Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rotten Fruit

Mean Girls.

We all survived them in school, albeit with a few literal and figurative scars. I can think of a lot of mean girl moments but I will NEVER forget Heather Wallin and Crystal Ball chasing me on the playground and pelting me with overripe fruit that squished every time they hit their target.(I predict that Crystal Ball became a stripper without ever having to change her name, if karma exists.)  I always assumed that Mean Girls grow up and became nicer. I thought that age brought wisdom and kindness. Silly me, I thought that age softened the edges a little, rounded out the sharp corners and dulled the jaggedness.

Nope. Mean Girls just grow up into Mean High Schoolers and then into Mean Women. They might get a little better at the Art of Mean, a little savvier at cloaking it in 'caring and concern', but they are still mean. Maybe they learn to keep it under wraps until the mob mentality makes them say things that they will wide-eyed and earnestly apologize for the next day. Maybe they act like they are watching out for you, saying things like "I heard...", when really they are just enjoying seeing that microburst of shock flit across your face before you remember to cover it up with nonchalance.

When they hit you with those figurative pieces of rotten fruit, you suddenly remember how Mean Girls work. You remember how to dance the dance, and remember that vulnerability and expecting the best of people will get you absolutely slaughtered. You remember that being open and transparent when Mean Girls are in the area... Well, you might as well go back to fifth grade, with your thick glasses and baby fat rolls, or  high school in your old hand-me-downs and mismatched shoes in your 1978 Celica. That is what 'open and transparent and trusting' will get you with Mean Girls/Women. Rotten fruit.

So, put your armor on, remember to have thick skin, and ignore them to the best of your ability. Don't get drawn into trying to be their friend, or trying to be more mature. Don't be shocked when they throw out a juicy tidbit of gossip about you that they heard. Don't let the rotten fruit hit you in a soft spot. Don't stoop to their mean ways, because it will kill a piece of your you-ness. Be kind and good and truthful; stay out of the muck. Because, buttercups, we have decades left. Decades to hope that edges will soften and sharp corners will round out a bit. But we should not hold our breath on those things. Chances are, Mean Girls will turn into Mean Teenagers into Mean Women into Mean Old Biddies, the ones who will steal your applesauce, cheat at pinochle, and maybe even pelt you with fruit in the nursing home cafeteria.

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