I was bullied in high school and became a timid creature. For years I baulked at conflict; I cried when people shouted; I people-pleased with the best of them. Slowly, slowly, I'm becoming more like that person I used to be when I started high school - the one who made friends and shared of herself, who spoke up and out. But bullying hurts and it lingers for a long time. Mean girls linger in the memory a long time.
It's strange, even to me, to know that those shitty human beings are still making their presence known in my life. In fact, I've even met new ones that make me feel the same way; this time they're mums, though, who bitch and exclude and rear up and attack for the dumbest of reasons. Some of them are intentionally shitty, some are too dumb to be aware they're doing it, and some are just too busy or harried with their own lives, their own kids to be bothered with being nice or accommodating. They snipe, they sneer, they toss in hurtful comments and backhanded compliments.
I'm a grown woman. I've travelled solo. I've fallen in love and married. I've become a mother. I have a series of letters after my name and I teach kids fresh from high school themselves. But still I feel that sting of social rejection, the dull ache of putting yourself out there and being shunned or worse, ignored. I hear the 'why don't they like me' refrain echoing in my head. I'm not going to crumble because of it this time but it prickles at me nonetheless.
And really, why do I care? Why do I let these nobody women make me feel this way?
My husband is my best friend and I love my family even though they're far away, but sometimes I just crave the company of women, people I can call for a chat or for coffee or to come and see a stupid, girly movie with me. I miss women friends. But if having women friends means putting up with all that crap all over again, then I'll do without, thanks.