And the girls could suddenly wound you, ’cause they’re experts at lying

Over the weekend, I finally saw Mean Girls. My friend and I both enjoyed it. It’s not going to win any Oscars, but it was cute and rang true as far as how girls relate to each other. I liked that, even though the “Queen Bee” was a mean girl, they didn’t make her completely one-dimensional. People aren’t, no matter how unkind they might be to one another. And the ending, where everyone had made their peace with one another, was very reminiscent of my high school experiences.

I went to a very small, rural high school in the Bible Belt, and as much as I didn’t fit in at the time, I look at movies like that and I realize how beneficial it was for me. The pressures weren’t as harsh as they would have been in a larger, more urban school where people were wealthier. A few weeks ago, I read Reviving Ophelia, which is about the struggles teenage girls face these days, and a lot of it resonated with me, but a lot of it was very surprising for me to read. I have heard girls say they won’t eat in front of boys, but I never acted like that. I love to eat, and I can’t remember ever holding back in front of a guy. And girls acting like they aren’t as smart as they really are so the boys won’t be intimidated? I can honestly say that that never ever crossed my mind. It’s like there was some “girl memo” that I never got. In Mean Girls, the main character doesn’t want to be on the Math Team because it’s “social suicide,” but there I was, rocking the Quiz Bowl team. That’s where all my friends were, plus I was never going to be that popular anyway. I’m not musically talented, and I was still pretty awkward-looking in high school, so getting good grades was my one skill, my niche, and I worked as hard as I could. I guess it helps that I am pretty competitive, so I never wanted to let anyone (male or female) beat me. But it is odd to me that it’s apparently a common girl thing to do.

That makes me thankful that my parents were and are so supportive. It would be wrong of me to paint a happy picture of my middle and high school memories, because I wouldn’t go back to that time for anything. Girls can be pretty vicious to one another, and I was both hurt and hurtful during that time. But my parents gave me a solid home base and let me know that they were my biggest fans . . . which meant I had to toe the line when they knew I wasn’t doing my best or I had been unkind or broken the rules in some way.

I’m on the list at the library for the book the movie was based on. I am not sure why I have been so interested in this topic lately, but I do hate the way girls that age are prone to tear each other apart. I look back at that time of my life with a lot of pain about some of the things that were said to me and embarassment about some of the ways that I was hurtful and inconsiderate. I am not sure whether any of this reading and pondering will lead me anywhere specific, like a youth ministry, but I have been thinking a lot lately about my tendency to respond out of insecurity, and how I have made some steps in that area in the past year. At least I can be thankful that I have come a long way in learning how to relate to people. And I’m very thankful I’m not in high school anymore.

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