One of my good friends in college was sitting next to me in a class one time, glanced over at my notebook where I was taking notes, and said, “Your handwriting looks like the mean girl’s in middle school”. Well, that was laser accuracy. I was such a bitch in middle school. Not really in the way you’re thinking, though. I didn’t outright bully people or beat them up or call them names or anything. I was just passive and unwilling to engage, which for a twelve year old girl is terrifying.
My friends and I lovingly named ourselves the “Fab Five”. I also heard rumors that people called us the “Rich Bitches”. This was dumb, mostly because in our town outside of Milwaukee, everyone was pretty much upper middle class. We went to private, Catholic school for god’s sake, it’s not like we were in a different socioeconomic class than any of our classmates. I didn’t even know what that meant. I’m pretty sure it just meant that we had Uggs like a day before everyone else in our class.
So there were five of us girls who were all honestly sweet girls without a menacing bone in our bodies. But, we had matching vests and Uggs, so that made us a clique. We were popular, I guess, but popularity in middle school is honestly so laughable that I shudder at calling us that. We did have a lot of friends though. We graduated with thirty-five in our class, so we were probably friends with almost all of those kids, barring a few, because, just in general, life leaves people out of things.
On half days, which seemed to happen a lot not that I look back on it, we would go with all of our friends to a local restaurant, annoy the servers there, then all walk back to my house to hang out. It was amazing. The restaurant even had our school schedule so they would know when they’d be getting awful customers and terrible tips. We often had around fifteen people with us on those days, so for me it seemed like it was common knowledge that everyone was invited.
Enter “Circle Time”. A sort of exercise that our religion teacher came up with. It was pretty much just a group therapy session, which sounded cool, but ended up just being the rest of the class complaining about the five of us, or probably me in particular. Not because I was necessarily the leader, but because I was the loudest of the five of us. There was not a single “circle time” that didn’t end with some girl running out the room to cry in the bathroom. It was always about how we left other girls out. I would always say that everyone was invited to everything we were doing, which I guess was technically true, but the one or two times that someone new would come to hang out with us, we’d all kind of ignore that person or talk around them. It was so mean. It was mean in a way that sticks with you. You can learn to get over hurtful words or a scratch, but no words. Goddamn that was bad.
It wasn’t all the time, though, and this is obviously a super short account of what happened, but I still sometimes feel bad for how I treated people in middle school.
Is that weird?