Mean Girls

I was never one of the popular kids.  My circle of friends include, to this day, some of those kids, as well as some geeks, some athletes, some theater types, and a wide variety of the uncategorizable.  I remember a party a friend had for me to celebrate my getting into grad school that degenerated into clumps of people who only knew each other – and me.

When I’ve told people that particular story before, they’ve said nice things about how clearly I draw together different types of people, and how that shows how open I am to those different types.

Oh, bullshit.

That might sound good, but what it really shows is that I don’t fit in.  At the age I’m at now, I’m pretty okay with that.  But I still have those moments in which I feel like I’m watching the party from the outside.  I’ll be with friends with whom I have a long common history, and find that they share experiences that not only was I not invited to share, but that I was unaware of until that moment…when they discuss those experiences as though, to them, I was there.  Or as though I should at least remember the story.  And when they say “don’t you remember?”, sometimes I’ll lie and say yes.  And sometimes I’ll say “no, I wasn’t there” (or even “no, you never told me”) and watch them squirm.

I’m lucky in that I was never one of the real targets of teasing and bullying, though I did come in for my share.  There was one really embarrassing nickname I was “given” in junior high that haunts me…and the worst part is the “friend” who gave it to me probably still thinks it’s funny.  And despite all the writing and films about the “queen bees” and the “mean girls”, in my experience, the boys were much, much, much worse.

So I spent a lot of energy trying to fit in – and found every excuse as to why I did not.  I couldn’t afford the “cool” clothes (until I learned how to be the expert shopper I still am);  I wasn’t good at anything important (except I can’t really say that with a straight face); I was fat (thank you, Bikram Yoga and Weight Watchers); I’m a big loser (still working on this one).  And after spending all that energy, I finally came to the best conclusion.

Being an outsider is not so bad most of the time.  And when it is, I just think about how much worse it was in junior high.  No one would DARE give me a nickname I don’t like now – at least not one they would use to my face!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alfred Fredel
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 17:45:38

    good post…


  2. Suzanne Demcisak
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 19:42:28

    I’ve actually learned to value being an outsider; of course, that is partly because I never wanted to be an insider. I just wanted the insiders to leave me the hell alone. Also, because of the choices I’ve made, my outsider status isn’t nearly as obvious as it used to be. But as I’ve become more confident, I’m more likely to use my outsider status to help me remember that I really am not required to accept everything I’m told at face value. Outsiders might as well think outside the box, because that’s where we are anyway.


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