What Mean Girls Really Think: Confessions of a HS Bully

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Self-esteem means self-respect. Self-acceptance. Um…self-confidence. Knowing yourself. Knowing your weaknesses and your strengths and striving to manipulate them to serve you best.

Presenting an image is important. Like big time. You portray this image to the world of what you WANT to be. The image that you put out to everyone else is what you ASPIRE to become, not necessarily what you already are.

My mom pushes me hard to be the best. She’s like a total Asian tiger mom. I love her but it’s stressful sometimes. I have high expectations for myself too. I think I should be good at everything. Like I’m not the best at math but I would never admit to that. You wouldn’t hear me talking about how I had a math tutor and stuff. Since I wanted all As and I’m kind of dumb at precalc, I dropped it and went to the easy math. Now I’m one of the best in that class. I’ve maintained that image of perfection.

Me and my friends all have high expectations of each other as well. They’re tough on me and I’m tough on them. Like I’ll ask a girl, “Are you really going to where that to my party?” ‘Cause I don’t want her to give me and my friends a bad name. Or if a girl is slutting around, we let her know. We’re not exactly nice about it. We’re like, “You’re acting like a desperate hoe, so stop. Otherwise you’re not hanging out with us.” We gang up on her, like five on one.

We totally have each other’s back, just not in the nicest way.

Bullying IS real. It’s like the bitchy girl talking to the freshman, saying: “Why would you wear shorts ice skating? It’s cold in there.” And it’s true. Like, why would you? That’s what makes the bully so likeable. She’s totally honest. She’s not making it up; she’s just telling the truth and it’s funny.

I was given a hard time when I was a freshman too. Like every freshman, I was totally retarded. But I learned from that good hazing not to be dumb, how to have street smarts, what to wear or not wear, how to coast through high school, stuff like that.

So if you’re a freshman girl making out with your boyfriend in front of the school, you’re going to get shit for that. That’s honestly unacceptable. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to get bullied for doing stupid stuff.

And if you’re one of the strange girls wearing strange clothes, you’re going to get shit for that too. Like, the one who walked out of the locker room to go to a concert wearing a black tulle tutu thing. I mean, come on. A black tutu?

And me and my friends were like: That outfit is offensive. You need to change.

And she was like: Assholes.

And we were like: No. We have your back. If you walked down the street like this it’d be bad.

Don’t get me wrong, even the weird girls are perfectly nice. We just don’t hang out with them. You’ll often hear me and my girlfriends say that we don’t hang out with ugly people either, which is a really mean thing to say when you think about it. Like that’s a REALLY mean thing to say. But it’s kinda true. I don’t spend a lot of time with people who are, um…yeah. Ugly. It’s not like I’m trying to be a total bitch about it. It’s just that’s not who I find myself with.

Some girls may try hard to be the better person, but when the doors close in the locker room, they’re still like, “What the hell? Did you see what she was wearing?”

Excerpt from my upcoming book: Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image. 

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FOMO: Do You Have It?

Quick — do you know what your friends are doing right now?  As you read this, are you waiting for the ping of a new text coming in?  Are you hooked on Twitter, Instagram and FB? If so, you may suffer from FOMO.

FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, has recently been identified as a phenomenon not only in the US, but worldwide (as this story about teens in South Africa and teens in India shows) and those in the “millennial generation.”  It has become such a widespread trend that this past summer Kotex even used it as a theme in its new marketing campaign citing that “94% of girls experience FOMO.”  Suffering from FOMO means constantly checking Facebook status updates and other social media sites and feeling that other people are always doing something better than whatever you’re doing.  FOMO can leave you feeling sad, left out or boring.
As social media seeps into every corner of our lives, more studies have emerged chronicling the ways in which its effects can be negative.  Generally speaking, fractured attention and lack of ability to focus are seen as the offshoots of too much online time.  But going online to “compare and despair” by reading friends’ news-feeds and then getting the sense that you’re not attending the hottest parties or having the best time can be damaging to your self-esteem, never-mind that it paints a false picture.

We all know how easy it is to leave out the bad parts when we tell a friend an anecdote about what we did last weekend. It’s deceptively simple to only post your best Instagram photo or share the night’s funniest 10 second moment in a cute tweet.  On some level, we know that’s not the whole story.  But if you’re stuck doing homework when everyone else seems to be partying, it’s impossible to not feel a stab of regret or envy.

While detaching from social media sites (at least for an hour at a time, if not longer) can help, it isn’t the entire answer. Don’t let FOMO make you feel that your choice to be with family or even have a night to yourself is less cool.  Sometimes finishing up a long homework project, practicing an instrument or cleaning your room is necessary and will feel worthwhile in the end.  So much about social media reinforces instant gratification.  Work now to identify what you value most so that FOMO doesn’t make you her slave!

Say NO to FOMO’s siren call. Don’t sleep with the phone by your side or computer on.  Try to avoid getting stressed because of what someone else claims to be doing. Don’t let it make you feel less than.  Create your own priorities and take the time for the things important to you. Breathe deeply when you feel anxious and don’t let your sense of validation come from the story you put up on your Facebook page or twitter feed.  Reframe “missing out” as “doing what I want to do” and realize how good that feels.  Don’t forget… YOLO 🙂