Monday, April 7, 2014

Mean Girls

I used to think that as I progressed into adulthood I would slowly start leaving certain aspects of childhood behind. Especially once I became a mother. That for me was a huge turning point in regards to turning my focus inward and looking at the type of person I was and who I wanted to become. I knew that as a role model for my children I had to keep close watch on who I let into my life and in how I acted towards and treated others. It has been awhile since I've dealt with a mean girl but it saddens me to encounter one when I am a 30 year old mom of 2. Even more so when this woman is a mom of little ones as well. I thought I had left the whole mean girl stage back in high school. Apparently I was wrong
I've had my fair share of experiences with mean girls. I was bullied horribly in middle school. I went to a private Catholic grade school and with only 25 kids in a class friends were limited. I also had very strict parents and braces and glasses by the time I reached 8th grade. All those combined made me an easy target by others.  I can still remember one April 1st when during lunch room a guy from my class stood up in front of everyone and asked me out. I obviously wasn't allowed to date but didn't want to hurt his feelings so I said yes. The whole cafeteria erupted into laughter as this was all some huge joke. The guys had dared him to ask me out and I was mortified. Little things like that made up my middle school experience and it is not something I ever want to relive. Nor do I want it to happen to my children. For high school my parents sent me to the Lutheran high school instead of the Catholic one where all my middle school classmates were going in hopes to avoid the same type of issues. And that helped. In high school I lost the braces and glasses and found my own niche of friends. In fact I usually had friends in every sort of group in high school. I sang in the choir and was on the popular dance team and my friends I didn't belong to one exact group. I was the same way in college having my friends include my co-workers, high school friends and college friends. I know that it can be hard to mix groups and that not everyone can get along but I don't like a group to define me
When I moved to Nc and then Fl it was hard to have to start over in regards to meeting friends. I joined a lot of groups to help me meet people and have made some pretty amazing friendships along the way. So it has been awhile since I've had an encounter with an all out mean girl and I'm struggling with the feelings of inadequacy and lack of confidence that this encounter has brought up
A few weeks ago in one of the groups that I belong to, we had a new member. I went over to introduce myself and to talk to this person and was met with the stink eye before she walked away. I thought maybe I was reading too much into the situation since it happened two days after the husband deployed and I was slightly emotional. But afterwards I had a few people come up to me and comment on it. They had all assumed this girl and I knew each other. But nope we had never met before and I was just as puzzled by her behavior as they were.
I decided to let it go and to just be the bigger person the next time I encountered her, And once again I was met with the same reaction. She was blatantly being rude. Which puzzled me. I dwelt on it for a few days and couldn't figure it out. Was it because when this girl met me I had on sweats and no makeup in comparison to her trendy outfit, skinny figure and perfectly straight hair, Was it because I had rubbed her the wrong way without even knowing it, was it because she is the sort of person to be stand offish until she really gets to know someone. But that couldn't be the case because I saw her talking with others in the group who she had also just met. The straw on the camels back came when we had an event that we had to go to be supportive for our groups members. I went willingly and was excited to show my support. When I approached her I was iced out and excluded. Everyone else was greeted, hugged and thanked. I left feeling like I was that 7th grader again being laughed at in the middle of the cafeteria
After I went home I couldn't get it out of my head. Was it the fact that this girl didn't even know me yet was still rude that bothered me or the fact that she was a part of a Christian group I am in and I couldn't get over that someone who called herself a Christian couldn't even say hi to me in our group setting 
Now I totally get that when it comes to groups not everyone has to hang out and be friends. Gotcha. I also understand that just because someone is a Christian, it doesn't mean that they are perfect and never make mistakes. Nor should I in any way judge them without getting to know them. But in this situation I feel like I have tried to be nice to this person every time I've seen them and to no avail. When I joined the groups that I am now a part of, I wanted to find a support system and to make connections with people. When your family lives in Wi and your husband is always away, finding ways to get involved in my community and people to connect with on a personal level are important. And when that doesn't happened I feel flustered. Not to mention that when things like these occur in a group setting it's hard to not to get caught in the comparison trap and let your self confidence take a hit. I started to worry that it was something about me that set her off, am I not pretty enough for this girl is def prettier than me. Am I not fashionable enough. Do I talk to much or to loudly or do I come across as rude without meaning to. The negative self talk went on and on in my head before I had to stop myself.
I could drive myself crazy wandering why this girl had taken an obvious dislike to me but I came up with the following conclusion. If someone doesn't like me for who I am or isn't willing to try getting to know me, than they are not worth knowing. And that is something I want to teach my kids. I have spent a few weeks worrying about what I could have done to this girl and by doing so I have let her win. No one is worth making yourself feel like crap over, No one
I would never want my kids to feel this way, nor would I want them to feel less than worthy of someone's friendship. While I fully agree that you should be kind and fair to others regardless of the way they treat you at some point you have to draw the line. I'm not going to go out of my way to try anymore with this girl and I firmly believe in standing up for yourself. I don't plan on being rude but I also am not going to put myself in a situation where I am made to feel inferior and less than worthy. For I don't deserve that
The only thing I can do about this situation is to let it go and move on. It has caused me to be more aware about how I  appear to other's, how I treat others and how I talk about others. We all get caught up and carried away in our daily lives and who knows. Maybe this girl has no idea about the way she has treated me. But it has forced me to be more intentional in my relationships with others. There are so many times I see someone at the store while I'm wrangling my two kids into a shopping cart and barely give a wave but if that's the case I try to at least text or fb them to apologize and to properly say hi. I never want someone to feel slighted by something I may have said or done, even if it wasn't on purpose. And it has made me more aware of the fact that the way I act towards others and treat people is the way my children will treat others. I don't want my children purposely hurting others or excluding people for fun. I need to teach them what is acceptable and what is not and many times that is not in the form of a lesson. It's in the form of them watching and learning from me
So in a way I owe this girl a big thanks for helping me set a new goal and that is as follows. I want to be the sort of person that teaches her children the right way to treat others whether it is waving hello to people as you see them, greeting someone that's new in a group, being intentional with friends and family, gossiping less, watching how I project myself on social media, how I interact with others and making sure that all these instances are positive instead of negative. Maybe if this is something we all start to practice our children will pick up on it and the effect on the world will be far greater than we could have ever imagined.

1 comment:

  1. I always thought that when you got older that this kind of stuff would stop. To me it has seemed to get worse. I'm so sorry you were treated that way.