For the umpteenth time yesterday, I realized that another party I planned myself was tanking. So, I scrapped the plans for a get together and moved on, just a little disappointed and refusing to feel heartache.
Then I posted something silly on Facebook, one of those “describe me in one word” games, and only a handful played along.
And I pour my heart into many of these blog entries only to find that, according to Word Press stats, only 4 people read them. On average. Sometimes it’s just one. (In my crazy defense, I mostly check those to see which kinds of posts people read most, so I know where my strengths are. Or so I know which day or time of day people read.)
Guess I’m feeling a little sorry for myself and so I started to try to figure out why this always happens to me.
When I was 11, I invited almost all the girls in my 6th grade class to a birthday party. Day of the party, party time comes, goes, 30 minutes later, no one is there. I start calling my friends. No one ever intended to come. It was humiliating and terrible. Girls are so mean.
Then the next year, we move from Baltimore City to Bel Air in the suburbs and I go to public school for the first time. I clearly stick out like a sore thumb. A group of girls befriend me suddenly. I am elated. It is a dream come true. The next week, I find a note stuffed in my locker. Written by the “ring leader” and signed by the rest, it tells me that I’ve been a fool to think that they really would deign to be my friend. That I am four-eyed, flat chested and fat, have dumb curly hair (bad perm- it was 1986, ok?), and wear ugly clothes and shoes. They even drew a picture of me with a large circle for a body, and wild squiggles atop my head. I was deflated, defeated, down and out. It was awful. Girls are so mean.
My mother grew up in a family of six girls and one boy, and her experience with kids outside the family was fairly limited. I think her advice to me was “they are just jealous” or “you don’t need them.” I doubt they were jealous, but I definitely took the idea that I don’t need them to heart.
I think my belief that I don’t “need” people has led to my lack of a vibrant social life.
I have always had one or two friends, but no one really close. (With a few brilliant exceptions of course. You know who you are.) I find it incredibly hard to put myself out there, in real life, and let people get to know me. And I always believe that a friend could turn on me in a moment’s notice.
Example: Once when I was home on a break during college, before I had a license, a group of friends lied to me and said they weren’t going out, even though they did, because no one wanted to come pick me up. Gah. Even women can be kinda mean.
I found myself last night thinking of those terrible girls in middle school and wondering if they are still friends with each other. I wonder if they’ve ever felt lonely. I wonder if their plans ever fell through and left them alone with no one to talk to.
And I sit here, a grown woman with a family of my own, reliving that adolescent drama every time someone cancels or ignores me or is too busy to come to my party. And so I retreat within and remind myself I don’t need anyone and then I’m lonelier than ever.
Girls are mean.