Tuesday, May 29, 2012

They Eat Their Own

As a woman of a certain age, I have acquired knowledge, gathered experiences and gained both wit and wisdom.  It's not all red hats, convertibles and being outrageously fabulous, it's a sense of who we were and who we are.  A feeling of ownership over our lives.  We can see ourselves with a clarity we never though possible until we got here.  By this age, we have probably accepted ourselves, warts and all.  There is a measure of peace that comes with both facing and embracing our past selves, realizing and accepting what we were and thanking heaven for the lifetime of change that came.  One thing I never have and likely never will understand is why we women must be such horrible creatures for several years before becoming...you, know, human.  There is no life form on this planet as vicious and inherently malevolent as the junior high  and high school girl.

We don't start as the embodiment of pure, unmitigated evil, but we manage to become  perfect killing machines by the age of twelve.  We have no formal training, there is no guidebook, but somehow, we simply know which arrows to let fly and they always, ALWAYS find their target.  How do we do that?  Why do we do that?  Hundreds, perhaps thousands of books have been written on the subject and not one has come up with a viable solution.  Maybe the solution does not lie in psychology, maybe we just need a 'Hunger Games' type event that consists only of mean girls. I doubt that would be terribly effective as it would be over far too quickly for any lasting lessons to be taught.  It's not so much the nastiness that fascinates me, it's the fact that we somehow come out the other side as loving, dedicated and fiercely loyal friends to each other.  Why can't we skip the bullshit and get on to the good parts?

As the mother of boys, I have to acknowledge a certain bias at this point.  Boys don't deal with even half of this crap.  We deride them as being lesser, simpler, emotionally two dimensional beings, but they certainly get through middle school with a metric shit ton less drama.  They tend to shrug things off, not sweat the small stuff and can't manage to blow things out of proportion.  If they're pissed off at someone, it lasts a day or two and then we return to normal programming. Is that the sign of a lesser being or do they know something we don't know?

We go from playing dress up and drawing butterflies on each others' arms to vicious texts and nasty Facebook posts in a matter of just a few years.  Girls who were inseparable through elementary school can no longer be seen together come seventh grade.  What breaks?  What changes so drastically that we can't even smile and say hi to the girl who once shared our every experience? 

Somehow, we do come out the other side of this malignant interlude of  unrelenting demonic behavior and learn how to get back to being the kind of friends we were at the beginning.  We don't draw butterflies on each others' arms anymore, for some reason, everyone thinks we sit around talking about tampons and such...but that's another post.

I think we should get back to playing dress up more.