G I R L S S U C K.
It’s a universal truth.
We, as women, have this killer ability to knock each other down with a single vicious look or an underhanded comment. The term “bullying” is often cloaked over our behavior, but it’s hard for such a hackneyed word to encompass the psychological warfare we experience/inflict as children, teens, and adults within our female social circles.
More often than not, I tout the positive on here; but if you know me, you know that I firmly believe in tackling the grievances we all undergo. I think it’s crucial that we shine a light on moments we’d prefer to tuck under our beds. Because there’s a psychological component to what you sleep over. Always be aware of what’s under your bed because your subconscious is; and your subconscious will pull from that as you sleep.
This desire to bring awareness to truth often means I’m labeled as odd or controversial. I have “no filter.” At best I’m honest.. at worst I’m weird.
And I’m stoked.
H I G H S C H O O L
When I was in high school I could never find my place. There wasn’t a single group I fit in with. I wasn’t smart or pretty or athletic or unique or goth or foreign or musical or hipster or indie. Which was a bummer because, if I ever wanted to get out of this misery, then I needed to be involved in as much as humanly possible so college’s would recognize me as special and grant me admittance.
How in the heck is an esteemed university going to see me as special when my peers have already dubbed me as unworthy? And I imagined the disappointment in my family’s faces as this revelation would hit them hard.
I had so much potential. Potential. Now there’s a dangerous word, because potential implies that change is needed. I could maybe develop and then become worthy.
We, as women, are living in a society that works hard to disparage us from being ourselves; all we crave is validation that it’s okay to exist, let alone exist as one’s honest self.
So my 15 year-old self would pour over magazines and movies and try to figure out how I was supposed to develop until it finally clicked: Cory Kennedy. This 15 year-old who went against all standards of beauty, wore whatever made her happy, and could never find a way to fit in with her peers.
She was who she was, unapologetically, and at 15 she decided she accepted her fate.
And that’s the key. Because unfortunately, people suck. I suck. You suck. We’re all so imperfect and messy. And uniqueness will draw haters. Success will draw haters. Leaders and creatives will draw haters. Banal will draw haters. Haters will draw haters. Which means, no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to control my surroundings; especially not the people; especially not how they will react to me.
We all proclaim that magazines promote these unrealistic expectations, but often times magazines are just mirrors reflecting back; they show us what we as readers are willing to pay money to ogle.
Cory Kennedy was this little wild child with sleepy doe eyes, unbrushed hair, and gangly limbs. Yet, she was one the first official social media influencers, as well as an integral part of Nylon Mag. The editors sought her out, not because she had potential, but because of who she already was.
Now, I’m not in full support of everything Cory Kennedy did. She was sloppy and uncouth. She was 15 and still figuring things out. But she had her own sense of personhood that’s so rare in adults, let alone a 15 year-old.
S T R E N G T H I N V U L N E R A B I L I T Y
Authenticity and vulnerability are two concepts that go hand in hand; and once you master those there’s a power you’ll find deep in the strength that comes when you no longer lean on others to confirm who you are or where you’re going. Deep breath. Don’t worry. You can be authentically you, exactly as you are right now. Feel that strength manifest in your belly. It’s warm, like a hug filled with love, but one that moves from the inside out.
Potential is defined by outside sources. Strength is defined by you.
And like I said – people will always suck; but it’s this strength that will not only get you through, but help others move through life as well. Because the thing about vulnerability is that others can feel it radiate off of you.
Meek is a word often used to describe both Jesus and the shy kid in class. But meek doesn’t just mean “gentle, quiet, not wanting to fight” as Merriam Dictionary suggests. Meek is Greek for “under-control,” “vulnerable.”
What Jesus did that solidified his strength of character was present vulnerability; allowing others to be exactly as they were. He didn’t need to hang with the cool kids because he didn’t need for his social circle to reflect inward. He was fine on his own, or with a mixed crowd. No matter where he was or how others were behaving, he remained the same. And his meekness allowed space for others to be exactly who they were at their core. There was no need to develop for Jesus.
And I think that we, as women, need to assume this same sense of meekness. We need to be strong and vulnerable amidst a world telling us we’re not enough and we’ll never be enough; so much so that we need to be fixed.
S H O W I N G U P
So what do we do? Well for starters, we show up for life, and we show up as ourselves. This is important.
(You don’t do what I did in high school – which was all black everything, opting out of life, afraid to join a club because inevitably I wouldn’t fit in.)
And then we allow the incredible healing of time to take over. Eventually, if you work really hard and show up as yourself again and again, eventually you will find success; and that success is YOU. Imperfect you. Pure you.
If you show up as who you think people want you to be, you risk becoming a watered down version of yourself. All that you will be left with is potential.
And eventually, after showing up again and again, you won’t need to continue searching for your space; you’ll have created one. And if you can do so with kindness and meekness and grace, other likeminded beings will show up to be apart of this space YOU created.
A C T I O N I T E M S
1. DATA DUMP. Who are you? What do you value? Who do you want to become? What do you want to change? Goals, ambitions, deepest desires? Personal, aesthetic, financial, social, familial, career, silly little endeavors you dream about? Write it down.
2. WRITE. I’m serious. Write it all down. Everything. And don’t even think about censoring yourself.
3. IDOLS. Who do you admire? Why? Be specific. Think of 5 – 10. Write it down.
4. RESEARCH. How did your idols achieve their goals? What setbacks did they encounter? Who were they at your age? What did they struggle with? What were their guilty pleasures? What’s similar to your own path? What can you learn from them? What do you admire about it all? What do you dream of doing similar?
5. CHART YOUR COURSE. Now figure out your path.
6. RELENTLESS. Remember, we live a society that works really hard to disparage us from being ourselves. Because it’s really hard to sell and monetize to individuality. It’s also important to remember that success can also throw a target on your back. As can individuality, beauty, creativity. Find strength. Do it anyways. Be relentless. Live a life worth living – not a watered down version, full of mediocrity.
“Stop being tormented by everyone else’s reaction to you. It’s not worth it.” – Unknown
7. HONOR YOURSELF. Honor yourself whilst living in a society that tells you you shouldn’t.
8. CELEBRATE YOURSELF. Level two of honoring yourself. And it’s okay to fake it till you make it. But when you feel pure joy, relish it. Sit in it. Absorb it so it leaves a permanent mark on your soul.
9. LET YOURSELF FAIL. As well as feel. Be miserable. It’s okay. It’s a chapter in your really long book of adventures.
10. LOVE OTHERS. Love others unconditionally. This is a hard one. But the only way to combat the cruelty of girl on girl crime is through community and empowerment. We gotta stop the cycle. Celebrate yourself. Celebrate others. Also okay to fake this one till you make it.