Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Re-living Jr. High

Its my biggest nightmare. I recall with vivid accuracy many aspects of my girlhood adolescence. I remember the name of the "Queen Bee" of our school who reigned supreme over all of the terrorized girls in our class. She wasn't the prettiest girl nor was she the richest. So how was she crowned queen? She was queen of the mean. She did it in subtle ways all the while escaping attention of the nuns and teachers at my small Catholic school. She was sweet on the outside and cold and calculating on the inside. Unlike the male bullying that my brother endured (mainly because he was quiet and unassuming and wore "hip" shoes that my mom bought him not realizing she was making him a target for "unhip" boys everywhere) which was overt and consisted of hitting or stealing his books, girls had a more subversive form of control.

It wasn't considered "bullying" back then for girls, it was considered a right of passage. That's just how girls are and you must be doing something wrong or you aren't being nice enough to fit in with the "popular girls." I coped by not caring and by finding friends who were, like me, a bit quirky, a bit different. I coped by being a clown and by smashing the lunch of a red headed girl in school. Yes, I guess I was affected and stood in line in the pecking order that had been covertly established in girl-world. I did my fair share. But when I smashed her lunch, it was in a playful way and it was funny (or so I thought.) Ironically this girl remains one of my best friends to this day. She just sat there with me, eating her smashed sandwich and came to expect it from me everyday.

While I wasn't directly targeted by the Queen Bee, I had friends who were and I was certainly affected by it. It wasn't just the Queen Bee, it was girl groups in general. The cliques. Like the saying on Project Runway, "One day you're in, and the next day you're out." There were times when we were invited into the realm of the Queen Bees only to be banished for no reason. There were times when rumors were spread, or when others endured the ostracizing, the public shunning which served only to remind us others to keep our heads down lest we experience the wrath of the Queen Bee and her court. I was so relieved to move on to high school where the problems were still there but it was a new Queen. And by the time high school rolled around, I was into art and theater and didn't really care what the others thought. In fact, I was a rebel and made it my mission to be different and NOT fit in. Thus snubbing my nose at the Queen Bees and their intricate world of betrayal. I found friends who were similar. I stopped smashing my red-headed friend's lunch. I found who I was, as an individual as part of a group of other individuals all of whom had their own quirks. Moving onto college, I had my share of friendship issues but always had a few close friends around me so it wasn't so much of a problem. I thought those days were far behind me.

And then I had a daughter.

And now this daughter is turning 12.

And now I'm re-living every moment as if the wounds were fresh.

Why? Because I'm experiencing all of the painful hardships that my daughter is now going through. She's had a rough couple of years but has always managed to keep her head up. Unfortunately, its not getting any better and the school that she loved has now turned into a dreaded place ruled by various Queen Bees and other minions who follow them. Unfortunately, the minions are just as heartless as the Queens, if not more so. So my heart bleeds for my daughter who is experiencing her first betrayal of "good friends" whom she had thought were loyal and true is finding herself "friendless." I can only be here to hold her up and encourage her to be true to herself and things will get better.

Thankfully, the treacheries of the girl-world is becoming more defined and the silent treatment, the exclusion and shunning, the mean looks, the rumor spreading, the ganging up on a girl, the two faced turning your back and the manipulating of relationships is now all seen as silent bullying. The bully is no longer the big muscled jock who pummels the 50 lb weakling.

Now...dealing with it effectively and keeping my daughter's spirits up in the meantime, that is the dilemma. I've found some resources that may be helpful. I hope so.


1 comment:

Magpie said...

Poor girl. I hope it gets better soon.....