DISCLAIMER: I’m on a roll. Let’s change ALL THE NAMES!!!!
I was 11 years old when my best friends, Amy and Angie (“The Twins”), befriended a girl outside of our regular social circle, Diane. They must have thought we were in Season 2 of our friendship.
Diane was cool enough, I guess, smart enough, I guess,
nice enough, I guess with shiny, straight black hair and almond-shaped eyes. Right off the bat, I felt like I couldn’t trust her. She never said it aloud, but it was obvious she was laying the groundwork for her Popular Crowd Migration to middle school, less than one year away.
During the years leading up to Diane’s initiation, The Twins and I had ridden our bikes to school together, joined the same summer swim team, and created a fantasy baby-sitting business, just like the one in the book series we obsessively read while sitting side-by-side in their shared bedroom.
Soccer, girl scouts, arts and crafts – The Twins and I were inseparable. By 5th grade, though, I was overweight and badly in need of braces; there was no way I was making the cut into Diane’s budding Popular Crowd. The Twins and Diane would still sometimes invite me over, but do their best to exclude me once they did. That winter, when we tried to build an igloo at Diane’s house, they told me they couldn’t make it big enough to fit me.
The following spring, The Twins and Diane invited me to meet them at a drug store in the neighboring town – the town where all the cool kids hung out after school. They wanted to get the latest must-have toy, DIY balloons. By squirting a dollop of liquid plastic on the end of a little red straw, you could blow a hardcore
bubble “balloon.” And then you could, ah, well, um. I don’t know. Stuff your training bra with it?
I couldn’t wait to get there. Babs (Mom) and I pushed the heavy drug store door open, the bells jingling as we looked left and right, trying to spot my crew. We wandered to the toy section…the card section…the toiletries section…back to the toy section. I did a double-take. The huge rack holding the balloon toys was empty. We waited. And waited some more.
I tried to ignore the dread pooling in the pit of my stomach. Eventually I accepted the truth.
They had told me to meet them there late.
I quickly did the math in my head. They each must have bought over a half-dozen balloon packs to clear out the store before I had gotten there. Now that’s commitment. I stopped speaking to them after that, and shortly afterwards, my 5th grade teacher caught me after school.
“Is everything okay?” she asked, her kind face crumpling with concern. I was a straight-A student; I was never held back to talk to the teacher after school, let alone forced to witness her Pity Face. I was mortified.
“Everything’s fine,” I muttered and bolted out the door. Were all the parents talking about me? It was bad enough being in the same classroom with Diane every day.
Angie, The Good Twin, tried and failed to apologize, explaining that she was just going along with the other two. All this did was remind me that their evil plan had been real.
The next year, I started having panic attacks on the way to middle school. I was teased for being heavy and wearing
weird quirky clothes, and had the sinking feeling it wasn’t ever going to get any better. The drug store incident had been nothing compared to the bullying some endure, but for a sensitive pre-teen, the moment was life-altering.
That was the moment I could have decided to let them win, to become one of them. To look at the world through the lens of, “How does this make ME feel?” instead of, “How does this make YOU feel?”
The mean girls reminded me exactly how to treat other people.
And by that I mean how NOT to treat other people.
Us mean girl prey know we never want anyone to suffer like we once did. And we love the role they played in our lives. Without their cruelty, we might never have cultivated such huge-ass hearts.
What did the mean girls/boys teach you?
29 thoughts on “The Mean Girls are Why I Hate Igloos”
I think my heart broke for you at their igloo comment. What repulsive little monsters children are.
I know the wonderful woman you are today is a result of all the experiences you had back then… but I wish I could hop in the Delorean and go back to smack those little bitches for you!
I think anyone who survives middle school should get a Delorean, don’t you?
Absolutely. Especially girls… we earned it!
Girls are dicks. And honestly, best friend Jules, I think we are the same person…at least, we were growing up. My heart hurts for you back then because my life was the same. But we are so much better now. And even more quite honestly, those mean girls grew up to have bad skin, bad habits, and those bitches got fat! :p
Ahhh I knew we were LIKETHIS *pointing between my eyes and yours* (And this is me biting my tongue about describing what I heard happened to all of them by high school…on the off chance that their mother ever sees this…who I absolutely adore… See how I think of other people’s feelings?!)
I know I should be a little nicer about it, but it *does* give me some deep-seeded pleasure to see those girls (and guys) who picked on me for being a little chubby in my younger days have grown up to be heavier. (And look at me, I’m a personal trainer now so *TAKE THAT* mean girls!) I should be nicer.
Does the fact that I’m snickering into my coffee while twirling my mustache make you feel any better?
Beautifully written, Jules–i was right there with you! My big lesson in 7th grade was about my comment in a “slam book” someone (mean) had started. Hooray–i was asked to write in it first! Trying to be cool when I actually felt completely awkward, I wrote “You’ve got to be kidding” under a nervous, thick-glasses-wearing girl’s name.
The homeroom teacher soon nabbed the notebook and confronted me at my locker.
After confirming that yes, I had written that, she demanded to know “Who do you think you are?” My parents would have been ashamed of me.
Thanks, Miss Brown. And thanks for the space to share my tale, Jules!
Thank you! You are so badass for sharing this. Writing this story also had me thinking about times I might’ve been on the flip-side… I will never forget being on the train with my girlfriends, tipsy and 24, loudly talking about bad dating experiences. This guy in the seat next to us gave me the BUSINESS for smack-talking other people, and I was horrified to realize that in that moment, I really did sound like the mean girl. Twelve years later and that memory still haunts me!
You aren’t stalking them now and plotting ways to get revenge,bare you? If so, please ask for suggestions.
Did I ever tell you about the time a huge, festering zit on the end of my nose popped and sprayed zit pus while I was talking to two cute blondes?
Nooooo. Oh man, that story wins. It wins. And revenge ideas? GO!
Do I get another book?
Working on the revenge ideas. So far I can’t think of anything that won’t get you put in jail.
For the right idea, it could be worth it… (Plus I’m looking to save money on rent.)
Hahahahaaaaaa… Nice 👌!!!
Yup. Right around fifth and six grade was when the girls turned into real Bitches. What brings me peace is knowing that today, those women still walk around with little insecure children deep inside, while I no longer do. Yet I’ll also never forget being the insecure little bitch who teased a younger neighbor girl, getting caught by her mother. (The dynamics in my home were not healthy).
I wish I knew you then! Your story brought up so many emotions for me. Mean girls? Yeah, I’ve met a few in my time.
But to be perfectly honest, the one thing that stands out to me the most is how I picked on a boy that lived on the next street when I was about 7 years old. He had super curly hair and I would ride my bike past him and yell out, “Hey mophead! What’s up MOPHEAD?!” Why did I do that? I could come up with a thousand excuses (mostly that my own brothers picked on me relentlessly growing up) but none of that matters. I am ashamed I teased that boy over 40 years later!
In terms of what did mean boys/girls teach me? Well, I grew up in a small circle of friends, I would call us the “outcasts” or “misfits”. My best friend had cerebral palsy. She was made fun of on a daily basis. Kids (in high school!) would ask her if she was drunk (she walked with a very strong limp) or make fun of her stutter. My other best friend was black. Kids would call her names all the time. So I saw what happens when insecure kids team up to tear someone down. I saw my friends cry in private. My dad taught me to ALWAYS stand up for people that are being judged or looked down on. This is what I’ve learned. To not to judge others for being different in any way.
Aw man, I might have actually made it to real high school if I’d had you as a friend!! I feel like we should hold some sort of ceremony where we burn the stories of when we were most bullied, and most bully-ish. (I’ll build the fire outside my tent in your backyard.)
YESSSS!!! I never even got to all the times I was bullied growing up (I wore glasses, did well in school, was the teacher’s pet, saw dead people…etc…) Why, if we gather up all our stories and burn them, the warmth of that ginormous bonfire will keep you toasty all night long in that tent!!
I’m planning to leave for Maine tomorrow because I think this is going to take a while.
My high school years were similar to yours. I ran a b+ average. Managed an A- overall by end of senior year. But, though I had many friends, there were those who picked on me, making my school day miserable. Yes, I learned how to treat people well.
So glad to hear that the negative experiences deepened your empathy, Scott, though it always saddens me to hear people have gone through the same!
I imagine for every one of us that speaks up about it, there are 1 or 2 who remain quiet.
I joined in making fun of a girl in the 5th grade. I felt so guilty and ashamed afterwards that I couldn’t even bring myself to apologize. After that experience I was never able to not stick up for other people. I got in fights and took some serious beatings trying to give other weak kids a chance to run. I wish I had had the balls to apologize to that girl right away. I still regret my stupid name calling and sheep following decades later. Even now I get instantly angry when I see the strong picking on the weak and I know part of me is still mad at myself for not standing up for that girl in the 5th grade.
Soul Walker! It’s nice to “see” you! What a powerful moment; it sounds like a heck of a lot of good came out of that one not-so-good moment, if it had you standing up for people for the rest of your life! (Sometimes I try to separate myself from childhood me so that I can look at “her” with total empathy. “She was only 11, for crying out loud, she was doing the best she could.”)
Here’s to seeing the positive (raises glass).