The Bad Girl Phase
There’s a difference between having a bad girl phase and being a bad girl. Having a bad girl phase can help you figure out who you are and what you like and don’t like. But it’s not a hall pass to treat people poorly or be reckless. This week Jaime talks about her evolution from The Jersey Devil, as she was known, to a wife and mom who still feels the bad girl pull. Plus listener questions from a concerned sister, someone who is considering a bad girl phase after a breakup and someone having a hard time forgiving herself for her bad girl past.
FYI: Tell Me What To Do contains mature language and themes that may not be suitable for all listeners.
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[00:46] Jaime Primak Sullivan: Hey guys, you’re listening to Tell Me What To Do. I’m Jaime Primak Sullivan, the host of Tell Me What To Do. Sometimes I tell you what to do and sometimes I have other people on to Tell Me What To Do. This week, I want to talk to you guys about the bad girl phase, what that means, what it means for us, and why the word “bad” can sometimes mean good, honestly. So this week has been a really interesting week. It’s the first full week my kids are back in school full time. And for those of you that listen to Coffee Talk, I did a very honest back to school episode of Coffee Talk, and it feels weird. There’s just no, like, way around it. We try as parents to be the cheerleader. Like, it’s not that bad. You’re going to be fine. You’ll make friends. The masks are cool! And then the kids leave and you’re like, this is fucking awful. You’re like Chunk from Goonies.
[02:00] Jaime Primak Sullivan: So anyway, it’s been interesting and it’s been interesting seeing them at like 8:45 be like, I’m not tired, I’m not tired. And at nine o’clock they’re all like boom. And now they’re back on kind of like an eating schedule. So it’s not like the ants go marching one by one through your pantry all day long. But as I have confessed, we’ve already had one positive case of Corona in school. And so we are well aware that we can be all be quarantined back at home any minute. And honestly, we’re prepared if that’s the case. It is what it is. What are you gonna do? This is also the week of like the DNC, RNC conventions, where Americans come together in a loving, calm, fair manner and discuss how they can better work together to unite us as a people and heal the wounds, the deep-seated wounds.
[03:10] Jaime Primak Sullivan: Just kidding! It’s literally where Americans tear each other apart, from the way that you think, the way that you feel, your religion, your size, your shape, your color, your sexual orientation, your political preference, who you voted for in the past, who you voted for in the future, who you voted for in the last election. If you liked Hillary. If you care about her fucking e-mails. Pizzagate. Yachtgate.
[04:02] Jaime Primak Sullivan: Anyway. You know where I grew up. Jersey. We’re all very nice in Jersey, but we are raised by mothers who say — and there’s a lot of controversy about what I’m about to tell you. We were raised — and by we I mean me — were raised if somebody hits you, you hit them back. OK, now there’s a lot of controversy about this now, but back in the ‘80s, that was gospel. I was in high school — and I want you to know I was a very nice kid growing up. It was really, really nice. I was the youngest of three girls until my brother came. So I was the baby for six and a half years. I was babied, spoiled, sweet. And when I was in high school, I had a certain reputation because my sisters had reputations and they had just come through the high school before me. But I really liked people. Like I was always the one that wanted to build a bigger table. Why can’t we let her play? Why can’t we let her hang out? Like, why can’t she sit with us? You know, just be cool. And then my senior year, my dad got sick and he died.
[05:52] Jaime Primak Sullivan: You know, my dad, by the way, is in heaven going “stop blaming all your fucking shit on me. This is some bullshit. Like I died. Mourn it and move on like a normal person. Stop blaming like every hangnail and ten pounds you gain on me.” I didn’t know how to process that. I didn’t have tools. Who the fuck has tools at 17? No one. And then my best friend in the world slept with my boyfriend. So in that very short span of time, a couple of months, I learned that God sucked, death sucked and friends sucked and I became a bad girl. I was self-destructive. I was mean to other people. I was just out of control. And I still did the things that were expected of me. I went to school, I did my homework. I was homecoming queen because I probably bullied people into voting for me. I don’t honestly remember. I played soccer. I was in the school play. I graduated and I went to college. So I did the things that were expected of me. I just wasn’t nice. Then I got to college and I tried to — I don’t know, I rebelled. I began to reject all perceived authority — and by authority, I even mean like societal pressure. Anything that I felt people thought I should do, or like what they thought was the right thing, I was like I’m doing the opposite. I wasn’t respectful to teachers, but I did find one or two that I connected with and poured into them and loved them dearly.
[08:07] Jaime Primak Sullivan: But like overall, if someone was like don’t run in the hallway, now I’m Flo Jo and I’m going to fucking sprint through this hallway. I was that person. Little things in my mind that, like, I thought I was doing to revolt, if that makes sense. Driving down one ways in the parking garage, just everything was — I was very antagonistic. And when I realized that that bad girl behavior was not satisfying my itch. I switched over to a different bad girl behavior, and that was let me make people fall in love with me and then shit on them. It’s a really fun game that I suggest you never play because it’s fucking awful to do to people. So then, because I was outgoing and charming and charismatic and smart and ahead of my time, and attractive, I could get any guy to be interested in me. And then I would pursue that and get them all wrapped up and I love the thrill of the chase at the beginning. And then as soon as he was like, I really like you and I like want you to be my girlfriend, I was like, Oh my God, bro, you totally got the wrong idea. Meanwhile, I had worked weeks or months to get him to that place and then acted like I had no idea where this desire was coming from. I’m shocked! Come on, guy. So I earned the reputation of the Jersey Devil. That’s what they used to call me. And there was a disclaimer about me everywhere I went. Don’t mess with her. She’s the Jersey Devil.
[09:52] Jaime Primak Sullivan: And then I matured. I got saved and I decided to let people in and try to heal and all of that. So the first bad phase was the real bad girl phase. Like, you’re not a nice human being. That is not what this show is about. I just want to preface it with I did all of that shit. Then I went through sort of in my 20s. What I like to call a ho phase. And I had really great boyfriends, I just cheated on them. Because I always figured if you hurt somebody first, they can’t hurt you. So I experimented. And I have to tell you, I have no regrets. None. But let’s talk about things honestly. Sexually transmitted diseases. That shit is real. We don’t talk about it enough. So if we’re going to talk about why I think you should have a bad girl phase, and why I think a ho phase is smart, the first thing I’m going to tell you is you have to be safe. We talk about pregnancy. That’s obviously problematic. But sexually transmitted diseases, most are curable. Some are not. It’s not a joke. And when you go to the gynecologist and he’s like, hey, what’s this weird bump? And you’re like, I don’t know. Shall we give him a name? And he’s like, we should because he’s never fucking leaving. That sucks. OK. You’ve got to protect yourself.
[11:32] Jaime Primak Sullivan: But let’s talk about what a ho phase is and then what it does and doesn’t do. What’s a ho phase? A ho phase isn’t necessarily about sex, but I think Urban Dictionary basically defines it as a — let’s look it up, actually. What does Urban Dictionary, hold on. Ho phase. Ho phase: a phase in your life that occurs frequently when you are fine with exploring promiscuous activities and connecting with random people. These activities do not always end in sex, but can lead to it. You have a high tendency to dance provocatively with strangers, be a tease in social settings, flirt nonstop, kiss and/or make out with others and get caught up in the moment. This phase helps you establish what you like and what you don’t. It helps you explore your sexuality and have fun. You have the ability to stop these actions or snap out of the phase. This phase typically occurs when you are in a social setting and you have a lot of pent-up energy and want to let loose. Some may think this is shallow, but knowing yourself is a learning process. OK, I’m sorry, but that’s actually spot fucking on. That’s it. A ho phase is a phase of your life. Most people associate it with their 20s. I happen to think a lot of women are coming back around in their 40s, getting divorced and realizing they never had a ho phase. But it’s a phase of your life where you are fine with exploring promiscuous activities and connecting with random people. That’s a ho phase. You’re not committing to anything. You can be in a professional ho phase. Shout out to the career episode we did. If you have not listened to the career episode. You should listen to that one and hear me discussing the benefits of a professional ho phase. You can have a hobby ho phase. You can have a girlfriend ho phase. You can have relationship ho phase. Some of it leads to sex, some of it doesn’t. It is a time of your life where you have no expectations for anything.
[13:54] Jaime Primak Sullivan: I don’t think I’ve ever come out of my ho phase. I just think I am perpetually in a space where I have a lot of pent-up energy, it’s part of being a creative. I could flirt all day, every day. I flirt with men. I flirt with women. I’m flirtatious even in the way that I joke with the producers of this show. It’s just my nature. I always have one foot in and one foot out of every situation. Michael knew that about me before he married me. I told him I am in a perpetual ho phase. I don’t know if marriage is for me. I never wanted this kind of commitment. I like to move around. I’m a wanderer.
[14:51] Jaime Primak Sullivan: And so I can only speak from my experience, but being a sort of bad girl and living on the edge is the only way that I can function in what is considered a normal or traditional arrangement. I just don’t know, I’m a perpetual bad girl. And I love the thrill of the chase. I love the instigation of a fight. I love to put someone in their place, like there’s every single thing about kind of like the bad girl world is such a fucking turn on for me. I wish it wasn’t. I have actually prayed to God and been like, all right, bro, I’m 43. Like, can we take it down a notch? I’ve done the work. And by the way, just because I have an insatiable appetite for other things doesn’t mean I’m going to get them. I understand that I committed to a certain lifestyle. I just don’t know that this could ever be enough for me. Doesn’t mean I will go get more. Kind of like when you eat dinner and you’re still kind of hungry, but you’re like, alright, I ate enough. I need to stop. That’s where I’m at in life. But people ask me, should I have a ho phase? Should I have a bad girl phase? Fuck, yes, you should. That does not mean without boundaries. That does not mean without safety. I will never condone you going out and having unprotected sex. It makes me nervous. Unless you want to bump, a labia bump called Bob that follows you for the rest of your life, I think not. You got to be safe.
[16:39] Jaime Primak Sullivan: You have to understand that there are risks with bad girl phases. There are risks with ho phases. Obviously, physical ones, like pregnancy, like rape, unfortunately, when you go with people you don’t know or you whatever. And I’m not talking about in the alley. The scary man comes out, rapes you. I’m talking about date rape. These are yellow-tape situations when you decide to have a ho phase, you can catch sexually transmitted diseases, you can get pregnant, there is rape, there’s abuse, there’s abandonment. You need to be prepared to wake up the next day and feel gross about yourself. I have a friend that I love very much who wants so badly to have casual sex, and every time she does, she’s depressed in bed for three days and can’t get out because she has so much anxiety about it. I’m like, girl let that shit go. Was it good? Yeah. Awesome. Great. Can we go get brunch. But she can’t disassociate. There are hazards with the job of being a bad girl. Some are depression and anxiety. Some are total disassociation. I think sexually, if you have a couple of wrong ones, it does help you work out the kinks. Because it helps you figure out like, OK, yeah. That I definitely don’t like, or that was fun. And then you get in a relationship and you’re like, hey. So I met this guy and we hooked up and he stuck his thumb in my butt. Who knew I would like that so much? I didn’t know, but because I had a ho phase, now I know. So I could tell the guy I’m dating or engaged to or married to, you know what? I tried something when I was young, I really liked it. Now I know a lot of you want to talk about your bad girl phases, and should you do it? Should you not? Because you know, this phase, obviously it cycles, right? I’m in a perpetual bad girl phase, but I’m working on myself. So, like, even though I have the ability to fight at a moment’s notice, those of you who listened to the family estrangement episode know that I got punched in the face and didn’t retaliate, which means God is working on me. Still the girl who could retaliate. Still the girl who wanted to retaliate. But I’m now the girl that didn’t. But because this phase in my life is obviously important, because it’s taught me a lot, and it’s served me. It’s protected me, also hurt me, but eh.
[18:59] Jaime Primak Sullivan: I wanted to answer some of your questions about the bad girl phase because so much weird and crazy shit has happened over my 43 years of life. I literally would not be the person I am today without all of it. Every single bad decision. All of it. So I’m excited to answer some of your questions and tell you what to do. Our first question comes from Samantha. Let’s listen. I love that name, by the way. Let’s listen to what Samantha had to say.
[23:41] Samantha: Hi, Jaime. My name is Samantha. You were talking about when you were 19, how you were a stripper and you’re doing all these other things and now you’re at where you’re at now. And my little sister is actually 19. She’s not stripping, but she is doing a lot of destructive things. She’s doing drugs. She’s with an abusive boyfriend. She’s also abusive to him. Very lazy. Doesn’t really help out around the house. My question, I guess, was how to deal with rebellious teenagers. I’m 26. I live on my own. And my mom’s kind of struggling with how to deal with it. My mom’s a single mom. Ao I don’t know if there had been anything that Susan could have done when you were that age to help you get where you’re at now sooner, or friends and family can do. Or is this something that just needs to be kind of ridden out by her and her take her own journey? We just don’t want to see her go down any more of a destructive path than she has because she has so much potential.
[24:48] Jaime Primak Sullivan: OK, so, Samantha, you are concerned for your little sister. She is 19. 19 was a pivotal year in my bad girl phase because I took total charge of — I didn’t say responsibility, I said charge — of my actions. That was the year I really rebelled against authority. You explained that while your sister’s not stripping, she’s doing other destructive things. I know it all well, sadly. And your question really asks how to deal with rebellious teenagers, and how to advise your mom how to deal with your sister. Well, for some context, when I was 19, I was estranged from my mom. I had a black boyfriend and Susan was not yet comfortable with that, though to Susan’s credit, she quickly became comfortable with it. So while I was out on my own, I made a lot of bad decisions. At the time, drugs weren’t one of them, but other things. And here’s the truth. I wouldn’t have listened to anybody. So like any toddler or wild dog, when you try to force them to calm down, their behavior becomes more erratic and aggressive. What your sister is going through now is a world where bad decisions are easier than good ones. And you have to understand something: that never leaves us, we just get better equipped and more comfortable with making good decisions as we get older. It never escapes us that making bad decisions is easier. It will always be easier to run with the devil than to serve God. I mean, it just it just will.
[26:51] Jaime Primak Sullivan: Hello. That’s why we have shows like Real Housewives of Everywhere and Temptation Island and Bad Girls Fight Club, which, by the way, they should cast me on. I’m not kidding, Bad Girl Fight Club, the 40s edition, I would fucking kill it. OK, for the record. Samantha, here’s what I’m going to say. Your mom cannot control your sister’s behavior, but what your mom can do is control her space, her house, her rules. So there are boundaries that your mom can set in her world, in her space, and your sister can choose not to respect those boundaries or follow those rules, but then your parents have to be committed to the follow-through. So if they say, “while you live under our roof, you need to be in the house by midnight and you need to do this, that and a third,” and she cannot follow those rules. And your parents have to be prepared to say we need you to leave.
[27:49] Jaime Primak Sullivan: And let me tell you something. You think she’s going to leave and never come back? No! She’s going to leave, hit bottom and beg to come back and have a new appreciation. But, Jaime, how do you know? Because history tells us. That’s how I know. Because every single bad girl who is in that sort of self-destructive, it’s so much easier to just keep making bad decisions than do the work and change my shit. We all got to hit bottom. I didn’t hit bottom till my 20s, my narcissist boyfriend, abusive, eating disorder, hit the bathroom floor, wanted to die and God stepped in. Y’all. That was like 24, 25. This chick is 19. She’s got years of bad decisions. You can’t stop her. All you can do is tell her what works for you while she’s in your company and your space. That’s it. Don’t try to reason with her. Don’t try to appeal to her emotional side. Don’t try to point out the obvious. She already knows. She already knows. She knows she’s in an abusive relationship. She knows she’s doing drugs. She’s the one that’s doing it. The more you try to curb that, the more you are going to become problematic for her and she is just going to push you away. So all you can do is set rules and boundaries and be prepared to stay committed to the follow-through, because if you’re not, then she’s going to walk all over you. But again, I want you to remember every bad decision I made — as scary as it was to watch me spiral out of control, to get down to 123 pounds, to cry every day, my hair was falling out. I was in an abusive relationship. I was secluded from people — like to understand that. I went through all of that, guys. Remember, I rejected help, I shut people out. I isolated myself. But I would not have been saved and have the relationship with God I have now had I not gone through that. I would not have met Michael or created space for him, married him, had my children and been here on this podcast with you. So would I do it all over again? Abso-fuckin-lutely.
[30:06] Jaime Primak Sullivan: All right, question number two. Our next question is from Gabrielle, who emailed us to say, “I currently broke up with my partner and I find myself wanting to revert back to my bad girl ho phase as a way to cope. I’m an older and hopefully wiser woman now and feel shameful and embarrassed that I want to use this coping strategy to deal with the pain of losing someone. Should I allow myself to express my hurt and pain through means of sex and not feel bad about it? Or should I seek alternative strategies?” Gabrielle, you came to me because you must want to a me answer. And guess what I’m gonna tell ya? Yeah, you should! You should absolutely do it. You should get that revenge body. You should start fucking thirst trappin’ on social media. You should do whatever makes you feel better. And yes, memes on Instagram will tell you don’t get revenge. Just move on. That’s the best revenge. Fuck that. So, yes, Gabrielle, don’t feel shame. Don’t feel embarrassment that you want to go through another bad girl phase. No. What do you mean? Go out in COVID as safely as you can, six feet apart with a mask. Have a good time. Call people who will give you good energy. If you know a guy used to date and you know he’s going to tell your beautiful whatever. I absolutely think it is normal and we put so much pressure on ourselves to bounce back in a healthy way based on what society says is the healthy right way. I’m not that girl. It’s not ever how I have coped. I don’t have healthy coping skills. We know that. So I do it my way. And that’s the call people that I know will blow smoke up my ass and flirt with me and make me feel good about myself. It’s getting attention from other men, other women. It’s having a few drinks. Oh, Jaime, but that’s not what you talk about on Coffee Talk. No shit!
[32:25] Jaime Primak Sullivan: Because on Coffee Talk, I’m trying to be better, you know, but I’m giving you real advice as to what I would do. Also try to do some healing shit like, I don’t know, walk, cook, read books, pray. But also do the other stuff. I don’t think you should feel bad about that. And by the way, you’re never too old to go through a ho phase. As long as your vagina still wakes up in the morning, I say it’s fair game. And honestly, why would you feel shame about it? Where does that shame come from? I’m just curious. Is it because you have an idea in your mind of how we’re supposed to cope in our 40s? Or is it because you’re afraid if people find out, they’ll judge you? They don’t care. I honestly don’t. I don’t think any of us should be jealous about any of our coping skills for anything. We do the best we can. We truly do the best we can. And if that’s letting some guy you don’t care about go down on you so that for 30 minutes you can feel better about yourself, then, yeah. I’m for it. Sign me up.
[36:55] Jaime Primak Sullivan: All right. Our last question comes from a listener who feels stuck in the things she’s done in the past. Let’s take a listen to what Kim has to say.
[37:07] Kim: Hey, Jaime. First and foremost, I love you and thank you for always showing up for us. Second, I would love to hear a podcast on how to forgive yourself. I’ve made a lot of mistakes that I’m not proud of. I have gotten through them, but I just have not figured out how to forgive myself. My name is Kim and I hope to hear from you.
[37:35] Jaime Primak Sullivan: I’ve done a lot of fucked-up shit in my life. I’ve hurt a lot of people. I’ve cheated, I’ve lied. Hurt friends. I’ve manipulated. I’ve renounced God. I told people there was no Santa Claus purposefully. I don’t know. One time I was at a party at college at this girl’s house off campus, and she had a dog she loved more than anything. And I stepped in dog shit at the party and I was so mad I left the fence open so the dog would run away. And he did. And it was the meanest thing I ever did. Here’s some good news: the dog was found. Here’s the other good news: 20 years later, when I messaged from Facebook and said, hey, you probably don’t remember me. She was like, yeah, I fucking remember you. What do you want? I was like, well, I stepped in dog shit after a few beers at your party and I was so mad I left the fence open and intentionally left your dog out. She was like, I knew it was you. I knew it. But like, of course you did because I was a walking asshole, you know. And I apologize to her. And she then confessed that she watched Coffee Talk and was very sorry to hear about Ace. And then we became friends on Facebook, and now I tell her everyday how beautiful her children are. And I’m really grateful that she forgave me. So, I mean, I don’t know, Kim, are you the girl that intentionally let somebody’s dog out of their backyard? Probably not. You’re probably not that bad.
[39:17] Jaime Primak Sullivan: There’s no way that I could raise healthy children and have a marginally happy, productive marriage if I lived in the past of who I was. If every day I got up and tried to mother my daughters and my son as the Jaime who shit on people and stole from them and cheated on them and lied to — I mean, I don’t know what kind of kids I would produce. Not the godly, loving, inclusive babies I have now. If you don’t want to forgive yourself for you, forgive yourself for the people that love you now and need you now. And honestly own it, because once you take control of the narrative of who you are, nobody can ever come out and use your past against you. Jaime was a stripper when she was 19, yeah, you’re fucking late to the party, buddy. I told everybody that, like 10 years ago. Like, there’s nothing you could say about me in my past. Jaime had a coke habit. Yep. Said that you tried to pie for the FBI. Couldn’t get in. Couldn’t even make it past second question. Did you do drugs in high school? Whoa. Should I lie to the FBI, Jaime? Probably not. OK. I’ll tell the truth. You’re fuckin canceled. OK, great. You know, I don’t think that hiding your past serves anything, because as we talked about in the lies and secrecy and shame episode, who wants to live with that? Secrecy breeds shame. So if you want to know something about me, I’ll tell you if I haven’t already told it. I’ll tell you, a lot of times I learned to say it’s not my story to tell because sometimes I feel like me telling a story sounds very one-sided and you don’t get to hear the other person’s part of it.
[41:05] Jaime Primak Sullivan: That’s why I didn’t tell people until last week who punched me in the face because it sounds really one-sided. Sounds like I’m the victim, even though I own the fact that my mouth is what got me there. See: bad girl phase. I’m still that chick. Give me a couple of drinks and put me in front of someone I don’t like and I’ll go from the like God loves us, we should really try to bring out the best in each other to bitch, I wish you would. Real fucking quick. I don’t love that about myself, but God is working on me. Are you growing? Are you doing the work, Kim? Every day are you genuinely trying to be better? Because if you are, let all that other shit go. What can people say about me? I was mean when I was young. I was a bully. OK, great. Who am I now? I truly believe that everybody should go through a bad girl phase. How you define that phase, whether it be challenging authority, having casual sex, standing up for yourself, cursing, I don’t know. Well, however you define it, whatever feels bad. Quote unquote to you. I encourage it. I think you learn a lot about yourself in the valley. Life can’t be all peaks, you know. Also, do you want to be awesome in bed? I think you do. The only way to get there is to try it. To have it. To do it. Not all of you were born just amazing in bed like I was.
[42:35] Jaime Primak Sullivan: And, you know, you may wonder how you know when you’ve reached or blown past the point of no return. When it stops feeling good, when it’s not serving you, when it’s not making you happy, when you no longer feel built up by the male attention, you’re starting to feel gross by it. You know your ho phase is over. When you have casual sex and you walk out high five-ing yourself, like, yeah, girl, that reverse cowboy, you killed it. You’re still good when you walk out going, who are you? You’re disgusting. Ho phase is over. And, you know, if you want to know what the point of it all is, if you’re listening to this, going I’m not sold. I’m not sold. My guess is you’ve probably already had a bad girl phase and you don’t have enough self-awareness to realize that you were a bad girl. Remember, we’re all the villain in someone else’s story. And someone somewhere thinks you went through a bad girl phase, I promise. And if you haven’t gone through an intentional bad girl phase, think about it. It’s a lot of fun. You learn a lot about yourself in the valleys. Remember, peaks are easy. Valleys are hard. But that’s today’s show. I hope you got something out of it. I actually did. I’m actually, like, really happy. I am. I feel really good about all the shit I’ve done, even though some of it was bad. It taught me how to apologize. It taught me accountability. It taught me how to say, like nah, that’s not cool. So I could teach the next generation what that behavior looks like. But, Jaime, would you encourage your kids to have a bad girl phase? Yes, I would. Maybe with a lot less destruction, you know.
[44:55] Jaime Primak Sullivan: Tell Me What To Do is a production of Lemonada Media. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease, and associate produced by Claire Jones. It’s edited by Ivan Kuraev. Music is by Dan Molad. Jessica Cordova Kramer, Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jaime Primak Sullivan are executive producers. Rate and review us, and follow us @LemonadaMedia on all your favorite social platforms. Of course, you can follow me at Jaime Primak Sullivan on Facebook or at Jaime P. Sullivan on Instagram. If you have any questions for me that you want me to answer on the show, give me a call at 833-453-6662.