“I’m not like those other girls,” I always told people.
I was for sure a tom-boy. I played every sport under the sun, watched WWF, and played my older brother’s NHL on Nintendo 64. I thought girls who were not sporty like me were superficial and “girly”. I was pretty led to believe that being a “girl” was not cool ( and unfortunately society still makes many girls feel this way) even though I secretly did like things that were “girly”.
When I got into my teens, I was confused. I wanted to explore both my sporty and girly side. I was in choir and musicals and played soccer and volleyball. Internally I was at war. Who I showed on the outside was not always reflective of who I was on the inside. Was I girly? Was that allowed? Didn’t I have to choose one over the other? Ahhhh! My mom passing away definitely added to that as well (view previous article).
I had girl friends, I had girl teammates and girl acquaintances. But it did not fix the internal battle I was still feeling. I still disliked girls who were prettier than me, more liked than me, or girlier than me. I came up with even more reasons not to like them.
At the time, I called it honesty. But, when I finally started getting real with myself is when I knew the problem had little to do with them, and everything to do with me.
Maybe for you, your situation is flip-flopped. Or, maybe you’re not very sporty and maybe you’re not very “girly”. Yet somehow, some way, you still feel these feelings.
Regardless of how you got there, you’re there.
Slowly but surely, I’ve been figuring it out. & Just a little disclaimer- this was not an overnight flip of the switch. No no, this has taken years of self reflection and work- and is something I work on a day to day basis.
So here we go:
1. I Accepted I Was Insecure
My dislike toward other girls stemmed from my own insecurity. Deep down, I think I knew that. I just never truly loved myself enough to admit it to anyone- let alone myself. As usual, other people were able to see my insecurity before I could because it truly made for some really terrible decision making and very attention seeking years.
At first, getting real with myself was hard because it required laying down my ego. And to some extent, downright embarrassing. But once I was honest about my insecurities, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities and people I could talk to and relate to.
2. I Spent/ Spend Time With Other Women
Two of the most powerful words in the dictionary? “Me. too”.
Actively seeking out a supportive female community is one of the best things I’ve ever done – and am constantly doing. A great way to get past a dislike of other women is to spend time with them. I don’t just mean like a hey hello hi here and there. I mean realllll time. Sit down with a glass of wine… or six.. and pour your F*cking heart out to a group of women. It took me a long time to peel the blinders off my eyes and realize that even those whose lives are seemingly “perfect” on the outside are not so perfect on the inside. Community makes that fact known. We are ALL fighting or have fought some sort of battle. You have more in common than you think.
3. I Stopped Competing
In our society, it can be easy to believe we’re in competition with other women. But let me tell you- that’s just not true at all. It’s not true for a job, it’s not true for being the “best” or the “prettiest,” and it’s most definitely not true when it comes to men.
If I’m being honest, I struggle with remembering this sometimes especially being in media. But, I remind myself that another woman’s success doesn’t make me less successful. A woman who is pretty doesn’t make me less pretty. There’s room for everyone to succeed.
I have my own trials. I have own story. So it only makes sense that I am going to follow my own life path.
When it comes to guys- it is not healthy, productive, or worth it to compete for a guy.
Looking into my past relationships, I felt like I had to compete with others to earn love or attention. I realize now that I don’t want to be with someone whose interest in me wavers by the gust of the wind anyways.
I promise you, you don’t want to be in that kind of relationship. You deserve more than that. There’s plenty of men out there. The right person will love us exactly for who we are and their feelings won’t keep us wondering on a day to day basis.
4. I Drain The Poison
If you haven’t figured this out yet already – jealousy is a poison. It can steal your joy and keep you focusing on all the things you think you aren’t.
Something I’ve started doing is when I feel a jealous or competitive spirit creeping in is compliment that woman on something to start a conversation. It can be as simple as complimenting their shoes, to how awesome they are doing their job. I find something I genuinely like about them and call out that toxicity by name and break the spell.
5. There Is No “Right” Way To Be A Girl
Like I said before, I was pretty convinced that being ONE type of girl was better than another.
Contrary to what I believed before, the word “girly” is something we made up. Pink = Girl and Blue = Boy are stigmas we for some reason just ASSIGNED. Truthfully, it doesn’t make any sense at all. Wearing a lot of pink doesn’t make me any more or less of a girl just like being into sports doesn’t make me more of a dude. Two different lifestyles, maybe. But not two different genders. You can paint yourself blue or you can sleep hanging upside down from a tree every Tuesday. The point is, a woman is a woman is a woman and she can be that woman any way she chooses.
In fact, now I wear my bright pink Nike shirt to the gym, I openly wear bell sleeves, I admit that I adore flowers and have my nails done every couple of weeks. And I freakin’ LOVE IT.
At the end of the day, nobody is going to get some sort of medal for being the “right type of girl.” And in case you’ve forgotten, you are smart. You are beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. No matter how you “girl”.
Even if I completely missed the mark with you in the above points, at the end of the day, it boils down to learning to love and accept yourself. I know I know, easier said than done, but it’s true. And it takes time.
Most of those things happen away from the mirror. For me, it happens in kindness, compassion, humility, and female community. The more I love other women- the more I love myself- and the more I love myself- the more I love other women. It’s a perfectly poetic cycle.
It’s not to say I LOVE everyone. There are definitely some girls I wouldn’t want to hang out with. I’m human. I still find things annoying. Lol. But now, I can say it’s because of my growth as a person, not because of insecurity. Does that make sense?
Learning to ourselves is a journey. There is so much tearing down of women in society- and women shouldn’t be one of the contributors. Let’s hold each other up. We have the power to change the conversation about how we choose to show up in the world.