A few girls reached out and asked if I could talk about moving, like moving to a new school, a new house, or a new city. So Bri and Hazel and every other girl who’s dealing with a move, I hope this helps.
I gotta start out by recognizing that moving is a big change. While it can be a fresh start, it can also be really hard, and it’s okay to struggle with it as you adjust.
By 7th grade I had moved to four houses, been at six schools and even moved to a different state right as I entered middle school. That move hit me the hardest. I was surrounded by changes, not only with myself, aka puberty, but also my world around me was unfamiliar. I missed my friends from before, my school, my house, my life. Every couple of months I bounced from one group of girls to another, trying to find where I fit. I’ll be honest, it was tough.
Now I’m not trying to pour salt in your wound, I want to be real about the impact moving can have.
This is illustrated well in the Disney Pixar movie, “Inside Out.” If you haven’t seen it, I won’t share major spoilers. The main character Riley moves across the country. Everything was unfamiliar to her and she struggled to adjust. But she wanted to please her parents, so she held in her feelings and it backfired.
Learning from Riley’s experience, as much as you or your parents really want you to be okay and embrace this big change, remember: it’s okay to not be okay. We also discussed this in ep. 006 – give yourself permission to feel your feelings. You don’t need to hide your emotions or hold everything in. If you do, like Riley, it’ll backfire. You can feel sad because you miss your old friends. You can feel nervous about going to a new school. You can feel overwhelmed by all of the changes happening. You can feel frustrated because this isn’t what you wanted.
Write down all of your thoughts, and even talk to your parents, friends, or an adult you trust. Sharing your feelings will help you process.
Along those lines, remember that
suffering = pain x resistance
as Dr. Kristen Neff taught in her book, “Self-Compassion.” Accept that this move, this change is happening. Recognize what you can’t control, and figure out what you can. Some things just can’t be undone, no matter how hard you wish. And that’s hard. But maybe there are some things you can do that will help you transition.
- Friends. Keep in touch with old friends. Sure, text and email. But also schedule time to have a video chat or play a game online together. You could even be pen pals, sending each other letters or little packages. I did this with an old friend for years and it was really fun to both put something together for her and get something in the mail.
Also take chances to make new friends. It might take a lot of courage, but introduce yourself to at least one new person every day. Try to remember their name and say Hi when you see them. It’s okay if you forget their name, just ask them again. If you’re feeling up to it, sit and chat with one of those people in class, at lunch, or wherever you see them. After a few weeks, you’ll not only know multiple people, but you’ll likely feel some friendships forming. And that will feel good.
- Activities. Find opportunities to keep doing things you enjoy. Having something familiar to hold on to can make an impact when a lot of other things are different. Also be willing to try new things, too: clubs, skills, sports, hobbies, instruments, etc. Check out what’s offered through your school, community center, library, city. You could ask around, too. Getting involved in activities is also a great way to meet new friends and make new connections.
- Personalize. If you get a new school binder, backpack, desk, locker, or room! Whatever it is, decorate it in a way that makes you smile every time you see it! Let it be a reflection of you, things you like and who you are. It may be something as small as a notebook, but put your mark on it and make it yours.
- Make plans. Schedule things to look forward to, like going to your school’s basketball game or having a movie night with a new friend. If you moved to a new city, have neighbors over for dessert or spend a Saturday exploring your city with your family. Keep making plans and write them on a calendar so you can see them and look forward to them.
- Upside. I once heard a story about two kids who were given shovels and put in a room that had a huge pile of horse manure (another word for poop). Later an adult came back to check on them. One kid was angry, sitting in the corner with the shovel against the wall. The other kid was eagerly shoveling the pile. The adult asked, “What are you doing?” And the kid replied, “With all this manure, there must be a pony somewhere!”
Your situation might totally stink, kinda like that pile. Might be a complete mess even. Try to find the pony. Try to find the good things, silver-linings, the pros and not just the cons with this move. There must be a pony somewhere!
This is a big change. It’s okay you’re not okay with it; feel that. Accept what you can’t control, and do something about the things you can. As an extra boost, listen to ep. 020 cope with change. The thing is, you’re not always going to be the new girl. Eventually, this will get more familiar and you’ll know your way around. You just might like it better than before. Sooner than later, I hope you start to feel more at home.
To help you work through your feelings, I created a moving worksheet that you can print out and personalize by filling in your responses. Even if you don’t hang on to the paper after you finish, writing will help you process, and that’s the important part.
A few resources that might help you with moving are:
The Essential Moving Guided Journal for Pre-teens, by Sara Boehm
Anastasia Again!, by Lois Lowry
The Kid in the Red Jacket, by Barbara Park
And of course I’m going to recommend you watch Inside Out!
If you have favorites to add to this list, or have a topic suggestion, I’d love to hear from you! Send an email (tweens get the OK from your parents) email hello@EmpowerfulGirls.com .
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