Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mean Girls

I have promised my dear friend Jeannie that I would do a blog about YA books that I love but the clock is ticking on catching up on the last two episodes of Glee and I want to be able to do a big blog at the end of the year as a "Best YA Books that I Read in 2010" sort of thing. So I guess my eight followers will just have to wait for it. (See END OF BLOG NON-SEQUITUR for Sneak Peak).

In the meantime, I would like to take a moment to talk about "mean girls." Certainly, we have all interacted with mean girls in our lives. In a HS class of 800, I have definitely had my fair share of mean girl altercations. And yet, never have I understood exactly what drives mean girls until this past year when I have had to watch my daughter navigate through the difficult waters of girl nastiness.

My daughter has a "friend" who has taken it upon herself to point out every single one of Jojo's shortcomings. This "friend" has decided that Jojo can only play with her at recess. She has also pointed out on several occasions how she (the friend) believes Jojo to be a mean girl. I am not certain how this vicious cycle has begun but I know that Jojo is lodged in the middle of it.

I also know that my constant refrain to Jojo that she should spend time with girls who "build her up instead of tear her down" has done very little to improve the situation. Finally, after spending a long weekend in the company of this girl (for what can only be described as the Brownie Horseback Riding Weekend from Hell), I have figured it out. This "friend" is indeed a victim of other mean girls. I watched how other girls treated her all weekend long and then I watched her turn it around on Jojo. It was a train wreck from start to finish but I now see why Jojo doesn't feel like she can step away from this girl.

In Anne Lamott's OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS, she laments (upon finding herself pregnant, alone and broke) not about the difficulty that she will have as a single mother but instead on the difficulty of having to watch a child go through 7th and 8th grade. She points out how much middle school BITES and how she doesn't want to watch her son experience all that pain. Jojo is not in 7th grade yet but I understand the sentiment perfectly. This is a lose-lose situation and it is difficult to watch my daughter trying to work it out. Sadly, I am also of the belief that it will get much worse before it gets better.

That being said, I am hopeful that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Mean girls are hard. They are not the clich├ęs from movies but tend to be mean for reasons that are often unfathomable to an outsider. For Jojo, she will have to learn to balance her tendency to champion every underdog with her sense of self-protection. I imagine it will not be the easiest lesson to learn and yet I know that she will get through it. Additionally, Jojo wants to be a writer when she grows up and maybe working through this will somehow help her in that area.

I don't wish my difficult HS experiences on Jojo (although I do hope she has a Barb, Dust and Lindsey) but surely I can hang on to the delusion that I went through all that drama in high school so that one day, I would be able to write with understanding about it. My eight loyal followers would not begrudge me that???


For anyone interested:

What I have just finished reading: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins--So fabulous that I don't know where to start. I would recommend it to any and all teenage girls that I know (including those of us who are still teenage girls at heart).

What I am starting on tonight right after I catch up on last 2 episodes of Glee: BEASTLY by Alex Flinn--I am suspicious of this one because a teenage retelling of Beauty and the Beastcould be as much of a disaster as the teenage retelling of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (not that I didn't see Cruel Intentions at least 3 times before having to do a self-intervention on all Ryan Phillippe movies) but I will withhold judgment until I have read the whole thing.

What level of Black Ops Julio is on: 45

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