Girls Could Rule The World, If We Didn't Hate Each Other

Girls Could Rule The World, If We Didn't Hate Each Other

You mean, all this time we could've been friends?

If you are of my generation, then you know that Mean Girls was and continues to be one of the most iconic films of its decade. For both male and female audiences it remains one of the biggest inside jokes of our time. Aside from reinforcing pop culture with its bitchy one-liners and irresistible campiness, it was also the first stone to be tossed at a very real and very ugly glass ceiling. It was the first comment in a discussion, we as a society had yet to have, a discussion on the paradoxical relationship between women. Mean Girls portrayed the way women interact with each other in a much more raw and honest light than had ever been done before. It exposed the animalistic and sometimes cruel nature of females thoughts & actions towards one another.

And while the film was released more than ten years ago, the message it conveyed is even more important now than it was then. As women living in a post-Trump era, it is vital that we stop tearing each other down to make ourselves feel better about our own insecurities. At a time where forces are trying to divide us more than ever, we must learn to view our fellow females as our allies and not our competition. Without that we have nothing. You see there are people that want us to hate each other, because if we are divided, we are easier to control. If we are not united, we can be manipulated. But it doesn't have to be this way, if we don't take the bait.

From birth we are taught that our primary goal in life should be to find a husband, have children, and raise a family. We are told in words, reactions, and boundaries that have been engrained into our culture, that this is all we are good for, all that we are capable of. The problem with this, is that the bright little girl thats holding the cure for cancer in her brain, may not ever get the chance to share that knowledge with the world and save lives. Her parental figures, society, and the girls around her, are telling her that her dreams of being a doctor are "far-fetched" or "unrealistic". They are convincing her to take the much easier route of finding a man to take care of her instead of rising up and unlocking her full potential. To me, that is one of the saddest stories of all. She will never get to go to medical school, turn the key to the apartment she paid for herself, walk across stage holding the diploma she fought tooth and nail for, or make any of the miraculous contributions to the world that she has the ability to make. Because we have told her, that her time and energy are best served folding laundry and cooking dinner. That little girl is millions of women all over this country, sitting in tiny houses, watching day time television, drinking white wine while trying to convince themselves that they're happy. Meanwhile, holding the power to change the world and being completely unaware of it.

Since we are taught that our biggest achievement in life should be the partner we catch, at a very young age we stop viewing other girls as friends, and start seeing them as our competition. And not in a friendly-competetive game of Scrabble way, its even more ruthless and blood hungry than you can imagine. This is where we as women stop living as our own independent person, and become puppets on a string. An example of this complex at its finest, was explored immensely on this past season Ryan Murphy anthology series "Feud: Bette & Joan". A story about the scandalous and iconic feud between movie royalties Joan Crawford & Bette Davis. What the world expected was a campy and sassy light hearted look at one of Hollywoods most notorious rivalries. What the world got was a series analyzing the sad and unfortunate circumstances that created and fueled their hatred for each other.

The height of the story "Feud: Bette & Joan" tells, is revolved around the filming of cult classic, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" starring both Davis and Crawford as the lead. This was at a point in both of their for careers where the casting directors had stopped calling. There were little to no roles for women of a certain age, something that still remains an issue in Hollywood today. There actually weren't many roles for women of any kind. And once they were too old to play "The girl next door" their options were narrowed down to nothing. Both Bette & Joan needed this picture to work, it was their last hope. Studio heads were are aware of this and took complete advantage. For marketing and publicity purposes, almost every single person working at the studio and on the picture (the majority of them being men) set the two upon each other so the rumors of their feud would create anticipation for the picture. But most of all, they were pitted against each other because they were afraid of how powerful they could be, if they joined forces. The men at the studio were intimidated by the idea of Crawford & Davis becoming friends, and possibly allies. So they did everything they could to keep them at each others throats.

The other half of their rivalry, was the product of the natural animosity between females. They had hated each other long before they shot Baby Jane together and it was no secret. From the very start their relationship was pure competition, they had been fighting over both roles and the hands of men for decades. Each of them had something the other wanted. One of the most magical moments in the entire series, is the scene where Joan finally confronts Bette and in just a few short lines the entire message is presented. As Joan is walking away after the argument, Bette yells to her "Joan, how did it feel, to be the most beautiful girl in the world?". To which Joan replies "It was wonderful, the most joyous thing you could ever imagine and it was never enough." Joan then looks at her and says "What about you? How did it feel to be the most talented girl in the world?". The saddest part of everything that happened between the two is the fact they should have been friends. A fact Bette Davis acknowledged and discussed in the years leading up to her death. She admitted her regret for not being kinder to Joan and for failing to see how people were manipulating them into hating each other. One of Bette's final lines in the only picture the two starred in together, reads "So you mean all this time we could have been friends?" She often recalled the line as an ironic and sad summary of their relationship.

The tale of Bette & Joan is several decades old now, but the cultural issue their feud represented, is still just as alive as it was back then. The rise of the internet and social media has brought the tension between girls to a startling new level. The negative side of platforms like Instagram, is the way we are receiving a constant stream of highly edited and unrealistic images of women. These kind of images evoke fear in us. Fear because we don't look anything like that. Fear that we'll end up alone if we don't look as perfect as the girls in those pictures. And from that fear, comes a response. This is where the issue resides. If you look closely, you'll notice when someone is responding to that fear, and you'll notice that most of the time that response is to pick on and point out flaws of the girl in the image, in order to soothe their own wounded ego. A classic case of two wrongs don't make a right. We see curvy girls, putting down girls on the thinner side claiming men don't want them because they're too small and they're somehow superior over them for having a fuller figure. We see cisgender women picking apart the identities of transgender women, out of the intimidation they evoke, they represent the threat of even more competition. We see girls putting each other down for absolutely everything under the sun, and its always in an attempt to make themselves feel better about their own insecurities.

Girls say terrible things to each other day after day. And its such a sad thing. There is no reason why we shouldn't be friends. Each and every one of us has endless things in common with every girl in the world. We know the same pleasures, the same secrets, and the same pain. The only way for us to move towards a kinder and united relationship between women, is to stop comparing ourselves to them. That is the part thats spreading unhappiness. We have to stop telling ourselves that just because our contour isn't blended as nice as theirs, or our waist isn't as small, or our skin isn't that airbrushed, somehow means that we are inadequate to them. Because that thought is nothing but a nasty trick society has caused your brain to play on you. And the product of that trick is tearing young women apart, destroying their self confidence, and causing them to backlash at each other, completely dividing us. And now that we are divided like we've never been before, we are weaker, we are vulnerable, and the people in power know that. Because its exactly the way they want it. Women have the power to do incredible things. Femininity is almost magical. If we should ever unite, everything would change. Every glass ceiling we've been housed under for so long, would be completely shattered. We are powerful creatures and together we could shape the world to our liking. Just the thought of that though, terrifies some of our male counterparts. And with those male counterparts being the ones in power right now, what we are living is the response to their fear. To keep us at each others throats, to keep us from uniting.

We will never get anywhere in our fight for equality, if we can't first practice love and kindness within our family of females. It's a direct contradiction of the task at hand. We have bigger monsters in our closet that need to be addressed. So speak kindly of and to your fellow females. Practice patience and understanding. Think of the wonderful things that we could of accomplished by now, had we stuck together. We have the power and love inside of us, to make the world a kind and compassionate place. And how beautiful it would be if the source of that peace, was the female spirit. Be kind to one one another. We could rule the world, if we didn't hate each other so much.

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An Open Letter To The Meadville Medical Center And Its ER Staff

When did kindness become a deserved thing in the healthcare field; and only if you're not on drugs?

Yes, that cover picture is me, coming off a Magee Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh, a two-hour drive from my house, not at Meadville Medical Center.

This is very difficult to write. We live in a small town, and you are the only hospital for over twenty miles. In fact, I live so close to you, that I can see your rooftop from my back garden. I can walk to you in about ten minutes if it’s not overly humid out. The Life Flights pass over my house as they arrive at and leave your facility, and my young daughter and I pray for every one of them.

My daughter had to call an ambulance on May 30th, as I had a sharp and horrible pain overtake me so suddenly, that I thought my neighbor (who I threatened to report for dealing drugs) had shot me through the dining room window at first. There was no blood to be seen, but the pain was so severe, that combined with the cold sweats and dizziness, I was genuinely afraid I was about to die.

I can’t express in words how proud I was of my girl as she explained to the 911 operator what was the matter and where we lived. She was brave and helpful as they took a blood sample, handled what I later learned was a seizure, and kindly got me into the ambulance from my difficult entryway. She called her Auntie and calmly told her to meet me at the ER. And while memories of the horrible experience I had in your ER twenty years ago still haunted me, the care and attention the ambulance drivers showed me encouraged me that I would be okay.

If only.

There were so many people, and I was half delirious with pain and inexplicable symptoms. Thank God my sister in law, Sheri, was there to help me fight for my life. For the sake of our small town and six degrees of separation, I will call them Nurse A, B, C, and D, and Doctor H. Your staff literally, unapologetically bullied me within an inch of my life.

When I arrived, it was apparently Nurse A who triumphantly announced to everyone involved in my care that I was on drugs, case closed. Despite Sheri and I repeatedly telling them that I hadn’t taken any narcotics, and I won’t take anything stronger than Motrin 800, they persisted in asking what I took. At one point I heard Sheri saying, “She does everything naturally, you're wasting time.” No one cared.

When Nurse A informed me that they needed a urine test, I told her to straight cath me, as I couldn’t stand up. It was Nurse A who told Doctor H that I faked two seizures on the way from my house (I am still amazed by her mystical powers that she could surmise this), and insisted again that I was faking everything. With utter disgust Doctor H said, “She can stand, get her up.” At Sheri’s protest, Nurse A reiterated, “If she can move her legs she can stand.” My legs, which were almost involuntarily moving to find relief from the pain in my abdomen, gave out on me when she insisted I put myself on the bedside commode. I passed out again and urinated on her.

When I woke up to Sheri frantically calling my name, I was greeted by an absolutely disgusted Nurse A, who complained that she needed to go change her clothes, and rolled her eyes at my faking another seizure. She informed everyone who came in next that I was faking these symptoms, and four attempts to straight cath me failed. In that moment, I was sure I was going to die.

Everything after that came in blurry and fragmented vignettes, like an awful out of body experience. There were Nurses B through D or more, all repeatedly asking me what drugs I took. Everyone scowled and frowned, passing on the information that I was faking everything. There were four of these nurses when I woke up on the way to a scan, and all but one asking me what drugs I took, and telling me to stop faking as I hysterically screamed that I could not breathe when I lay flat. I was terrified, confused, out of my mind, and unable to breathe when I lay flat, and they reported that “she hyperventilated herself” in the scan lab.

All the while, Sheri valiantly insisted they would find no drugs in the blood work, and that I probably hadn’t been to a family doctor in years. I lay in your ER cubicle and reconciled myself to God, convinced that I was going to die and be labeled a drug addict.

At some point, something shifted, and suddenly I received the blanket I had asked for hours before. Apparently, my temperature had dropped so low, their fancy thermometers couldn’t read anything. I remember a young man trying to find a vein and saying, “Oh my God, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m not trying again.” My head was elevated, and the panic of not being able to breathe alleviated somewhat.

Suddenly Doctor H was almost kind, and I heard him telling Sheri something about “a mass” and “blood in her abdomen” and how some other hospital was better equipped to help me. She told me she okay-ed it, and I recall telling her, “I trust you. Just get me out of here.”

In fact, knowing someone else would care for me gave me such peace, that I literally lay completely still as an older man inserted an IV line into my neck with no anesthesia.

We assume the blood work came back and the scan verified what we desperately tried to tell everyone from the beginning; I wasn’t on or seeking drugs. But there was no apology from Nurse A, her fellow nurses, or Doctor H. I may be corrected, but I spent five or six hours in your ER defending myself to the same people who should have been fighting for my life.

As I lay there, talking to Yeshuale, three people in what looked like tactical suits came alongside my bed. The first was a woman who looked like she was speaking into a walkie talkie. Behind her two men. I thought to myself “Oh, state cops. I guess I’m just going to die in prison.” I was so out of it, confused and weary of being asked what drugs I took, I believed your ER staff had called the police and they had come to take me away. All I could think of was what would become of my young daughter.

Thank God, I was mistaken. The blonde woman wasn’t a police officer, but part of the helicopter team, on the phone with Magee in Pittsburgh so she could begin administering blood to me. Blood. Something your staff considered less important than accusing me of using and seeking some weird drugs. Behind her, a tall, blonde man smiled at me and explained that he was taking me in a helicopter and I would be fine. It was like hearing from an angel, and I remember saying, “Todah, Yeshuale!” repeatedly in my head and in a whisper. “Thank You, Jesus!”

Four blocks away, my daughter and the friend she was staying with waved as we flew over my house.

To my surprise, I woke up two days later, attached to a ventilator, one of my sister friends sitting beside my bed. I learned that I’d had two masses in my uterus, which tore itself open and bled into my abdomen. I’d lost four liters of blood and had a transfusion in the Life Flight. When they took the vent out, (my friend took the picture above) I made a joke about being a tough Jersey girl as I signed to the ICU nurse, but inside I was an emotional wreck. Still, as the days went on, I determined to treat everyone with kindness, and was treated the same way at every turn.

Kindness. The one thing I never received from your staff.

What was so special about me that your staff felt interrogating me about my apparent drug use was more important than helping me? My address? Because for some reason all the drug dealers in town seem to want to take over my block? So, we’re all on drugs, then? Do you realize that half my neighbors brag about going to your ER to get pain pills, and how easy it is? I never asked for anything but a Tylenol, and that was on the Life Flight. So, again I ask, what made me so unique?

And, I must say, it’s not even that your staff didn’t believe me. They were mean, hateful even. Rolling their eyes, talking about me like I wasn’t there, saying everything I did was a ruse to get drugs. When did it become okay to treat anyone like that? How was it alright for your nurse to walk in and determine that I was on drugs? How was it alright for her to set the tone of disbelief, unkindness, and abuse? How was it alright for the doctor to allow this and roll with it?

Yes, I said abuse. When someone is screaming that they can’t breathe and you tell them to stop faking, that is abuse. When you berate someone, and accuse them of something to the point where they believe they’re being taken to jail to die, that’s abuse. When you refuse to give someone a blanket, hold them down to the point where they’re bruised, that’s abuse. When you waste time to the point where an ambulance won’t get to the next hospital fast enough… that’s abuse. Your staff verbally, emotionally, and physically abused me.

Not only were they abusive, but they were comfortable with it. Your staff was comfortable with it, and didn’t care what it would cost me or my family. All but one nurse, who Sheri now tells me insisted that there was something wrong with me and took me for the scan. That nurse saved my life. People are comfortable with abuse because they get away with it. Abusers get smug, arrogant and even careless, because those they abuse say nothing. Your staff was smug, rude and uncaring to the point that they displayed a sick sort of disgust for me that was completely obvious. My sister in law later confirmed to me that it wasn’t all in my head.

At what point did this behavior become acceptable? Is it because you’re the only hospital for a 30-minute drive?

And, so what if I had been seeking drugs or high on some unknown concoction? Would that have made it okay for your staff to treat me thusly? Would Nurse A have been justified in declaring my altered state and treating me like garbage? Would Doctor H have been justified in how he treated me? When did nursing and healing give anyone that sort of power? When did people cease to be worthy of kindness, quality health care and gentleness based upon their drug use, or the address they live at?

When did you decide who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and who does not? When did your medical staff earn that right to decide also?

If we’re completely honest, most of the people I know who abuse pills go to your ER at least once bimonthly to get refills. Your ER physicians pass out opioid scripts like candy and then mistreat the people they’re supplying? Thanks to you, I must hide the pain medication I loathe to take now, because someone will surely break in to my home and steal them if they know I have them. You, and other hospitals like you, are feeding addicts and creating innocent bystander victims like me, but that’s another conversation.

This is difficult to write, because you have your hooks in all over this town. This is difficult to write, because the trauma of that night is still fresh in my mind, and I often cry when I think about it. This is difficult to write, because the reality that I have had to now teach my child to ask any ambulance we ever need to call again to take us to Erie shouldn’t be necessary. This is difficult to write, but it needs to be said, especially since I’ve been finding out that I’m not the only person this has happened to.

You need to address these issues. You need to stop handing out scripts like promotional coupons, and perhaps you won’t have nurses and doctors assuming everyone’s on drugs or seeking them. You need to discourage the abusive and toxic behavior of your staff, and hold them accountable when patients complain. Let me put this into perspective for you: I’m pretty sure Nurse A is the same age as my oldest daughter, and my child would eat mud before she treated anyone like that. Why? Because my kids were never allowed to behave that way in the first place, but to stay on topic, she grew up with consequences, and as an adult still recognizes their severity.

As the events of that night become clearer to me, and I continue my peaceful, miraculous recovery at home, I am determined not to hold on to bitterness about what happened to me at your ER. I am determined to make the most of the second chance at life I’ve been given, and leave your abusive staff in the past. I’ll probably pass some of them in the super market, or sit behind them in church, our town is so small. And while you and your toxic staff will cease to haunt my future, I will surely haunt yours. Nurse A, Doctor H, and Nurses B through whatever… will never forget the night the woman with the blue hair nearly died because they were too busy wrongly judging to actually care.

I am determined to walk out the rest of my life in kindness, the very discussion I had in a blackout with God while your nurse accused me of faking a seizure. I will pray, hoping with all hope that kindness will once again be requisite for employment in your ER and every area of your corporation. Believe me, it’s possible and good for profits. The entire time I spent in Pittsburgh at Magee I never encountered a single unkind staff member from the surgeons to the housekeepers.

I know you can do it.

Cover Image Credit: Heidi Owens

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Four Quarters Will Always Be Better Than Ten Dimes, And I'm Not Talking About Spare Change

Quality over quantity any damn day.


"You would rather have four quarters than 10 dimes, 20 nickels, or 100 pennies," is a phrase that at first glance would seem to just be about money. But it actually contains a deeper meaning that could definitely serve as good advice when it comes to the friendships you have in your life.

As an ambivert, I have always found myself happier when I surrounded myself with a large group of friends. It gives you a sense of belonging, something that is a proven innate human desire. Having large groups can be fun, but they also equally have the chance of being toxic for you. There's no point in surrounding yourself with individuals if, at the end of the day, they don't make you happy. Often times you'll hang out with people just because you crave company, but not THEIR company. There is a very important distinction.

Don't let your loneliness or your desire for more friends allow you to be consumed into toxic friendships. Because I have been there and done that. Many times. It's not a fun experience. It took me time to learn, but I have learned the valuable lesson of less being more. When you eliminate extraneous beings from your life, you have more time to focus on your more important relationships and the most crucial one of all, the one you have with yourself.

I am very blessed to say that people that I am close to in my life genuinely care for me and my happiness because this was not always the case. It takes a lot of trial and error, and also greatly impacts your mental health, but finding the right friend group for you is definitely life-changing.

Choose your friends wisely, you don't want a wallet full of useless change.

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