Who I used to be is in no way who I am today. Quite a bold statement to make but there is a key shift that happened to me, that creates a very stark contrast between who I used to be and who I am now. There wasn’t a key event that marked this, rather it was a series of thoughts and hearing different viewpoints that brought this shift upon.
When I was in high school, at an all-girl school, the obvious conversations and comments of cattiness or judgment was something that became part of our everyday language towards one another.
It was only in my last year of high school that the way I viewed other girls around me changed. We had to take an ethics class, which was thought by my teacher who was a proud feminist. She introduced us to the concept of feminism, and to the world outside of this private all-girls school privilege we had grown up in. I am forever grateful for her in my life because it was sitting through her classes that I realized that the way I thought about others around me was so deeply ingrained in me and society. I viewed girls as the competition, I judged them unfairly, I brought them down and was rough in the words I would use to talk about or with them.
But sitting in that ethics class, I realized just the type of person I had become, and I was in no way okay with this. From those moments on, I started becoming more conscious of how I talk about other girls and women and how my words can have a huge impact on them. I also noticed that the way I was, was just how everyone around me was being, but thanks to that class that started to change.
The culture in our school changed with that class, with how we were with one another, and the support that outpoured among us. I met a new group of people, immediately noticed the amount of support they had for one another, how willing they were to give of themselves to the people that cared about them, and how they stood up for what is right. This isn’t to say that this was new for me, but in terms of the girl culture I grew up in, it’s very different. I grew up with the idea that I always had to be better than someone else, I had to know more, look more put together, and always give off the illusion that my life was perfect. They were unapologetically themselves, and they mixed so well together. Thinking about this now, it seems actually amazing.
Now looking back on my high school days, I don’t blame myself for being that way it’s the only thing I knew, its how I was raised. I am just happy that I caught on that living that way or seeing girls in that light was never going to advance myself.
I am proud to say that now I am none of those things. I have learned that the only person I am competing with is myself, and not other girls. I do my absolute best to support my friends and their dreams, and make sure to do whatever I can to help. I try to refrain from talking bad about girls. I try to do a lot of things, but it takes time and effort, and in no way does it happen overnight.
The moral of this long-winded story is that the way we grew up talking and being around girls and women, is no longer the same. The tables have turned, and now more than ever we see girls supporting girls in more ways than imaginable. Support women, encourage them, help them and never bring them down. The key to switching the narrative that society has had for so long is that we need to take steps (even small steps) to change how we view and talk about other girls and women. This narrative can change and it needs to.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day!