Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

Mean Girls in Full Effect

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

So, the mean girls are evidently in full effect in kindergarten these days. I wouldn’t believe it, if I hadn’t seen with my own eyes the drastic change in my own girl. She pouts. She whines. She tosses out ultimatums. She’s all, “I won’t be your friend unless/if” and “so and so says she doesn’t want to be my friend any more. Now she and so and so are BFFS.

I say, “What is a BFF?” She rolls her eyes at me.

Where did my sweet little girl go? She sure as hell didn’t learn this bullshit from me. This shit is why I always had more male friends than girl friends. (Once I was old enough to realize that girls generally suck and are more trouble than they’re worth). I’m not surprised that it’s happening. Just surprised that it’s happening so early. I thought for sure that I would have until fourth or fifth grade, at least, until i dealt with Queen Bees, Heathers, and Mean Girls.

So, where is it coming from? Have little girls always been this way, this early? Is it too much TV, with the bratty, self-centered, smart-mouthed girls? Is it my generation’s fault? As a girl, if you sassed your Mama, that was frowned upon. Were we completely misguided, misappropriating the term, reading our Sassy Magazines, and reveling in our own sassy attitudes? Have our girls just learned from us? What happened to true friendship, or at least the old adage, “Treat others as you would like to be treated?” I fear we have lost it in a whirlwind (an ill girlwind?) of iCarly and Miley and Serena. This is not what i had in mind when I reveled in the awesome women in music of my youth: Joan Jett, Madonna, Sinead O’Connor, Chrissie Hinde, Debby Harry, Terry Nunn, and Johnette Napolitano. What the fuck happened?

So, I’ve been a bit bewildered, dealing with the tears and the tantrums, the stomping and the mirror-smashing door slamming. To say that I am in fear of the age of 13 is putting it lightly. But she’s only six. And worse than the tears over her own hurt feelings? The knowledge that she is picking up the same tactics and using them on others, in some sort of Lord of the Flies scenario. She is not treating others as she wants to be treated, but as they are treating her. And so it is that we have reached the advent of The Mean Girl Note.

Be frightened. Be very, very frightened.

Or if you are me, be very disgusted, a little sickened, and a whole lot disappointed.

We had friends over the other night. They have a girl about T’s age. The kids all play well together and almost never fight. But they fought this evening. Something about not all wanting to play the same game, which was some kind of running club game. (I am of course in total support of this game, as any game that involves them wearing their little asses out is always my first choice. “Here, baby. Tie this rope, the one attached to the cement block, around your waist. Good. Now run back and forth in the back yard, dragging the cement block behind you. Yes, that’s right. Now do it as many times as you can. Y’all have fun!”)

So, the girls disagreed and one of them quit and played with R (the only boy), having become fed up with the arguing. (Girl after my own heart.) After they left, and our kids were in bed, Todd and I came across the mean girl note. It read something along the lines of, “I will be your friend, if you will play the game with me. If not, you are not my friend.”

GRRRRRRRR. This is it. This is the fucking bullshit that girls do that made me want to BLOW UP MY FUCKING MIDDLE SCHOOL. That’s a bit of a lie. I didn’t always daydream about blowing up the middle school. I actually would have been more happy if there was some kind of disfiguring virus that attacked all the mean, superficial girls. They would contract the disease (spread by lip gloss and notes, of course), suffer a deathly illness for weeks, and then come back to school with hair fallen out, a few pounds piled on, complete pizza face acne, and wearing clothes from [GASP] Goodwill. You know who else would get hit? The social climbing brown nosing types. You know the ones: Not really ugly, but not exactly pretty either. Kind of plain, but with a layer of too much makeup that said, I’m trying too hard. They usually still had some baby fat. They did just what the popular girls wanted them to do, and followed them around like god damn puppets. They also threw their also-not-so-popular brethren under the bus in an attempt to impress the popular girls. In my eyes, they were always the absolute sorriest pieces of shit of them all. Because they wanted to be popular so. very. badly.

Oh, wait. This post isn’t about me? My bad.

So, we found the note. The next morning, Todd talked to Tills about it, and about all the ways in which it was wrong to write it, and they decided together that the next day, she would write a letter apologizing to her friend. I would help her write it after school. It was bedtime when Todd came home the next night. He asked if Tiller had written her letter. I did the deer in headlights – Because I am such a stellar parent, I had completely forgotten about it, what with all the Bonbons I was eating, and Facebook and my soap operas. I promised that I would help her with it the next day, and told him the kids were in bed, but not asleep, and they wanted him to come and tuck them in.

He went upstairs. A few minutes, he came back down, with a funny look on his face, holding a piece of paper. This piece of paper:

Alwase

She wrote it some time after school, of her own accord. It is so sweet I could cry. Yeah, she misspelled some stuff, but SHE PUT A PAIR OF SUNGLASSES ON THE SUN, for heaven’s sake. How can there be a mean girl in a child who thinks the sun wears shades?

I would be happier if it said “I’m sorry for hurting your feelings.” I would prefer it dropped the “best friends” language all together, as the premise of Best Friends seems exclusionary by its very nature. But the essence of it, of two girls, holding hands so sweetly together, so full of love and light that the very sun is blinded by it. . . I’ll take it.

Hell, I’ll cling to it. Allwase.

Honey and the Busy Bee

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

IMG_0004My excitement holds no bounds today. My friend Honey, my college roommate, is coming in town and staying with me for four days. FOUR DAYS. Sure, there will be kids and husbands and dogs underfoot, but I am so excited to spend some quality time with one of my dearest friends. Ever have a person that you know, deep down, realizes that you are not perfect and loves you anyway? A person that you know has your back? A person that isn’t scared to tell you what they really think? She is that person for me. (Well, leelee falls into that category, too, but this post isn’t about Leelee.)

Just wish this dang weather would clear up.

That picture up top? that’s me and Honey, sitting in front of my little dollhouse off of Milledge Avenue in Athens. It was the last place I lived in Athens, and this picture was taken the day after I graduated. I am pretty sure we felt really good that day.

And yes, you may have noticed I’ve been a little MIA lately. We’ve had houseguests (Todd’s cousin, Jenn, and her friend Brittany) in town. Jenn and Brittany are thinking about moving to Atlanta, so they came down to look around and get a feel for the city. (Nice weather for them, huh?) I’ve been doing a lot of stuff following the Dekalb County budget issues. Following local politics is damn time-consuming. And then there’s the kids. . . turns out they need to be fed and bathed and picked up and dropped off and you have to make sure that they don’t watch too much tv. I have been bad about that, and I am hereby vowing to be better. So, Dogwood Girl takes a backseat for a while. I have missed it, though. It keeps me sane.

My Best Friend

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Is this guy. Love him. He just doesn’t get enough credit here on Dogwood Girl. But he runs the show. Really.

Best Dog in the World

For Roswell, and for Spanky. RIP.

Friday, September 11th, 2009

A friend of mine is being buried today. I could not make the funeral and I am sad about that. I know that there are others who couldn’t make it either, but that we are all there in thought and, some of us, in prayer.

Charles (we all called him “Spanky”) was not a close friend, but he was a friend, nonetheless. He was a boy who was in my classes. He was a boy who was at parties, who gave great hugs, had a big heart, and was quick to laugh. Charles’ laugh was so distinctive that I can still hear it in my head, clear as a bell. After twenty years, I can still hear his laugh like it was yesterday.

Last Saturday, Charles shot his father, and then he shot himself. The grief one feels over a friend killing themselves is overwhelming. The grief of knowing that someone you cared about took a life, much less the life of someone so close to them. . . that grief is almost unbearable. It makes you want to sleep to escape the thought of it. It makes you want to climb right out of your own skin to stop feeling it. You don’t want to imagine the grief of a mother, a sister suffering the pain of such a loss. And yet you cannot get away from it. It permeates everything.

You try not to think about it, but you can’t stop. It keeps you up at night, wondering how it turned out this way. You think, here I am, with my loving husband, my wonderful children, and my happy home. Here I am twenty years later (a blink of an eye, really) and where did Charles go? What happened to him in the last twenty years?

I cannot reconcile the boy I knew with the picture in my head of the man he became.

I have thought of it hourly for the last five days. I have wondered how it was him that ended up with an addiction. There were so many of us, and so many of us did more than we should have, and what made him the victim of addiction? It could have been any of us. “There but for the Grace of God go I” is on a loop in my head this week. I have thought about God, and heaven, and forgiveness. I have thought about whether there is an afterlife, and if it is punitive, or if it is a place where we all will find forgiveness, solace, and peace. I came up with no answers, save one: We are all so intertwined.

When I think of the community I came from, one that is grieving from top to bottom, one that was touched in so many ways by this one family, I know this: We are all intertwined. The things we do have an impact. Sometimes that impact is not seen until we lose a piece of ourselves. And then it breaks down and we are so very aware of the gaping holes in our lives. This one boy with the unique laugh was a friend to so many of us. He was a son, a brother, a cousin. And his loss and the loss of his father are felt so very strongly by one community today. The one thing I know is that we are all stronger for having known one another and that each and every one of us can never forget that we hold those that love us in the palms of our hands.

This is for the town that I have scorned. The town that has changed so much over the years and which I was so glad to have left. But that town is not just growth and development and a homogeneous population. It is the town where I grew up. It is a community, no matter how far flung we all our now; Deep down, we are still those kids that walked to school through an old cemetery to sit in run-down classrooms together. We are church groups, and football teams, and kids who sneaked into neighborhood pools together. We fought at the water tower. We are a bunch of kids in the McDonald’s parking lot on a Friday night, waiting to see where the party would be that night.

This is for Roswell, a community that lost two of her own this week, and who is the lesser for the loss, but the greater for having known each other.

Another friend sent me the lyrics to this song. I have heard from distraught friends all week long. It has hurt my heart, but reminded me that I came from somewhere, that we all came from the same place. That when one of us hurts, we all hurt.

Adapted from the Will Oldham song.

Adapted from the Will Oldham song.

And the original:

Sitting On the Edge Of My Future

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I am pretty sure that Facebook is slowly eating my blog. . . .

However, here I am. I have been scanning more old photos, and came across a great set of pics from college.

college_0010

They are mostly from my college graduation. Here is the whole set on Flickr.

A few things that initially struck me about these:
I hated my hair.
We all smoked too much.
I was a stick, but i remember thinking i was fat.
Who, and i mean WHO, let me wear that ugly blue striped dress?
Girls wore a lot of long floral dresses back then.

The day of graduation is really fuzzy to me. I think Scott and I met some guy at the guy’s apartment for pre-grad festivities, which may have involved mimosas. It was nice and sunny. I have lost a great picture of me, Scott, and Katie sitting in the stadium. I loved it, and I cannot find that one. We all look very “The Future’s so Bright, We gotta Wear Shades” and i have lost it.

Some of the pictures are from post-graduation, waiting in traffic with my mom, dad, and sister. We were parked right across from Stedman (?), right near the dorms where I lived as a Freshman. (Give it up for Church!) Again, we smoked too much (except for Lisa, who never did.) I love that mom and dad look more proud of me graduating than i look. Now that i have children of my own, i can understand this.

The other pictures are from a graduation party that night at Scott and Zach’s house. I like that many of the folks in these pictures are still really good friends of mine.

The party itself is all a blur, but i know my family was there, which is strange. Honey came into town just to go to my graduation party (she had already graduated) and I love her for stuff like that. Later in the night, there were a lot of people up on the roof. Zach was my boyfriend at the time, and I made out with a completely different guy on the roof. Classy, i know. I still feel sick admitting that, but i guess maybe there is a ten year statute of limitations on cheating-on-your-boyfriend-on-his-own-roof-while-he-is-home-and-throwing-a-party-for-you situations*.

And this is me the next day:
college_0068
It is me, with Honey’s boyfriend at the time, Luka, in front of my house off Milledge. I loved those red-tinted glasses i am wearing. I still have those Doc Martens and still wear them sometimes. I loved that little house. I was v. hung over in that picture, and my whole future loomed in front of me. I remember everything at that time seeming bigger than life.

It was like sitting on that front stoop on the day I moved away from Athens was just like sitting on the edge of my future.

*Please don’t hate me.

Bad Vibes

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Online now, my dear friend and fellow weirdo, Billipsimo. Jason is in my top five (non-fam) people in the world, he is in fact almost family, and he challenges my sister and me in the race for person with dumbest and strangest idiosyncracies. He has been calling, commenting, and cackling at Dogwood Girl and the humiliation she shoulders and dishes out with even helpings for years now. I have tried and tried, badgered and bribed to get him to start blogging, and finally he caved.

The result?

Bad Vibes

Now we can all see into the strange and frightening carnival of midgets, monkeys, china dolls, and stipe that is jason’s brain.

Evan’s Wedding

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

All joking about reading addictions aside, Evan’s wedding was a blast. Can you say Tiki bar? How about Shrimp and Grits? Not just seeing old friends, but getting to see them, without kids, for two days straight? My belly laughed like it hadn’t laughed in years – I was sore afterwards. (Or maybe that was all the waterlogged Flying Burritos I got in the pool at 1 a.m.)

Best of all? Nightswimming in a calm ocean under a full moon. What hurricane?

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the weekend, along with a link to the whole set on flickr.

Evan getting last minute lovin’ from the ladies on Friday night.

Fran the Cougar with her prey, Dan.

Me and Jason, friends since 10th grade biology.
Me and the Creeker boys.

Dan and Wendy at the Reception, which was extremely hot. I think you can actually smell Dan from this picture.
Jason and Laura

My nemesis for the weekend, Kyle, a.k.a. Corey Haim.
Me and the ole ball and chain, all spiffied up.

Me and D, who is no longer a delinquent teen, but an upstanding husband and father, with some damn cute kids and a hot wife.

The happy groom and me.

Life Lesson

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Friendship is more important than proving oneself right. Note: I did not believe this ten years ago, and it still does not come easily or naturally to me this day. But I am trying.

It is Nice

Monday, April 21st, 2008

When those you love very much, whom you would do just about anything for, and whom you know would do the same for you, affirm their love for you.

There is something so powerful about old friendships, the ones where you have ridiculously funny memories of growing up together, of fucking up together, of grieving together and for each other, and of rejoicing in each other’s meaningful life moments.

I love you too, Mealby. But then, I was forced to: Take a look at my choices.

P.s. I love you too, Jason B., even though you will probably call me tomorrow with the cackle laugh and make fun of me for my sappiness.

Belated Birthday Post

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

I often feel like reflecting on another year when my birthday comes around, but for some reason, I didn’t feel like it yesterday. Once again, I feel like my birthday is just a number, and I am stuck at 27 or so, and I know that the number of years mean nothing. I love my 30’s, though – I feel like I know more about the things I want out of life, and I know who the important people are, and I know to let the other things and people slide, because life is way too short to waste time on the meaningless, and on regrets. My birthday, though, has always been tinged with regret, because I hurt people around me on my birthday one year, and every year, I wake up and regret that I caused pain, and the first thing I think of is how this birthday will inevitably be better than that birthday. And every year, it never fails, no matter how lackluster it is, it is better than the terrible birthday. Life has a funny way of giving you things to remember as horrible, and in that way gives you the gift of context; You can always compare an event to the event by which all other events are measured and be reminded that things are generally good, and you should appreciate it for what it is. See people? I can be a glass half full person. i can!

This year was no different. Todd took me out on Friday for my “real” birthday celebration, which meant that we were able to eat dinner together in a decent restaurant without dealing with whiners and spills, and cutting things up, and making sure things weren’t too hot, and all the little things that a meal with children require of parents. We stayed out late, and we had hangovers on Saturday, and they were worth it, because we had fun together. Then yesterday, Todd got up with the kids, which meant i was able to sleep about 10 minutes later than usual. It sucks being an adult on your birthday – you still have to battle yucky weather, and get kids to school, and pick kids up. You still have to smear peanut butter on bread and pour milks. Nobody makes you a handmade crown. But you do get to go out that night and your family has you blow out candles (Yes, Rollie, they do have that many candles at the grocery store,) and you have cupcakes (chocolate with hot pink icing!). You get phone calls from people who don’t call you regularly, and nice emails, and cards, and people remind you that they love you. And you feel loved. And you win at trivia, and that is always a great birthday gift.

Thanks to all the wonderful people who made me feel very special yesterday, in a ton of different ways. You know who you are, and I love you all.