The following piece was written by a tween, and I’m sharing it with her permission.
It demonstrates why I founded TIA Girl Club, and why I launched it on Kickstarter today. Tweens hide themselves to fit in — it’s called “camouflaging” —and in due course, they start to lose touch with who they really are. Visit our Kickstarter to see our launch product, a box subscription that delivers a powerful female role model each month to help inspire and empower our girls to preserve their authentic voices.
Diary entry of a tween girl
Samantha had done hers; same with Kristen. They made diaries. I read them (they let me). They were really, really, good. They flowed really well, and they were just expressions of who they were, what they were. So I decided I had to make one, too.
I guess that says something about me right away. I’m a conformer. I try to conform to people’s standards and ideas about me, what I’m supposed to do and not do. I flip-flop between the popular friend and the ostracized Game of Thrones weirdo. For a long time when I was near the popular girls, I felt the need to suddenly act a certain way. I wanted to conform, I wanted to become like them — no, scratch that: I wanted to become how they see me.
Or maybe not.
Let’s talk right now, not before. Maybe I want to become how I think they see me… or, in that case, how I feel I need to be seen.
Or want to be seen.
Even before writing this, I looked at Kristen and Samantha’s diaries to plan out my own. What the heck?!?! This is a diary, not poetry! Ugh. Conforming. Even now, I feel like I’m conforming as I’m writing this, like some internal filter is bleeping out all the things I want to say, what I really need to say.
It’s damn annoying.
My mind is really, really full right now. It would take me pages and pages to write out everything going through my brain. Which is what I’m going to do.
Have you seen Mean Girls? Of course you have. If not, it’s hilariously funny and you have to see it. IT IS HIGHLY QUOTABLE!!!!!!! Anyway, sometimes I feel I’m caught up in Mean Girls drama. Like this year, I got “admitted” into a popular group of friends. They would always talk and talk about gossip and stuff, and in all honesty, I’m into it. I like gossip like some typical girl.
More: 5 Things I learned after talking to 4,700 tween girls
But anyway, nearly all the time, they talked about this one girl at my school. She was popular too, and pretty nice, but the gossipy group would always be talking about her and how mean she was. In truth, it was obvious that they were just really jealous of her and were just exaggerating how much of a “bully” she was.
But I had to go along with it all. “Oh, yeah, she’s like the worst. She was sooo mean to me yesterday… ” Because I conform. Way too much.
Anyway, I played along with this for a long time, talking trash about a girl I was friends with for three years, until crack, I broke on the second-to-last day of school. I told her everything they had been saying.
It was intense.
But why hadn’t I told her before? Why didn’t I stop them and tell them I didn’t want to say those things?
Because I conform.
Honestly, I’m probably one of the best conformers out there. I can switch my personality to fit whoever I’m catering to like that. I’ve been doing it so much that along the way, I’ve lost the real me.
I kind of just realized that, and it’s shocked me.
Who is the real me?
Well, there are some things I do know.
I like Buzzfeed, celebrities with the first name Chris, movies, and Game of Thrones.
But I still feel like something’s wrong.