My stepdaughter thinks we are weird. We = her dad and me. Mostly him, because he was at the school, doing a science demo in her brother’s class, and he stopped by her lunch period to sit with her. With his guitar.
His presence there was clearly the Worst Thing Ever. She literally kicked him out. Poor dad was puzzled because at home she is affectionate and very trusting of him. They often have long, serious conversations while I make fart sounds for the little boys.
I get it. She’s in 4th grade and the popular girls are in her class. And they saw her and her dad (with said guitar) in the lunch room. Totally weird.
My mind went to 7th grade when I had 3 friends, a girl who went to a different school, and two boys. I don’t know what it was about me, but the girls were mean. I suppose I was an easy target. I was a late bloomer, a bit naive, a dedicated student.
One morning, I wore a new hooded sweatshirt (a Chanukah present from a cool store in the mall) to school. It had multicolored stripes. I felt very grown up for my 12 years. As I was waiting outside for the bell to ring, The Most Popular Girl walked up to me. I though she was going to tell me how cool my shirt was. Score.
Nope. She told me never to wear it again. She already had it, and I knew that when I bought it, and how dare I wear it to school. What if we had dressed alike. How embarrassing. And she stomped off, laughing with her friends.
That is my memory of it. I don’t really remember much about 6th and 7th grade. My mom says I cried most days after school from one horrible incident with the Popular Girls or another.
It is kind of pathetic, but I still worry about my friends. It is difficult for me to see my friendships clearly. There were times in middle school where I was close enough to popular to be invited to birthday parties and to the mall. But something would happen, I have no idea what, and I wasn’t good enough any more.
I’m an adult now with a husband, children, a house. I don’t worry about wearing the same clothes as anyone, but I still don’t feel confident in my friendships. Thanks, a lot, Bitches.
I can see, looking back, that the way I dealt with them is the same way I deal with impossible people now. I wonder if that is just Me or if I can really change my reactions, change my flight into a fight.
I wonder how my life would be different if I hadn’t experienced that bullying in middle school. Would I have pushed myself in a different direction without fear of rejection? Would I still be trying to shape myself into someone else to fit in?
I wonder how to help my step daughter. She is quiet, studious, pretty. Will she have the courage to stand up for her love of math and science? Will she be able to find a group of friends that she likes and that like her?
Being a girl is hard.