Mean Girls

Mean Girls

two women sitting on rock facing on body of water and mountain
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com

I never was one of the popular kids in school. I had my moments and friends. But I rarely was popular or liked by others. Tolerated maybe.

At the age of 12/13 it got so bad, I started skipping school. I dreaded going there, sitting there, spending the breaks by myself. So I decided not to go to school at all. Rather than going to school, I’d spend my days outside by myself. I skipped so much school, it was noticed and by the end of school year, I had to change schools and repeat that grade. In the new school things started pretty good, but then went back to being similar. Not as bad. I wasn’t as unhappy. But still not good.

I was always a bit different. And I’m sure I did things which didn’t help with the other kids.
Then I discovered boys. And things changed. Although, I’m not sure they changed for the better or worse. Maybe both.
I was quite popular with the boys. Which of course wasn’t too well received by other girls. Names like “slut” have been used. Little comments, teasing (not the good kind), looks. All I wanted was to belong, to be liked, but I ended up feeling alone. A lot.
Something about me was wrong. I was not good enough, not enough. Not pretty enough. Not “normal” enough. Not enough like the others.

As I grew older, I found friends outside of school. Even outside the city I lived in. I had close female friends, but only a few. Most of my friends were boys and I enjoyed that.
But also they didn’t always give me the feeling of being enough. I was told several times that I’m a girl one marries, but not dates. Or I was someone to make out with.
But some of the boys were my friends and I was theirs. Being a friend was a good thing. Until they got a girlfriend. There are plenty women out there, who hated me at some point in their life. The reason was that I was a close friend of their boyfriend.
And I tried. I tried to be friends with these girls. In some cases it went so far that the guys were told not to be in contact with me. And I promise, I behaved.

Today, many years after school, I have friends I choose to spend my time with. I’m not forced to be with people I don’t get along with, like I was in school. Looking back, I don’t even think about it much. And sometimes it feels so silly. It’s just a couple of years and today I never see these people. But when you’re in the situation, it feels like it’ll stay like that forever. The days and hours seem endless.

As silly as I find it all today, many of the experiences and feelings stuck with me. And the way society looks at women’s relationships doesn’t necessary help.
I have a hard time trusting, especially women. Often I find myself wondering whether someone is just with me, because they need something from me or there’s no one better around. And they will leave, once there is. In my mind, it can’t be that someone wants to spend time with me, be my friend, be with me because of me. It takes years for me to accept it.

While that is true for both men and women, it really is especially hard for me in my relationships with women. A part in my brain keeps telling me “don’t forget, girls are mean”.
So I read into everything, I overthink, and I find myself feeing like I’m in some sort of competition. Looking at what they do, have, can – comparing it to what I don’t do, don’t have, can’t.
In my head, I can never be enough.
I find it hard to believe they see me as their equal. The only thing less believable is being seen as a threat. It’s so absurd.

“Girls are mean”, my head tells me. They say things to hurt you. They play on your insecurities. They use you to get what they want. They don’t like you.
I have learnt that lesson for so long that it’s seared into my brain. Logically I know it’s not true. And looking back, in the years since school, I have definitively been hurt more by men than by women. And yet, I’m more scared of being hurt by a woman than a man. I blame the girls from school, I blame society, I blame men (they are usually the problem).

Putting blame on others and circumstances is not helpful, because it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make me feel differently. If only it was this easy.

I have now been sitting at my PC, looking at what I wrote, wondering what I could write as a conclusion. But I have no idea. Maybe it is a topic that needs to be revisited again and again. Maybe one day I will have answers for myself. Maybe it’ll change and I will feel different.
But for now it’s the writing that needed to happen.

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