photograph of a beautiful girl smiling at the camera surrounded by vintage clock faces

Tale of a Reformed Mean Girl


Christine Coughlin

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Motherhood, Relationships

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⁣⁣Strong women have always complicated my life.

Lesley Lambert and I struggled endlessly for control of our girl group when we were 12. My sister and I continue our power struggles to this day. I tormented my junior high best friend, Kelly, because she felt like competition. ⁣⁣
Kelly Fraser was beautiful inside and out. She was funny, charismatic and comfortable around people. She was a hopeless romantic who loved teen magazines and studying new makeup techniques. ⁣⁣
In Junior High, Kelly and I were inseparable. We were declared besties with the friendship bracelets to prove it. We loved belting out Annie Lennox songs from her very cool attic bedroom and dreaming about potential future boyfriends. ⁣⁣

a collage showing two teen girls standing in front of lockers, a beautiful young woman smiling into the camera surrounded by vintage clock faces

Mean Girling

Despite the bestie title, I was consistently awful towards Kelly. When we were around other people, I became insecure and uncomfortable. Kelly, on the other hand, was sweet and social. People were drawn to her, which only magnified my insecurities.⁣⁣
When we started high school, our paths slowly separated. It wasn’t something we ever talked about. It was a decision that was best for Kelly. ⁣⁣
As young adults, we tried to reunite. The “problem” was she had continued to flourish into a more confident version of herself. She’d now mastered those makeup techniques and seemed effortlessly stylish and composed. Again I felt threatened and questioned her choices. ⁣

Kelly Passed Away In 2009

I wish so badly that I could call her and apologize. I would tell her that the things that made her wonderful were the things that made me envious. I’d tell her that should have been my problem, and I’m sorry for making it hers. I would tell her that, with this new awareness, I will do better.⁣

Stopping the Pattern

Recently, my eight-year-old proudly showed me a piece of artwork she’d made. She pointed out how hers was the only one with a green background, which she declared made it very special because it stood out. ⁣

Then she pointed to another piece of art and said: “look at the one with the yucky rainbow background” (which belonged to a girl in her class). My heart sank as I looked at the two unique pieces of art. I saw my daughter following in my competitive footsteps.⁣

Robert Hilliker says, “Hold your shadow in front of you. It can only take you down from behind.”⁣

Envy will likely continue to pop up throughout my life. The good news is a feeling doesn’t make something a reality. I get to choose how I react. ⁣

My Promise, going forward

I choose to use my envy as a signal of things I value and aspire to. I will channel what could be negative energy into something positive. ⁣

I will show my daughters what healthy female relationships can look like. They will see me championing others, striving to understand different perspectives and assuming the best of people. ⁣

This is a promise to stay aware of my thoughts and accountable for my actions, for Kelly, for my girls and myself. ⁣

Reach out and speak your heart. The time is now. 💛



  • 𝘚𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘒𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘺’𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳. ⁣

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