I was eleven years old when all the girls 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, and 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! Friendship back on.

Later on these tribulations evolved into all sorts of behaviour — girls bullying, teasing, and fighting each other. And worse, gossiping. One minute we’re best friends, next minute we hate each other. The next, she stole your boyfriend. And next, we’re having a sleepover. Its erratic, confusing, and tear soaked.

I heard a saying many months ago that rang too true: it said that girls go “off the rails” for a period of their life. From preteen until their early 20’s, 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, wild trip.

The scary thing is this: 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. Context: these women are in their late twenties, married, established. My friend listened to her, heard her out, and genuinely wanted work it out with “good friend.” 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’s not the prettiest girl in the room.

This is crazy. Bat, shit, crazy. This girl – so devastatingly insecure – is hating on her friend, all 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 just got stuck.  It’s selfies, nudies, and controversial snapshots that decorate timelines. It’s sexiness for the sake of 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, its inevitable), and plain old self-hate. Hang with girls who openly admire other women, girls who cheer them on, and never ever hang with girls who gossip.

2. Unpack:

Unpack your um, luggage, and become aware of every time you criticize a woman – yourself included.  It has got to stop. And it starts with self.  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.

2. 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 others raving fans? Oh what a world it could be.


Photo Credit: Danist Soh

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