A couple sits in a theater, waiting to see a Friday night movie. As they wait for the show, the group of women in front of them chatter away. Across the theater, from the second entrance, a lovely woman enters and waves hello to the group and sits down.
The couple overhears the ladies, waving and smiling, start in:
“Oh, the PRINCESS has arrived.”
“Did you see just had her hair colored?”
“It’s the worst. Who does she think she is anyway?”
Sounds like middle school, right? Yet it’s not. This exact scene played out at a senior living community and my parents were the couple who overheard.

As I slide headlong into age 50, I am ceaselessly shocked at how many grown women continue to subscribe to this venomous behavior time and time again. This vitriol is toxic and wrong. And many of those who participate most are quick to rail against teen bullying.
Let me be clear: bullying does not come from popularity. Men and women who truly live their best lives are too confident and busy to participate. Bullying is born of pathological insecurities.
As women and mothers, we have to lead the way if this is ever going to change. True confidence comes from knowing that you are following your true north, your goals, and you are sponsoring the next generation to do the same. If we want our daughters (sons, nieces, etc) to step into authentic feminism, we must stop bashing those who strive for success.
Lead by example
I believe there is space for all of us. Stay-at-home moms, working moms, employees and entrepreneurs, creatives and numbers people are all boss. Want to wear sweats all day? Great! Do you prefer to dress up? Awesome! You do you! But don’t condemn those who choose the opposite. Don’t like it?  Just don’t engage.  It is OK to just LET SOME THINGS GO.
I’ll let you in on another secret–words DO hurt.  I know, shocking that I talk about confidence and even coach clients to find theirs, but it does.  Even those who claim they are fresh outta fucks can be hurt by this.  You can never know what someone’s battle is so why fire against them?
Why did these octogenarian ladies need to trash “the Princess?” Who knows. Are they not confident enough to stay stylish? In Japan, if you are not stylish, you are said to be giving up on your womanhood. I wonder if the chattering group desires to feel feminine and young again?
Is it possible that “the Princess” had somehow snubbed these others? Sure! But why let that continue to eat away at their otherwise group of friends? Did they surrender their own power by letting a bully take up space in their lives? Perhaps at our age, we can simply LET GO of toxicity and protect our boundaries without trashing the perpetrators.
Whatever it is, I choose KIND. I choose to celebrate women who aspire to do more and be more—they make me BETTER.
And I challenge you all to protect your squad fiercely, and stay positive so your daughters may learn the same.
Be a "ride or die" friend. Jacket from Luna Sewickley

Photo by Julieanne Kahlbaugh.  Jacket at Luna Sewickley