Girls can be just awful to each other, can’t they? Gossip, rumors, insults. It’s terrible. Girls have a way of tearing you down with a single look, a death glare. And for some, that’s just what it leads to: death. If you asked a crowd of girls to raise their hand if another girl had ever said something bad about them or been affected by their words in a negative way, every girl would raise her hand. But then if you said “raise your hand if any of you have said anything bad about another girl or said things that affected another in a negative way” every girl would still have her hand up. It’s a cruel world.
It’s girl world.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a presentation given by Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson, the two women who founded the Kind Campaign. The auditorium was filled with the pledge classes of the sororities on campus, or as some would say: the queens of girl world. We were able to watch Finding Kind, the documentary of Lauren and Molly’s cross-country road trip to spread the word about girl-on-girl bullying. I was moved to tears.
This is such an important issue in the world today. Girls can be so cruel to each other, even their friends. It’s just awful. I know I’m not innocent, either. We never realize how much what we say can affect other people. A girl can commit suicide because she was bullied, and everyone would mourn, saying how beautiful and loved she was, but obviously, she didn’t feel that way. Something was wrong. That girl was murdered by the words said to her and about her.
And they say words can never hurt you.
Lauren and Molly shared their stories with all of us, and I was moved. I hadn’t necessarily been through their situations, but I knew what they were feeling. Lauren confessed about her depression and eating disorder and suicidal thoughts. That was me not too long ago. That is still me sometimes.
And it doesn’t stop. Even grown women are cliquey and mean to each other. And then their children are the same way to each other. This is how we are raising our children. When I grow up, I want nothing more than for my daughter–or any of my children–to ever feel the way I felt. I wish I could protect them from the cruelness of caddy gossip. I wish I could shield them from the power mean words have. I couldn’t live with myself if one of my children goes through that, especially to the extent that I did.
I wish bullying didn’t exist. I wish no one ever felt worthless or meaningless. I wish depression wasn’t a feeling. I wish there was no such thing as an eating disorder. I can wish all of these things, but it doesn’t mean anything unless I do something about it.
I took a kindness pledge. It’s not much, but it’s a start. I can’t make promises to like everyone, but I can be nice. Being nice is not the same thing as being fake.
This is a promise I can stick to, especially because of how happy I am here. I love smiling at people now.
We also wrote apologies. This was tough for me. Not because it was an apology, but because I wasn’t quite sure who I should apologize to first. Myself? Past friends? My mother? My ex? My relationship with all of these people was affected by my lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. Finally, I picked someone.
I don’t know if she will ever see this, but Lauren and Molly told us to get our apology to the person we wrote it to somehow. I will probably text her this today because of the way we left things. Or the way things are.
I happy I got to have this experience and see the documentary. Bullying is a serious issue, not just in girl world. One step at a time, I want to make this world a better place, be nicer to people. That’s the first thing, right? Just be nice, smile. Don’t be rude or disrespectful, no matter how you feel about the person. It’s not worth it, I promise.
One day, I hope “girl world” has a better definition and connotation. Because imagine that world. Imagine happiness. I believe it can happen and I will work every day to make that change possible.
Kindly, A 🙂