About Me

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I'm a loving [although sometimes crazy] wife, a [very] loyal friend, a passionate educator, an involved citizen, a sensitive soul, a faithful Christian, a fiery Aries, and a classy lady.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why be a Mean Girl?

I've never really understood girl on girl hate. I think it starts when we're really young, and you're mad because one of your 9 second grade boyfriends is also boyfriends with some other girl in your class. Or there is the little girl in your class that dresses funny and has wild hair that is rarely clean, and since you don't understand empathy, it seems easier to make fun of her than to befriend her. Kids can be painfully honest, and sometimes it goes uncorrected and so we never realize what we're saying is rude and hurtful. And sometimes, we don't even care. We may know exactly what we're saying and know how mean it is, but we are so afraid of becoming the target of the hostility that we keep lashing it out onto others.

We've all known (or been) a girl who blames the "other woman" when their boyfriend cheats instead of remembering that we're in the relationship with him, not her. We've also all known (or been) the girl who was that other girl who may or may not have known he was in a relationship. We've also all known (or been) the girl who stays with the cheater/starts dating the cheater while still being angry and bitter toward the other girl. The reality is - neither girl is on the "right" side of this. Plain and simple - don't place blame and anger where it doesn't belong and don't do something you know is going to hurt someone else. And when it's all said and done, love yourself a little bit more so it doesn't happen to you again no matter which side you're on.

We've all known (or been) the girl who watches the Victoria Secret fashion show screaming "Real women don't look like that!" And, we've all known (or been) the girl who has been called "fat" her whole life and hates herself because she's not that super model. Why can't we all just love each other for whatever shape we're in!? Yes, it's ideal to be healthy, but not because of how you look but instead so we can live our lives doing the things we love to do without fear. Who says we have the right to tell anyone else what they can or cannot eat or what size they should fit into?

We've all known (or been) that girl who is friends with guys, and nothing more, but people call her a "slut" because they don't think girls and guys can just be friends. Who are we to determine what makes someone a "slut" and even if they are by their own decree, why does it matter to us? I was once told by a dance coach (who went on to be arrested for statutory rape, but that's not the point here) that I was "promiscuous with my feelings." Huh? Because I care about people? I care about too many people? Is that actually something that can be measured?

We've all known (or been) the girlfriend (or wife) doesn't believe that girls and guys can just be friends, so you're "not allowed" to maintain a friendship with their now boyfriend or husband. I really don't understand this one. Is it misplaced jealousy? Why can't two people of the opposite sex be friends and nothing more? Where is the trust in your relationship? I've been told "I trust him, but I don't trust her." Well, why? "Just because" is not a good answer.

We've all known (or been) the woman who bitterly says the SAHM doesn't "work." Or, we've all known (or been) that SAHM that just doesn't understand how a woman could work outside the home when she has children to raise. Truly, what difference does it make if some of us stay home and some work and some do both? Why should we be angry or bitter? Are we jealously believing that the grass is greener on the other side? Can't we all just feel grateful that we live a time where we have the choice to stay home or work or whatever?

These are just a few examples of girl on girl hate that all comes from some place that makes no sense to me. I say girl on girl hate because, most of the time, it seems like the anger or blame or whatever is placed on one girl by another girl for no rational or real reason. Is it that we are jealous of the other? Or scared of what is happening in our own lives? Or we feel defensive for some reason?

There are movies and songs about mean girls. You'd think these things would help us realize that the cycle has to end, but it seems that too often, it makes it even more acceptable. There are plenty of news stories out there of teenage girls and their parents defending online or in school bullying with the give-up, "Oh, you know how girls are at this age. They'll grow out of it. It's innocent."

Is it really innocent? Do we ever really grow out of it? Or do we keep finding new ways to be mean girls because it keep us at the top of some imaginary mountain?

I know mean girls who've been mean girls their entire lives and will always be. I know once nice girls who have chosen to become mean girls in their adult lives because they encountered mean girls in their youth and think it's their turn. And I know plenty of mean girls who've realized the error of their ways and have made active efforts to right their wrongs.

See, I used to be a mean girl. I tried for a long time to pretend I wasn't, but now I can look back with time and hindsight on my side and clearly see times that I was downright terrible to people for absolutely no reason. Or sometimes there was a reason, but I refused to work it out in a way that would actually build bridges instead of burn them down. And there were times I was a mean girl because I was afraid that if I stood up to the others, I'd become the next target. Sometimes, that did happen, which made it more and more difficult to do the right thing.

But, I don't want to be a mean girl anymore, ever. I want to be a girl who brings others up. I want to be the girl that inspires others to love instead of hate. I want to remind others that, "While it's nice to be important, it's more important to be nice." I am by no means perfect, and I catch myself too often sliding back in the strange comfort of being mean.

Recently in a post on the Curvy Girl Guide, the author wrote "It's not a competition. There's room for more than one woman to succeed." I've thought this so many times, and it's comforting to read it in a blog that is all about us loving ourselves and embracing other women in this sisterhood of life. We can all succeed and celebrate each other's successes and be the soft place to land when we're not so successful.

In Sugarland's Mean Girls, Jennifer Nettles sings "They'll hate you if you're pretty; They'll hate you if you're not. They'll hate you for what you lack, baby. Then they'll hate you for what you've got." For me, this pretty much sums up the "Mean Girls" phenomenon.

Why do we hate people for lacking something and we also hate them for succeeding?

We make fun of people who are overweight and make angry smirks at supermodels saying they aren't "real women"?

If we've ever been picked on, why do we feel that we are justified to bully someone else?

Why do we live in a world where we support the constant need to one-up the next person? Why do we allow that to happen and join in?

One of my favorite quotes is, "There isn't anyone you couldn't love once you've heard their story." But even still, why do I need to hear their story to love them? Why don't I just love them because it's the right thing to do?  And if they want to share their story, then we can love each other that much more.

When I really stop to think about why I don't like someone, I can rarely point to any reason.

We don't all have to be best friends. We don't have to hang out and have pajama parties. But, we can all be kind to each other. We can all be the positive influence to that kid we don't even know is watching us, looking to us for how they should act.

If I was ever a mean girl to you, I am really very sorry. I hope you'll forgive me.

If you were ever a mean girl to me, I forgive you.

Let's all go forth in love and kindness and stop being mean girls. Let's stop encouraging girl on girl hate. Let's not become mean women. Let's be the role models we should be. There is room for everyone when your heart is full of love.