Very early in grade school, I encountered my first mean girl. Every time I saw her she’d call me ‘skinny bones.’ She teased me about my weight, or lack thereof, and then would laugh like it was the funniest thing in the world.
At some point she left my school. I didn’t miss her. Her name was Jamie.
For years I was very self-conscious about my overall body image as a result of her behavior and ruthless teasing. Fast forward to high-school. One day out of the blue, a girl came up to my locker VERY excited to see me.
It was Jamie.
I had a moment of rage. So much so, that I couldn’t talk to her. Instead, I turned around and walked away, never to see her again. In hindsight, I could tell that she had no recollection of how she’d treated me when we were young.
Did you know? Events that happen to you when you are young, stay with you. They may never fully go away because they morph into who you are and become part of your story, a chapter from a certain point in time. Even if you’ve dealt with the situation, it’s still there. Your experiences always shape who you later become. As a grown adult today, I can still feel the exact feelings of how her behavior towards me, made me feel.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because, unbeknownst to me at that time, it was a pivotal moment. That ‘skinny bones’ little girl had no clue at 7 years old, what that experience would mean to her today.
Am I glad it happened? No. But it’s because of that and a handful of other similar experiences, that I am where I am, today. And for that, dear reader, I am very grateful.
This is a BIG week for me. It’s launch week for my book, ‘Behind Frenemy Lines: Rising Above Female Rivalry To Be Unstoppable Together.’ Behavior that I’d witnessed at work over 15 years ago, turned into an idea for research, which turned into my PhD dissertation, which turned into more research, which is now a published book.
Not only have I witnessed female rivalry behavior targeted towards other women, I’ve also experienced this insidious behavior, head on. Experiencing it was one of the best, worst-things that could’ve happened to me. One of my biggest pain points became my biggest source of purpose. And from that, I knew I had to be an advocate for other women. To publicize this intangible, frequently not talked about behavior.
Even though I’m now an adult woman... Inside, I still feel like that young girl in grade school, that tween in middle school, the teen at high school graduation, that college girl figuring out her path in life, that young lady on her first day of her new corporate job, that new mother with an infant.
Inside, it’s still the same me who’s been on this crazy ride, every step of the way. That skinny little girl is still there. She’s been there for every milestone, every new beginning and every ending. All ages, stages, and phases of her have helped shape me to who I am today. It’s her story. My story. Our story. It’s all of these experiences in my life that have helped me to truly know and understand who I am. She would not be who she is, inside there (also) learning too.
So hot damn, Skinny Bones! You’ve come a long way, baby.
And now, because of all of my experiences and research on this topic, I’m on a mission to free the world from frenemies. My hope with my book, “Behind Frenemy Lines” is that we’re able to overcome this negative behavior and promote a sisterhood of support and collaboration.
If businesses can change their corporate culture so that this behavior isn’t tolerated --- and the elephant in the boardroom swept under the rug, so that the workplace is an equitable environment for all women. If my message can inspire women in social settings to put their guard down and get to know each other as real people, to be allies instead of adversaries.
Then I’ve won.
And let me tell you! I can’t wait to see this wave of change happen – so that more women begin to empower and lift each other up, versus tear down. Are you ready to join me?
You already are. It’s time to be. ♥️
P.S. Stay tuned for my next blog out next week that will resume with part II of a 3-part series about mean girls and coping.