Many of us adored Mean Girls the movie and perhaps some of us actually embodied them in our everyday lives growing up.
I'm definitely guilty of being "personally victimized," in addition to doing my fair share of victimizing during my childhood. It was in those moments that we continued to naively fight our way to the top of the cruel food chain known as high school, that we ultimately realized Cady Heron had some major points about high school.
Particularly her parallels to the jungle.
These friendships are naively protected under girl code all throughout our childhood despite how toxic they are. And quiet as it's kept, true mean girls don't grow out of it, they simply become mean bitches. Period. But despite the fact that not all mean girls truly grow up, sometimes you do. Then and only then do you begin to see your "friendships" for what they were and still are if you haven't quite figured out how to let go.
Feeling obligated to uncomfortably grow into a friendship built on old bonds, while maintaining all of the stability of a game of Jenga is a growing pain I've battled with for some time and I'm just now learning how to deal.
The problem is that we've been socialized to normalize and, at times, romanticize toxic friendships and the bullying that sometimes occurs inside of them as if it were some type of prerequisite for life. Although it may not feel good, we tell ourselves that it's in the name of fun or that we're overthinking, ignoring the fact that those little slick comments are at our expense. We ultimately learn to chalk it up to the game from a young age.
But the thing is, there's nothing healthy about tolerating bullies at any age or in any setting.
The truth is, these friends have all of the qualities of that ex they warned you about but because intimacy doesn't occur within the confines of your bedroom, the abuse (yes, abuse!) that occurs within the relationship is difficult to identify. Not to mention, it isn't always as aloof as the "you can't sit with us" rhetoric but sometimes subtle and far more underhanded.
I've come to recognize the signs and acknowledge that their presence is a possibility in any type of relationship -- not remotely exclusive to our romantic lives. I've also come to understand that these types of friends are by far more difficult to quit because, as friends, they have been the necessary cheerleader in the darkest of hours. This makes it difficult to believe that they could possibly contribute to the gut-wrenching anxiety that draws that dark hour out even longer than intended.
These friendships last longer than they should because of the crippling thought of getting through (any and everything) without your girls feels lonely, even as it remains a simple thought. But, I'm living proof that if you can get through without them, without the friends who lift you up just to break you down, you will no doubt be better for it.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is nothing deeply philosophical, but short, direct, and certainly words to live by: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." And, if your friendships don't meet this most basic standard of respect, then it's high time you throw the whole damn friend away and get you some new ones, because they aren't worth it.
I often found myself wondering why some of my close friendships felt as devastating and heartbreaking as my relationships but with next to none of the fun perks that come with bare minimum fuckboys (that would be good dick and free meals for those of you wondering). It felt unnecessary and it was, but I subjected myself to it because of the aforementioned logic. I was told that I was overreacting despite being the butt of all jokes. All. The. Time. However, I was expected to finetune my telepathy skills so not to piss these very friends off in regards to their sensitivities or else there was hell to pay for me. After spending so much of the friendship walking on eggshells and changing to fit into their world without reciprocation, the friendship stopped being fun. I mean, seriously, if several grown ass women couldn't find any common grounds outside of gossip and playing the dozens to the extent of making one feel expendable.
There was absolutely no growth and as a result, there was no friendship.
This led me to begin to distance myself, but after having my feelings hurt one too many times, I decided to speak up about the situation. Instead of understanding, I was met with hostility, threats, and excuses asserting that I was spreading negative energy in my unwillingness to continuously be demeaned by my own friends.
I was enlightened, baffled, and grateful in the moment that I wholly received the message to let go.
Enlightened because not everyone is aware of others in a way that allows them to genuinely personify kindness. Enlightened in realizing that, even as adults, we haven't mastered some of the most elementary lessons and core values such as think before you speak. I was baffled by the thought that one could be so clueless as to denounce someone's feelings as childish and senseless, in a world where people commit suicide every single day because they simply felt misunderstood or unheard. I felt grateful because although I do suffer from a very mild depression at times, it has never left even a trace of a thought that ended my life would somehow be or feel better than my temporary loneliness.
There will be lonely days, but the more time you have with yourself, the more you realize that you can never feel as lonely as you felt in bad company. And eventually, you will make room for new friends who can meet you where you are and provide a symbiotic positivity that is so necessary if you're to continuously find growth in your personal, professional, and many other elements of your life.
The law of attraction is real.
When I met these girls, I was young and a long way from being my best self, so it wouldn't surprise me if someone said that I had once served up some of their same energy. I'm learning that you can only attract what you are; furthermore, you can only return the same energy that you're met with. We often can't see the similarities that we share with others that force us to gravitate to these particular people, but I'm now convinced that the "birds of a feather" theory was founded on the principles of energy as opposed to hobbies, geography, or style.
But, you know what? There's a reason I outgrew them and I like to believe it has everything to do with my spirit and overall energy shifting as I gain insight into what I am and who it is that I really wish to be.
That said, it's imperative that we fill our circles with a rainbow of energy that is a reflection of the type of love and joy that we seek out in our platonic relationships, as well as what we wish to exude from within.
Featured image by Shutterstock
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Motor City native, Atlanta living. Sagittarius. Writer. Sexpert. Into all things magical, mystical, and unknown. I'll try anything at least once but you knew that the moment I revealed that I was a Sag.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There are moments on our health journey when our bodies are bugging us to hit the reset button.
With life, we can start to see slips in our diet, irregular exercising, and inconsistent sleep schedules, and our mental health can suffer because of it. But what many people come to find is that with just a few adjustments — as opposed to restrictions — being made to their food intake, we can see a focus more on eating “the right” calories and less on being on a restrictive diet.
"Raw Till 4" is a dietary concept and lifestyle associated with the raw vegan and high-carb, low-fat vegan (HCLF) movements. Created by Australian blogger and YouTube star known as 'Freelee the Banana Girl', the method suggests eating raw, uncooked plant-based foods until 4 p.m. each day and then having a cooked, vegan meal in the evening.
The Raw Till 4 lifestyle follows the guidelines of vegan and rawist eating and involves consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains in an uncooked, natural state until the designated time of 4 p.m. or around one’s typical dinner time. After 4 p.m., a cooked vegan meal is consumed, which may include foods like steamed vegetables, grains, legumes, and plant-based sources of protein like tofu or tempeh.
On TikTok, creator Adina Yaffa is repopularizing the trend, sharing how it’s helped to improve digestion, boost energy levels, and support weight loss.
Replying to @🌜kat🌛 here is what I eat in a day on a raw till 4 lifestyle. I eat with the sun and according to the circadian rhythm that out bodies follow on a typical day. Where i drink liquids during the first 8 hours, then juicy fruits, then smoothies, more dense building fats, proteins and veggies! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass #rawtill4
“During the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body is in an elimination phase and needs all the help it can get,” Yaffa says in the clip. “So what you’re going to do is drink coconut water, citrus juices, and green juices during this time, and around 8 a.m., you can break your fast with some fruit. I suggest juicing fruits, and then after that, I suggest having a smoothie or a bowl with berries and granola so you can get your fats and healthy proteins in.”
Raw till 4 has so many benefits including better digestion, nutrients, belly fat and bloat elimination, snatched waist, more energy and so much more! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass
On the official Raw Till 4 website, Freelee the Banana Girl shares tips on how to get the best outcomes of this lifestyle change, which include:
- “Stay hydrated! You should pee about 8-12 times per day, and your urine should be clear. Drink 1 liter of water when you wake up in the morning, and 1 liter of water about 30 minutes before each meal for optimal results.”
- “Fragmented sodium (salt) should be kept to a minimum. Use herbs, lemon juice, etc. wherever possible in place of salt.”
- “Eat unlimited calories at every meal, no restriction. The majority of your calories each day should come from fruit. Don’t under-eat on fruit during the day or 'save up' your calories for dinner time. RT4 is about abundance at every meal.”
- “Move your body daily. Find an activity you love and make it your playful exercise.”
- “Make sure to get lots of rest, relaxation, and good sleep. Learning to incorporate good rest, early nights, and regular sleeping patterns into your life will greatly improve your overall health.”
- “Practice gratitude and peaceful emotions at mealtime, and get a vision book started! Be sure to enjoy this journey. Focus on long-term health instead of short-term results.”
Critics argue that it can be challenging to get all the necessary nutrients from a raw vegan diet and that it may not be suitable for everyone, especially over the long term.
As with any diet, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making significant dietary changes to ensure that it meets your individual nutritional needs and health goals.
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