean” and distance myself.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how ridiculous and hypocritical my judgments toward girls were. One instance in particular helped knock some sense back into me. I was pitching a story to this really big magazine’s website and emailed the editor a brief summary of the article. She wrote back that she was interested but needed to know specific details. Here we go again I thought. Reluctant, I tried to sell her on the minimal pitch I’d already given. She explained the reason why she needed more detail, which made perfect sense, and went a step further to rid my worry of an editor stealing a story without giving me credit, and replied, “If your apprehension is that I’ll forward or steal the idea, I won’t. Idea theft is just not something any editor worth her salt would ever do. Especially not me.” Any other time I would have said “Yea, right. Won’t get me suckerrrrrrrrrr,” to myself of course, but for whatever reason I let my paranoia go and I believed her. I responded that I was sorry if my apprehension offended her professionalism, and explained that my prior experiences of getting got made me extra sensitive (I didn’t actually email “getting got,” by the way). Her response? “I’m sorry that’s happened to you before. That’s no bueno. I definitely won’t steal your ideas though. Well, this sounds like a nifty idea. I like it.” She actually said sorry, a rarity for anyone when they’re not in the wrong, and especially rare for someone who’s put in work and writing at a fancy smancy worldwide magazine. As I should have, I felt like a fool, but more than that, I felt crappy. So what if a few girls didn’t care for me or intentionally tried to hurt me? So what that it’d probably happen again? Walking through life assuming the worst after the slightest questionable behavior was still whack and damaging to me more than anyone else.

Since that light bulb moment with the super cool editor (who also has amazingly cool hair, as noted via Instagram), I made a decision to be more open to seeing the good in girls, and more reluctant to use the “m” and “g” words together. What I learned is that we’re not all mean. In fact, most of us aren’t at all. We’re just misunderstood, and too often the blame for other girls’ baggage that was accumulated long before we even stepped into the picture. We’re all different, too. Just because I say a big “HEY, GIRL!” to a random stranger on the subway and she responds by nodding her head doesn’t mean that I’m nice and she’s rude. It probably just boils down to something as simple as I’m from Georgia where we smile at everyone we make eye contact with, and she’s from NYC, where they have tunnel vision because everything around them is so hustle-bustle. If you’re that girl who’s overly sensitive like I was, or you find yourself saying things like, “I don’t get along with girls,” re-evaluate why and figure out how to better manage your issues; and note the emphasized “your” in front of “issues.” Maybe you have a need to be adored by everyone, maybe you always play victim, maybe you care too much what other people think of you. Whatever it is, acknowledge it and check it. I realized that for me, it was this need for everyone to be happy with me and happy in general. Every time I had a girl issue, I’d get so caught up in trying to resolve it that I’d completely forget that the people in my corner outnumbered those who weren’t–like the ones who voted me as high school homecoming queen and college queen, and the ones who faithfully read my blog, and the ones who comment the heart eye emojis on all of my selfies, and the ones who recommend me for cool writing or hair modeling gigs. Don’t get so tainted by the bad that you fail to see all the good your fellow girlkind has to offer. Sure, some girls are vindictive and backstabbing and catty; but not all, not even most. You’ll never know though and you’ll miss out on awesome opportunities and amazing friendships if you don’t nip away your hypersensitivity to girl drama.

 

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3 Responses to “Girls. We’re Not All Mean.”

  1. Christi July 9, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

    This is so true! I consider myself a pretty receptive person and give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but still find myself misjudging women (or judging correctly and holding it against them when I should just let it go) far too often. Case in point, I stopped saying hello to one of my coworkers bc the response was always super lukewarm if she responded at all. Now we work more closely and she is one of THE sweetest people I’ve ever encountered! Interestingly enough, she’s from New York lol! So she’s usually just in her own head when walking and doesn’t speak to or make contact with many people, especially those she is unfamiliar with. If I had kept my attitude about her, I would’ve missed out on getting to know a really great person!

    Liked by 1 person

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