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Were you a victim of mean girls?

Last year in our private Live Free facebook group, a woman who came with us to Sonoma in October posted this:

I just want to say, I love this bright, fun, girlie excitement and energy on this page so much. My roomies (and decidedly new friends) and I were just discussing how just the experience of finding roommates, realizing there’s like-minded women out there who we now get to spend the whole weekend with!! is very comforting. Sarah and Nisha, do you feel like proud mother birds watching their children start to fly the way you always knew we could?? I haven’t done any “work” yet and I feel as though I’ve already come so far! It’s taken me a little while and I was a little worried, but I’m finally genuinely so excited about this retreat! Loves!

What followed was a long list of responses saying things like, “I was so nervous to sign up” and “I’ve never felt like I’ve been truly accepted by women before this group”.

It got me thinking: it’s such a shame that women rarely feel comfortable and safe around each other. Why is that?

During one summer when I was 8 years old, there was a group of girls who sold lemonade outside of the ice cream store in a small summer community on Fire Island, NY where my family went every summer.   They sold it for $1 – steep for lemonade but people would pay anything when there were three sweet little girls peddling.

I wanted so desperately to join them, to feel included, but they were the “cool girls” and even at that age I knew to keep my distance.

So being the entrepreneur that I was, I set up my own shop.  I collected beautiful shells from the beach and made earrings, pins and necklaces out of them.  I set up a little table, a whole block from the lemonade stand and sold my jewelry for $5 a piece.  Within the first hour, I had quite the crowd and was selling out quickly.

The girls from the lemonade stand came over to see what all the fuss was about, I was so excited to show them my jewelry and to bond with my fellow saleswomen.  I even had ideas of us working together.

They just scowled at my display, and in a flash, ran away with my bike… laughing loudly.

I was shocked and confused, why would they take my bike away?  But I had customers to handle so I decided to deal with it later.

After about twenty minutes, the girls returned my bike, and as I was about to get on it after packing up my wagon, I discovered that they had covered the handlebars and pedals in dog poop.

I was so embarrassed, incredibly sad and mostly shocked. What did I do!? How could they be so mean?

My mother explained to me that some people get jealous of others who shine brightly, of people who are confident, or who come up with better business plans, like my shell jewelry.  And they will do anything, including covering your bike in dog poop, to take you down a notch so they can feel better about themselves.

As I grew up, there were always people who applauded my successes, but the moments of the kids chanting “SUMO! SUMO! SUMO!” as I got on the bus or girls coming up to my dance partners in Cotillion asking, “why are you dancing with her?” stood out a whole lot more.

So I learned to be cautious, to play small, to assume that no one at a party or at my new school was going to like me until I convinced them otherwise.  I went through life assuming that I was guilty of being terribly uncool until proven innocent.

And then I realized that I was holding on to 30 extra pounds because it was “safer”.  I was holding back from growing my business because it was “safer”.  And I kept my few successes close to my chest to not rock the boat.  Because I had a belief that if I was beautiful and successful, the mean girls would put dog poop on my bike.

I went through life feeling like no one really “got me”, like I had all of these talents and so much to give but no one cared and I had no place to put it.

Do you ever feel like that?

I became so uncomfortable in my body, my business was struggling and I was just ready to explode that I had to do something about it.  I decided to find women that were going to love and support me no matter how thin, successful or confident I became and the rest can take a hike. Tweet it.

I have to tell you, there is nothing more freeing than finding a community of women who cheer you on when you want to ask for a promotion, when you vow to make six figures this year, when you dedicate yourself to having the most amazing relationship, when you show up looking radiant and they stare at you in joyful, accepting awe.

Go find them.

And if you don’t know where to look, you may want to consider coming to LIVE FREE Sonoma.

No one in the group says, “no one ever has sex after 15 years, get over it”, “do you really need that much money?”, “I can’t believe that bitch lost 20 pounds, she’ll gain it all back in a week”.

If you’ve been holding back from signing up because you’re nervous, if you have some voices in your head saying, “it’s just going to feel like high school again, no one’s going to like me”, “I’m going to be the oldest one there”, “I’m not going to know anyone”, “I really should lose twenty pounds before I go”.

None of that is true.  You just have to get over it and sign your ass up!

Here’s the honest truth: your body, career, lifestyle and relationship is not where you want it to be because YOU are deliberately holding yourself back, so you don’t get covered in proverbial dog poop.

The only way to get out of your own way is to start hanging out with a group of women who finally “get you”.

You can learn the theory of weight loss, relationships, or ease until the cows come home, but if are living in fear of how the “mean girls” are going to judge you, then you’re never going to change.

At LIVE FREE we are promising a complete transformation by having you experience our deepest and most ground breaking work in a community of the most loving, supportive and applauding women.

The members are already making friends and cheering each other on in our private LIVE FREE facebook group and they can’t wait to meet you.

If you’ve been a victim of mean girls, you’re letting them win by playing small.  It’s time to really step it up, and we’d love to help you do that.

You can read all about the retreat and sign up here: LiveFreeRetreat.com.  We really hope you’ll join us.

Love,

Sarah

7 Comments

  1. Celine · April 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm · Reply

    Hi Sarah,
    You’ve done it again. Your post really struck a chord with me. Never one of the “popular girls” growing up I too danced to my own beat; I even had a jewelry business too although I used Fimo clay for mine. The point is, I was and am unique. Being myself has served me well but connecting with other like me is bliss. Hope to see you in Sonoma. Is there surfing near by? XO CG

    • Sarah Jenks · May 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm · Reply

      Celine! Can’t wait to meet in Sonoma at the retreat :)

      Bailey, one of last year’s attendees is our surf queen. She is active in the LIVE FREE Online Event FB group and I’m sure she might have the best insights for you!

      xo,
      Sarah

  2. Sarah · April 29, 2014 at 3:37 pm · Reply

    Hi Sarah – This is a sweet post and I loved it so thank you for writing it. One thing that came to mind is that I sometimes feel like a mean girl myself. I would absolutely never put dog poop on a bike, I have great girlfriends whom I support through everything and I truly wish the best for, but sometimes, when I least expect it, I hear my inner dialogue say something like “that girl looks like she is trying too hard” or “weirdo” when I see a radiant woman wearing a wild outfit.

    ‘m kind of ashamed that I ever think that and part of me thinks I feel inauthentic to this whole idea of a sisterhood retreat if deep inside me thoughts creep up that I recognize are mean. My guess is I feel envious of them and it’s ingrained in me to think mean thoughts because like you I remember what it’s like to be around mean girls. Does anyone else feel that way? Do you? And if so how can I train myself not to think like that? It’s not who I want to be. Thanks!

    • Becky · May 1, 2014 at 7:17 am · Reply

      Sarah, you are not alone–I often feel that way, too! It’s a particular version of the voice inside my head that I really don’t like, and the same one that often pops up in my thoughts to offer SELF-criticism, which can be even more debilitating. I’m not sure if there’s a way to completely stop those kinds of thoughts, but I have noticed that I’m much less likely to think bad things about myself or others if I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep and am not hungry at the moment. It might sound silly, but I think it’s really key to try to keep those factors in check, and go easy on yourself if you’re having thoughts like that when you’re really tired or hungry–it’s not a reflection of your best self. However, recently I’ve also tried deliberately putting myself in the other person’s shoes by asking myself a neutral question or making a positive comment about them in my head (for example, if I’m mad at another driver on the road, I ask myself where they might be in such a hurry to go and whether they might be elderly; if I’ve criticized another woman’s appearance in my head, I might not to myself that I do like the color of her tights or the style of her bag). These little things help me a lot, but I still have a long way to go.

      • Becky · May 1, 2014 at 7:18 am · Reply

        *note to myself

  3. Sarah Jenks · May 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm · Reply

    Great, great response Becky!

    Love this conversation, Sarah!

    When you find these thoughts creeping in, check in with yourself and see what you need in that moment to take care of yourself.

    Let us know how this goes for you over the next few days!

    • Sarah · May 6, 2014 at 10:40 pm · Reply

      Thanks Becky and Sarah. This post led me to have some conversations with women in my life that I am very thankful for… the women and the conversations! I’ve come to realize that everyone I know can relate to what I posted about. And I totally agree with you Becky that if we aren’t nice to ourselves (with rest and healthy food etc) it become really tough to be nice to others. The only other thing I want to add for anyone on the interwebs who may be reading this, it’s really okay and not actually something to be ashamed of. If your brain pops up with some negativity about yourself or someone else you shouldn’t feel embarrassed. Listen. You aren’t a mean, hurtful, or negative person so if you are thinking these things then take it as a cue that something else is going on. The shameful thing is rubbing poop on someone else’s bike. Thanks for the insight ladies. Much love!

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