Saturday, July 01, 2006

Friendship

They had gathered in a cluster laughing and being exclusive. I approached my friends eager to join in on the fun.

"Hey."

"Oh she's here," said the ringleader to the group. She held out a bag. "Everyone take one."

"What's going on? Can I have one?" I asked.

"Who got the short straw?" She commanded the others. There was relief on a couple of my friend’s faces. "Oh it's you. Remember you've got to do it," she urged the winner of the game pushing her a step closer in my direction.

One of my sweetest friends clenched the short straw in her fingers. "Umm... we've all decided, that..." she quietly paused while looking at the ground, "that you can't hang out with us anymore."

I recall the leader of the pack's smug, satisfied expression.

At that point I don't remember what I said. It was too shocking. Too horrifying. Too devastating.

I was feeling the world crush the spirit of my eleven year old self. However it was not the first time my circle of friends had pushed me to the outskirts so I hope that I reacted by putting on a brave face and saying a brilliant comeback line that made them feel at least an ounce of my pain. It is more likely that tears sprung to my eyes and I quickly scooted away to the washroom to compose myself for the remaining classes of the day.

What followed were many sad days that turned into weeks. A couple of my friends secretly hid that they chatted with me. It was the leader's loyal sidekick that somehow convinced her that I should be allowed back in. A little piece of my innocence was washed away. A life lesson about trust was learned the hard way. I began building those invisible walls for self-preservation.

I have long forgiven these girls who grew up to become lifelong friends. It was a childish incident but it's not something that can be forgotten. It hides in the back of my brain and when I'm nervous about social settings it springs forward. I become that eleven year old girl again.

Yesterday armed with the protective layer of Buttercup and Strawberry I entered a room that had some of the best women of the blogworld. We later regrouped sans children over adult beverages. They were exactly as I've come to know them through their words. Amazing. They were just as wonderful as I had imagined. I look forward to getting to know these women and hopefully others as there really are some intelligent, thoughtful and kind women out there. There are more gin and tonics to be drunk and more conversations to be shared. I wasn't even anxious looking down at my short straw.

22 Singing the blues:

mamatulip said...

What a post! I love this. I'm so glad you had a good time....(and only a bit jealous). ;)

metro mama said...

It was nice meeting you.

Yep, there are many more conversations. And gin and tonics. ;)

Sunshine Scribe said...

That was brilliantly written. Fabulous post.

I was so glad to meet you yesterday. When you weren't there at first I was like ... but Jana HAS to come. Isn't Jana coming?

Looking forward to sharing more short straws (ala gin and tonics) again soon!

bubandpie said...

That one hit me right in the chest. I remember the very first time I came across that kind of game-playing. I was either 4 or 5 years old, and a neighbour befriended me on the condition that only the two of us would play together - NOT my best friend. The next day, she switched - the best friend was welcome and NOT ME. Or it may have been the other way around; either way I was guilty of falling for her little manipulative trick and thinking that her friendship was some great prize that I would sacrifice others' feelings to achieve. After her little two-day tyranny, BF and I teamed back up again and didn't play with her anymore.

So loved meeting you last night. We were kind of at opposite corners - maybe in a couple of months we can reconvene and get a chance to chat a bit more.

kittenpie said...

That was such a great post - I always love it when people tie things together so neatly. (I am way to much of a rambler, it impresses the hell out of me when people are so cohesive!)

I love meeting you - and hope to see you again soon! Give your ever-so-cute girls a little squeeze, since I didn't want to pounce on them in person and freak them out. (And sorry to hear you had your own mean girls moment - how nasty and pettily cruel, but good for you for being the bigger spirit and letting them become good friends for later!)

Her Bad Mother said...

I've had that experience myself, and, as you know, had it recently in real life. So it was extra-wonderful to sit down with you all and recognize you all as friends.

Thanks for writing this, Jana. Here's to many, many more drinks with straws...

Naomi said...

Ah, the mean girls. So many of us have experienced them.

I'm very jealous, and wish I could have been there. Glad it was fun, though!

chelle said...

how torturing...mean girls suck!

Cool beans you met some fellow bloggers! I so need to do that some day!

nonlineargirl said...

Wow. I am impressed you still know those people. I'm not sure I'd be so big hearted, even if they were just kids at the time.

Mommy off the Record said...

I'm having so much fun reading all of the posts about the "Blogher Toronto" gathering. I hear Strawberry's curls were a hit! But then, I knew they would be!

Glad you had fun and have started some "real-life" friendships. This was quite a touching post.

lildb said...

oh, man. that story - geeeez. yep. bitches, man. bitches.

meanwhile, back in Toronto -- yow! you all got together *and* had an awesome time *and* hung out later with each other and some gin and tonics?

sunnuvabitch. I need to move to Toronto.

I'm so glad you guys all had such an awesome time. :)

cameo said...

hey lady! i'm out makin' the rounds and wanted to say hello! hope all is well with you. and i'm with nonlinear - i can't believe you still are friends with those girls. you're good people.

Izzy said...

I'm so glad you went and had a great time. That's awesome. And regarding your old friends, you are a very kind and forgiving person. I'm not sure I could have done it :)

Nut's mom said...

Hi!

I love your blog!! I've seen it linked at a few of my friend's sites! I am so glad I stopped by.

YOur post reminds me of the Frigging 7th grade dance in my junior high. I couldn't believe Jamie, Sarah and HEather! what bi*ches!! my god, it was painful!! and that age too!!

I'll be back!! I bookmarked your site on my computer.

Joanna

carrie said...

It is through experiences like the one you described that we all know we weren't alone. A girl that was mean to me when I was 10 is now dating a co-worker of my husbands and I get nervous if I think I'll run into her. Like she's going to leave me alone in the woods and tell me there are wolves at 33???

Chantal said...

Awesome post!

Even though I went on to become a "ringleader" of sorts, the day my best friends did this to me at 12 still seems like yesterday. Reading what you said, it could have been me. You described it so accurately.

During my 3 weeks as an outcast, I wore skirts (something we only did while timed together), did my hair how I wanted and talked to everyone I wanted to. I felt surprisingly free. To this day I wonder why I immediately went back to their exclusive ways once they decided to include me again.

Marcie said...

I think almost everyone can relate to your story of mean girl treachery. I hope and pray my daughters will get to skip that part of growing up.
Sounds like you had a lot of fun with the fellow bloggers:)

Mom101 said...

This story is just crushing because I don't know one person who hasn't been on the receiving end of cruelty like that. What a wonderful way to introduce your bloger meetup. Things really do come full circle and the good guys (gals) do win sometimes.

Mrs. Chicky said...

You killed me with the first part of your story. Its heartbreaking that so many of us have been there, in one form or another. I am so glad you met up with the other TO bloggers and had a fantastic time.

Domestic Chicky said...

Yay for you! The wonderful women I've met so far have been the best!

scarbie doll said...

I am so sad that we missed each other. Really and truly. I hope we can try to meet up again in the future.

J's Mommy said...

what a heartbreaking story but i'm glad you were able to make some new friends!