Have you ever called someone fake? Has anyone ever called you fake? What was implied in either of those situations by the word “fake”? There are a lot of definitions that may come to mind for you, but I think we can all agree that being called fake is an insult. When I think of the word fake, I think about a lot of celebrities that have been deemed as such based on whether or not they’ve had plastic surgeries or how they treat their “friends”, such as the Real Housewives or the Kardashians. In the words of Dej Loaf, “Let’s just be honest; let’s just be real!”
If you ask the closest of my close friends, they’ll tell you that I can sometimes seem fake! I know, I know, “Gigi, you hypocrite, how are you supposed to write about being fake if you’re fake yourself?” Let me explain. I don’t like conflict. I’m a people pleaser, meaning, I like for everyone to get along (with me) and I don’t like causing trouble or drama with others, especially other women. There were instances in college where I’ve smiled and acted like I was friends with girls that I really didn’t care for simply to avoid conflict or beef with her. I would smile in her face, take selfies with her, go out and party with her, and then trash talk her behind her back. That’s being fake! I’m not proud of these moments, but it’s important to recognize your errors so that you can improve as a person. As a slightly older adult, especially in the workplace, if I have an issue with someone, I don’t give them any of my energy, negative or positive. I’ve realized that there’s no point in feigning friendships with people I dislike. I may say “Good morning” when I pass them, just to be polite, but that’s about it. In order to maintain a sense of realness with others and myself, I’m no longer going out of my way to be best buddies with people I don’t like. And you shouldn’t feel like you have to be best friends with everyone either. There are some people you won’t click with, and that’s okay because that’s part of life, but don’t feel obligated to be extra friendly to that person. Certainly don’t be rude, but learn to be okay with being neutral with others. You can be cordial, mature, polite, but also neutral; this prevents you from coming across as fake.
Another point I want to make is about being fake/real with yourself. In society and mainstream media we see so many campaigns encouraging teens and young people to “Be Yourself!” While that’s a great message, it’s being preached much more than practiced and time and time again, I’ve seen so many young people doing things that they wouldn’t normally do just to fit in with the “in crowd”. And it’s not always bad things! Sometimes it’s just pretending that you’re interested in certain music or TV shows because other people are. Or it’s dressing a certain way that you’re not comfortable with because everyone else is. By doing things like this, you’re trying to be someone else and not your authentic, amazing self! It’s okay to try to expand your interests or hobbies, but if you’re doing it just because you want other people to like you, you won’t be happy and you may even get a reputation for being fake. GASP!
Everyone wants to be liked, of course, but it’s important to remember that people value integrity and genuineness in others! People will like you for you because odds are, you’re probably pretty great!
We ALL deal with negative thoughts! Every last one of us has had a time when our minds were infiltrated with pure negativity and self-doubting nonsense. Even the most confident of individuals still deal with negative thoughts because sometimes we truly can’t help what pops into our heads, but it’s how we handle them that is important! I want to share how I handle my own personal negative Nancy that occasionally likes to drop by to bother me and bring me down.
I always like to keep it real with my readers because I feel like honesty and transparency are both important qualities in a blogger. Obviously I’m not perfect; I’m still human and as a human, especially in our American and western society, I deal with self-doubting and negativity all the time. I’d be lying if I said I completely had my mind under control and that my faith in God was always 100% and that my self-assurance was perfectly in tact. Truth be told, throughout college, my negative thoughts were a lot more powerful than they should’ve been and with all of the activities and classes I was engaged in, I didn’t have the necessary tools to combat them. It wasn’t until close to my senior year and after graduation that I was able to deal with my thoughts and respond healthily.
All through high school, I was so self-doubting with my intelligence, and to an extent, today I still am, but I’m starting to realize that I’m actually pretty smart. Growing up, I was so scared of failure that I would refuse to study, so that if I did fail, I could blame my failures on my lack of studying and not my lack of intellect. I felt like everyone was always getting A+’s on their tests and I wasn’t. Everyone was getting into Ivy League colleges and I wasn’t (though I was close). I had to stop comparing myself to others in order to recognize my own individual intelligence and flourish the way I should’ve been!
If you know me at all, you know that I’m a decently unique individual. I talk in funny voices, make silly faces, and can definitely seem awkward when first meeting people, but underlying all of that is a desire to bring joy and laughter to others. There have been times when my negative thoughts have prevented my true personality from shining because I’ve been self-conscious about how I come across to others. As an adult, I’ve learned to embrace my weirdness because it’s part of what makes me, ME! My goofy and warm personality has helped get me jobs, a date or two and the great friends that I have and have had and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
My biggest source of negative thoughts has come in a more superficial form surrounding my looks and body. Obviously, there is an overwhelming societal pressure for women to look a certain way and it’s promoted just about everywhere. I’ve already written about society’s unrealistic beauty ideals and how they have negatively impacted my thoughts and actions in the past, but I want to share how I’ve been able to overcome much of it. For me, prayer is a priority. I spent many nights praying for God to show me the beauty that He has placed within me, and praying that I would see myself the way that He sees me. On top of that, I had to stop comparing myself to others and embrace the way that God made me because He made me and YOU beautiful! A slim percentage of people legitimately fit into society’s beauty norms, but we ALL fit into God’s beauty norms because we were made in His image.
Negative thoughts will come; it would be irresponsible of me to say that you’ll never experience self-doubt, but if you’re able to separate negativity from positive truths, they won’t be a problem. Don’t compare yourself to anyone but the best version of yourself and embrace and love YOU!
This past Sunday, I was at the Kevin Hart show in Philly laughing/crying my eyes out, having a blast, but when I returned home, I realized that I had missed the VMAs (again). I’m not usually one for award shows; it’s always the same thing: someone said or did something ridiculous, someone wore something weird, the usual. One of this year’s biggest topics, at least on social media, was Nicki Minaj’s “clapback” to Miley Cyrus’ negative comments towards her. Now I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of the Minaj/Cyrus debate, because that will be an entire dissertation on feminism, but I do want to talk in general about how women/girls treat other women/girls in this society.
It should be no secret that America was built on patriarchy and misogyny (amongst other things), meaning that women have been known to be mistreated and demeaned by men. But in many socio-cultural circles, it is actually women that tear down other women. Whether it be through language, attitude or behavior, many women tend to bring down their fellow women when they should really be supporting each other. We judge each other on our bodies, hair, romantic partner choices, expressions of sexuality, you name it, a lot of us do it! And I would be lying if I said that I haven’t done it in the past. I’ve used degrading words to describe my fellow women and I’ve shamed other women for their behaviors and I feel awful for that!
“You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.”
The quote above comes from Tina Fey’s character, Ms. Norbury, in Mean Girls after she discovers the infamous Burn Book and presents it to the junior girls. While this line went over my head in 2004 when I was 12, as I grew older it began to resonate with me more as I heard my peers calling each other all types of negative names. And in a society that already devalues women, calling each other “sluts” or “b****es” further fuels misogynistic views and behaviors. I’ve learned that when watching a video on YouTube, I should refrain from reading the comments section because it’s usually a batch of trolls trying to get a rise out of people. But what saddens me the most is that so many of the legitimate (negative) comments on videos featuring women in almost any capacity are those from other women! Recently I was watching a video of a woman doing her makeup, and too many of the comments were from women shaming her for what she chose to put on her face, and these were the more mild of the commentary.
Whether it be in Hollywood or your neighborhood, we need to do a better job of supporting our fellow women. Most men won’t do it because society hasn’t fostered many of them yet, so it is up to us, as women, to build one another up with our words and actions. We are our only allies, and we should be trying our best to instill confidence into each other and empower one another. Love thy fellow woman, my fellow women!