Let me preface this blog post with an apology. I have not written a piece, especially relating to coming of age and thoughts, in years. But, a topic comes about and rattles in my brain for a few weeks, and there are only so many seconds allowed on an Instagram story.
I only heard the term “girls’ girl” in the past few years. I think it’s a newer era, which is considerably odd as “independence,” “bravery,” and “voting” have been on the spectrum of Cosmo articles for decades. No, a girls’ girl… Let’s start with the Urban Dictionary definition:
“A girl who has respect for female etiquette. A girl who is not petty and strives to be ethical and decent in her dealings with her female friends.”
This seems fairly simple a definition, maybe most of us would appeal to this definition.
But, I think vulnerability engages vulnerability, I myself, I probably wasn’t in the true form a “girls’ girl” until my later twenties, and now more firm in my stance at 30.
I think many of us, young or old, as women, have probably been tortured, manipulated, or even shamed by none other than other women. Maybe starting as young as elementary education. Dealing with bullying as a young child, over my poverty, clothes, and awkwardness, I found myself abstaining from female friendships. How dangerous and cruel these creatures were, and probably in addition to a lack of presence from my actual father, leaned into these friendships with men for what I now recognize as some validation. At the time, it wasn’t even a dangerous affair, I simply preferred to hang with the boys. There were a few female friendships, but I didn’t feel that I “fit” in with women.
In my earliest blog posts, I began to recognize some of that weakness, that need for validation in relationships. I think you can find some of those vulnerability posts. You know, personally if I “braked for birds, and rocked a lot of polka dots” It didn’t make me less smart or strong, I could pursue my dreams in my own way, and that was fine, if not a beautiful experience of life to undergo. There are hardships, and awkwardness, and sometimes you miss a goal and toss the ball in the wrong basket, but it’s part of the experience.
Then, now a little more secure in what I’ve accomplished and where I am, I am reflecting that my experience, while it was my own experience, it was part of the “female experience.”
We need female friendship, I almost consider the comradery and familial support like a demographic of race or religion. And I do think I’m beginning to lean on a little more of an extremist side, but you need me to balance out the other side so keep following. We need to support each other for the sake of protecting our experiences.
“I” am going to cheer on my girls. Go out there, be brave, and follow your dreams, if you feel a little silly, I’m not here to critique, I’m going to shake my invisible pom poms and let you know you’re supported.
So let me provide some examples of non “girls girl” behavior.
My friend, love her, but on the spectrum of studies every decision for weeks to take two seconds to jump, she takes three seconds. (And you know what, as a friend she is the most loyal and down girl) A senior to her position, has for months plagued her with passive-aggressive comments for her nature. Now, I, we both actually, pay coaches (horses) to yell at us for a living, but outside of this, I don”t really see who else other than maybe my mother has a right to dictate my lifestyle. These “passive-aggressive” comments, they’re not coming from a place of coaching her, or to improve a character flaw. No, they’re belittling her so that the speaker can feel secure in her own position. Because if my friend is unlike “her,” then maybe “her” isn’t validated/secure. Now this simply isn’t true. We can co-exist, one taking weeks and another with a “flighty” nature and both be intelligent, strong, and supportive. I could even relate in my less secure phases, feeling almost worse when someone else succeeded! What a dangerous state.
Then, and this one touched home a little bit, another friend’s friend has jumped from man to man within their friend group. And to be fair, if you have 5 eligible men in a room, might as well talk to them all to see if you like one. But, to the detriment of a friendship, to the point of letting down or prioritizing a simple drinking game with a potential mate to supporting a lifelong friend on her wedding day…. He’s going to be there in an hour.
For me, I think if I look back at my own twenties, one of my regrets is not investing in my female friendships. And, it wasn’t about just investing in friendships that weren’t healthy, to be frank, at this point If I don’t feel like you’re a girls girl, I don’t trust you. I don’t trust you with my friends or myself. But, I don’t think I was so supportive of other females for the sake of solidarity and this shared experience we have together.
I’ve found, at least in the past few years, a deeper friendship and comradery in supporting the women around me, aligning myself with women who are likewise supportive of my own experience, and of others. Whether we are married, single, at different life stages, can cheer each other on.
I’m no better than the aggressors above, probably just older and still single so I have time to think about these things. But, I think the turning point for me came by accident when secure women extended the olive branch and cheered me on first. It was such a different experience than maybe my earlier friendships which felt more like a competition. It kind of sparked a truth that you can cheer on someone at a completely different life stage, pursuing an entirely different lifestyle without feeling inferior. Actually, cheering on someone else’s accomplishments …. the best.