The Building of "The Wall" (no not that one..)
Okay, so now some background. I know my issues began back in middle school. Girls are ruthless. They just are. You know what I'm talking about. You know. So I will make this brief.
Take a trip back with me to the early 2000's. Think layered polo shirts, Livestrong bracelets, Mambo No. 5 playing on your Hit Clip. I was short, had every orthodonture procedure possible going on in my mouth, was socially awkward, thought crimped hair looked good, and had another three years before I'd lose my "baby weight". I got made fun of for various things (as you do in middle school), and having girls whispering secretively about in me in the hall or spitefully excluding me from things still haunts me to this day. From this point on, I've never really felt comfortable around girls.
So I put up a wall. My mentality in life turned into "if a girl wasn't going to engage me first, I wouldn't give her time of day either". If someone didn't engage with me, they probably didn't want me talking to them anyway, so my thought was...why bother. I just really didn't want to bother people and make them like me even less. The funny thing is, because of this, I put myself in a toxic cycle of low self confidence. I was intimidated by every new female I came in contact with and immediately put up my wall. It almost felt primitive. My muscles would become tense and my chest would tighten. I became defensive, cynical, and avoided engagement of any sort. I gave myself a serious inferiority complex and couldn't see that I was actually pushing people away by simply trying not to "bother" them. Going out and meeting new people became exhausting for me, almost sickening. And eventually, I grew tired of feeling this way.
Women Empowering Women...Eek
In the past few years something dawned on me, as it should for you too. Women are not the enemy. In a male dominated world, we need each other. We just do. It's so easy to assume that all women are going to be those girls in the middle school hallways relentlessly laughing at you. The ones you have sickening flashbacks of that jolt you out of bed just as you're drifting off to sleep. (Or is that just a me thing?) But...maybe they aren't.
Back in the beginning of 2017 I made a resolution to become more empowering to the women I met, rather than pre-judging or seeing them solely as my competition. (A hard habit to kick for the girl who was voted "Most Competitive" in high school...) What harm could it do? I'm surrounded by incredible women in the industry I work in, so I started there. Instead of putting up a wall around people, I worked on trying to develop a simple habit of always saying "Hi" when the opportunity presented itself. I completely tossed aside the idea that I was "bothering" anyone, and honestly, I no longer cared if I was. I felt better. Then I took a leap and joined a few women's hiking and running forums online, and became part of a women's specific running club (shout out to all of my Colorado Volee birds!). I was so afraid of being judged, dismissed, or let down by a group of strangers. In my head I heard the snickers and the whispers from the mean girls of my past, but I made the leap.
If you read one thing in this post let it be the next paragraph. After putting myself out there to a chunk of random women, nervously awaiting backlash, something new happened. Instead of laughs, or snickers, or dismissal, I was suddenly receiving a tidal wave of support, acceptance, and love. It was magical and infectious. Coming back at me was only support and advice, positivity and understanding. I never felt let down, unwelcome, not good enough. I only felt empowered, and I wanted to make other women feel this way too. You know that sang...something along the lines of "Surround yourself with the people you want to be."? That's exactly what happened. I surrounded myself with these crazy talented, confident, badass women, and I started to feel like I was crazy talented, confident, and badass. They were amazing, and being around them was empowering and addicting. I had found my ladies, my tribe.
We all grow up in one way or another and mature at our own pace. I suppose, as I made my own way into adulthood, that's what I had failed to realize. That glaring difference from then and now. We all grow. From catty girls to adult women. Nobody is the same person we knew 10 years ago; not even ourselves. We mature mentally. The spite and judgement toward others seem to melt away. For some, it's replaced by the need to support and understand their fellow woman. And if you can find a group of women who will provide you with this, that's all you really need.
Find Your Ladies
So, I'm going to stumble through this, but here's what I'm trying to get at. Make the effort. Find your ladies. No. Not the ones who passive aggressively bring you down but you keep around anyway just so you can have some girls to call friends to go to brunch with on Sunday. Stop that. Find the ladies who click with you. They are out there. I promise. I promise you on my dog's life. MY DOG’S LIFE. Trust me. If I can find some ladies that click with me, you can do it too. Have your own back, build yourself up, be an always confident version of you. But don't discount anyone immediately just because they are a female. It's scary, it's hard, but it's so rewarding. Find your ladies. Find your gang. Make it a priority. Not all girls are the same, and I bet there is at least one out there who just gets you. Hell, they may even be someone from your past who you've grown distant from. Grab coffee, reconnect. But when you finally find the lady who would rather join you biking or playing video games or whatever you're into, rather than go dancing or watch the Bachelor (wtf Arie, ammi right?) or whatever you're not into, you're going to finally get what I'm stumbling over trying to say.
Women are badass, each and every one of us, and when you find the ones who you can mesh with don't take them for granted. Be positive. Empower each other. As women, it is our duty and our unspoken promise to each other to ensure we all succeed, because when one of us triumphs, we all triumph. We are all in this together. *Cue Troy Bolton solo*
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them. (Only if you want to tho) ;)
Happy belated International Women's Day! (which should be everyday)
PS. To all of my girlfriends out there, thank you for sticking with me. You are the (very) few and far between females who have stuck with weird little old me, kept be grounded, made me laugh, and always make me feel empowered. You will never understand how grateful I am for your friendship and support everyday, whether it's been for 2 or 20 years.
Thank you for being you. YAS GIRLS +
Did this all make sense? It's my first blog post so if it didn't....it'll get better I promise.