I thought I was fine, but I'm starting to get sad again and it's driving me nuts! Why can't I just let go of this?
It's because all this childish crap never ends.
A couple of weeks ago, Jennifer was telling me about the catty girl behavior with which her daughter is already having to deal.
"Oh yeah. They start young," Marques told her.
"She's only eight!" Jennifer cried. Then all us girls gathered around to tell our tales of woe.
I remember being very "grown-up" even as kindergarten student. The claws started really coming out in first grade.
I don't remember dealing with a lot of it myself. I didn't enjoy it and would rather just play by myself than participate.
Every now and then, a girl reaches her limit.
Third grade had my limits peaking a lot. I snapped in very diva-like fasion, which was strange coming from a shy girl.
"Jessica! I have had it up to here with your bullshit!" I yelled in her face. I even punctuated the "here" I'd had it up to by flinging my hand far above my head.
Even worse, I got violent.
My friend Suzanne was all up in my face, making fun of me and wouldn't back off, so I slapped her. That got her to stop. That also got her to wail "Why would you do that to me???"
Much worse, it wasn't the last time I slapped her. But that was in sixth grade and going there would skip the great years.
The years where we were boys.
During my fourth and fifth grade years, most of us girls turned into total boys. At recess we threw off our coats and played football in the freezing cold. We got out our frustrations on the field. We were all right there in the fist-fights.
It got so violent that each class had to have some sort of group counseling sessions with our teachers.
Outside of school, I was apparently oblivious to the catty stuff.
I always thought the girl across the street, Cassie, and I were like sisters. Everyone even thought we looked alike. We both had long hair that my mom painstakingly braided into cornrows so we could do a Milli Vanilli lip synch. Yes I am that old.
It wasn't until just a few years ago that I found out I had been the victim of several counts of ill-will.
My mom told me about a time when I was playing outside with my brother. Suzanne and Cassie emerged from Cassie's house and started laughing and playing.
That night, Suzanne felt guilty and confessed to her mother that she and Cassie had gone outside and purposefully been extra loud in an effort to get me to feel jealous.
I guess it didn't work so well.
Then sixth grade came along. The worst of all the years.
In sixth grade, I had twelve best friends! You know how girls are. We're too afraid of hurting someone's feelings, or worse, of not being cool, so we don't want to deem just one person our best friend.
The reality is, probably only a few are your good friends. In my case, I had three close friends.
Cassie had moved back to California, so she wasn't in the picture anymore. Now, my most frequent playmates were Suzanne, Ashlee and Apryl.
Let me try to explain how this circle of friends worked. Every week, there was a different outcast.
I tended not to go about things the way they did, so I never really knew why one or both were mad at the other, but there was always one girl getting the silent treatment.
One day, I got my lunch and sat at our table. I started jabber-jawing away only to realize I was finally the victim.
"Are you kidding me?" I bellowed, getting up from the table. "You can kiss my ass, because I'm not playing this game!"
It got so bad that they all ended up hating each other and complaining to me about it. Miss Fraser, our fed-up teacher, sent us to the school counselor.
I was mortified. How could I have ended up in here when I hadn't done anything?
Mr. Cromwell kept asking us stupid questions, even though no one was responding. He would then look at me like he expected me to lead.
"I'm neutral," was my only response.
Then someone finally decided to break. "Quit saying you're neutral!" Ashlee exploded. "It's not some kind of a war!"
To me, though, it felt like some kind of war. I was in the middle and didn't want to say anything about anyone for fear of getting bombed with hatred myself.
The rest of my middle-school years were relatively calm. As was high school, really.
Most of the catty behavior I endured occured as a result of debate and forensics. Yeah. Totally nerdy.
I also remember the day our seating arrangements for The Singing Christmas Tree came out, I got the position of second from the top. A certain friend of mine didn't speak to me for about a week after that. Yeah. Still nerdy.
After that, things were okay until I went to KU. There were several small instances of malevolence.
The focus feature was the Lisa blowout. Someday, I'll try to figure out what all went down to put an end to our little family. But finding out how it really all began has hurt enough. Like, thinking Lisa and I started hanging out because we had common interests and then finding out all she ever wanted was to get close to Jackson. Ouch.
The rest of my life, until recently, has involved me laughing at others for being so immature. When my friends Cassie and Tonya managed to bungle their friendship, most of us attributed it to the fact that they were young.
We, as old foagies, could relate since we had been through similar stuff, but we were so over that stuff.
Or so I thought. My idea that all this cattiness goes away with age has been shattered as of late.