Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The White Girl With No Friends, and Other Stories

Last Friday Jeff and I went to see the first preview of Mike Birbiglia’s one-man show, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, at the Bowery Theater. If you haven’t heard of Mike Birbiglia, you should download his stand-up on iTunes, or get his book, Sleepwalk With Me. He is hilarious, and my favorite thing about him is that his humor comes pretty much entirely from his own painful or awkward life experiences.

I don’t write a lot about pain on the blog (awkwardness, I think we can agree I've got in spades). I touch on it, in a self-deprecating way, but I’m still a little scared to dive in. (Which may be because I can’t dive. I never learned. The closest I can get is putting my hands together like a steeple and falling as gracefully as possible off of a diving board while bending forward. I also never learned how to tread water for more than thirty seconds at a stretch, which is why I avoid boating and also why I was never allowed to go on “dingles” at Camp Onas, which sound like scatological underpants findings but which were actually day-long canoe trips.) Anyway.

Mike’s show (yeah, we’re on a first-name basis, in my mind) got me thinking about pain and humor, and how they’re intertwined. So I thought I’d share a story of one of my most painful memories, from the files of adolescence, that nebulous period of budding self-awareness in which all emotional pain is new and sharp and most likely to burrow under the skin like a jagged splinter for decades to come.

This particular story takes place in seventh grade. I looked, as you may recall, like this:


For reasons at the time confounding and deeply hurtful to me, one April afternoon my best friends Vanessa and Jesse suddenly and unceremoniously broke up with me in the locker room before gym class.

“We don’t really want to hang out with you anymore,” Vanessa said.
“Yeah,” Jesse piped up. “It’s not you … it’s us. We’ve changed”
“Also we’ve been talking about it,” Vanessa said, “And we think you’re really annoying.”

So that happened. I self-medicated with bedtime Garrison Keillor tapes and Blossom hats. And then I tried to find some new friends. The only other girls in my class were, for lack of a better term, the Asian clique, a group of about six Chinese-, Japanese-, and Korean-Americans and one beautiful, dusky Indian girl named Marina. I don’t remember how or why we started hanging out, but knowing 7th grade me I just inched closer and closer to them and started laughing knowingly at their jokes and following them around, hoping they wouldn’t notice that I hadn’t always been there.

Things seemed to be going well for about a week, but then one afternoon, as I was having a snack with my mom after school, I reached into my backpack and found a folded-up note.

It had been typed up and printed on computer paper—an incredibly formality for adolescents in the early nineties. And it wasn’t a note, really, or even a letter. No, it was a one-page burn book.

“I don’t even know why she hangs out with us.”—Alice
“I hate her clothes!”—Dorothy
“She’s so annoying!”—Helen

Yes, they had typed up quotations as a means of rejecting me, as if they were blurbing a nonexistent book I had written called The White Girl With No Friends, or testing out dialogue to workshop a play of the same name.

It stung. The instant pain and humiliation knocked my breath out of my lungs. And the worst part was that my mother was right there. She saw it. She knew.

I was thirteen, friendless, and, by all accounts, unbearably annoying. I had acne and braces and a mushroom haircut. I wore the wrong clothes and fetishized A Prairie Home Companion. My life felt over.

But it got even worse.

The next day, at school, Marina approached me in the hallway.

“Did you get our note?” she asked gently.

“Yeah,” I said. “It’s okay.”

It’s okay.

That’s the part that breaks my heart. It’s okay. It was not okay. It was cowardly and cruel and devastating. I had nothing to lose at that point. I could have said, “Yeah… and fuck you and your dot-matrix printer.”

But I didn’t. I said “It’s okay” because I wanted them to like me even while they were rejecting me. I wanted to be voted Most Agreeable Middle-School Outcast 1993.

Which is funny, when you think about it. And, of course, sad and more than a little bit pathetic.

But funny. Because it so completely sums up who I was in seventh grade. And who, in many ways I still am.

When I do write my bestselling memoir White Girl With No Friends, however, I'm so going to use the dot-matrix line. Because that bitch had it coming.
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55 comments :

  1. FourEyes8:43 AM

    the slag who burned me in the 5th grade recently friended me on facebook--good to know she still lives with her mom! also, did you realize your shoes in this photo are, like, totally in right now?

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  2. In their defense, you DID listen to Keillor in the 7th Grade. If I find out you still listen to that, I'm friend-breaking up with you too.

    On another note, geek-to-geek, this is a horrible story, but it was their loss, and your current nerd friends' gain.

    Oh, and I promise never to give you the burn book I keep of you in front of your mom.

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  3. @FourEyes: I know, right? Too bad about the Texas tuxedo, though.

    @StrangeCase: Sorry, we can't be friends then. Garrison 4 EVA!

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  4. Yeah, and where are they now?? Do they have a successful career and lots of loyal followers? I think not!

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  5. Oh... that kinda made my heart hurt a little bit. I know the pain though, been through all that a thousand times and more in my younger years.

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  6. My bff broke up with me in the seventh grade too... to hang out with a bi-otch named Natalie. It only lasted about a month (we're still bff to this day, twenty years later) but I feel your pain. It sucked.

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  7. You just described my middle school experience. It's so fucking AWFUL, isn't it? Reading stuff like this and remembering the daily humiliation of middle school makes me feel way better about turning 30 in six months. Good lord.

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  8. You could not pay me ANY amount of money to go back in time and relive similar 7th grade experiences in my life. I think if hell exists it is probably 7th grade repeating for all eternity.

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  9. it's funny reading this because your blog is the one i look forward to the most. your life seems so full of love and laughter and of course we're all human and have down times, too but i definitely see the love and laughter shining through the most on your blog. i think those terrible moments in middle school only make us appreciate everything more when we realize we are finally surrounded by amazing people.
    I once befriended a new girl at school when i was going through my own "losing my friends" crisis. and by friends i mean all the girls who suddenly became cheerleaders and finally had a real excuse to ditch me.
    so, i befriended the new girl mariah and we had great fun for a while, but then she met candace, one of the cheerleaders, and suddenly i got a letter from mariah all about how we would not be hanging out anymore. and the p.s.? "and besides, candace says you don't have any friends."
    this stung but was also hilariously absurd. The best part of it all? they are now both divorcee's living in my hometown with drug-addled abusive ex-husbands. I can't wait to see them this summer at high school reunion!
    keep being so fabulous! Garrison Keillor for life!

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  10. Grade 7 was not good for me but I think Grade 8 may have been worse. I was not dot-matrixed hated on because nobody in our little small town school was that sophisticated but humiliation was a constant companion for most of my 13th year of life.

    I loved Blossom too but am not getting the musical reference at all. I hope that doesn't mean I'm a whole different unlovable breed of nerd!

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  11. When I was thirteen I had a mouthful of braces, a top lip covered with the shadow of a lady moustache and short hair, styled on something akin to a German WW2 helmet. I was also going through a stage of sporting a bow tie I had made having seen Duran Duran rocking something similar on the tv. I can't begin to tell you how many times i got called,"son" or "sonny" by the general public, and also the pain of being completely ignored at school cos no-one could bring themselves to stand next to me let alone talk to me. And I compounded the problem by deciding to wear a cheeky pair of polka dot braces (I believe they are called suspenders in the US?) with everything... There's nerdy and then there's social suicide nerdy...

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  12. When I was in the eighth grade my "best" friend had slept over and the next afternoon her boyfriend came over with one of his buddies. The boys weren't allowed in the house if my mom wasn't home so we were sitting outside on the porch. The buddy (I had the biggest crush on him)asked to use the bathroom. I was scared to death I would get busted for him being in the house, but I didn't want them to think me uncool and let him. I didn't get caught so all was well, or so I thought...

    When I got to school Monday I was the joke of the day....month or so it felt. Because instead of using the bathroom he decided to raid my panty drawer. He then decided to tell everyone about the pair that had a safety pin holding them together and that we were so poor my mom couldn't afford to buy us new panties. I laughed it off. Called him stupid. Said the panties tied on the side so I had a safety pin in them to make them more secure.

    It wasn't the truth. He was right. We were poor. My mom tried so very hard to take care of the two sisters and I on her own. She had bought me those panties the year before to celebrate "becoming a woman". They were my first ones that weren't bought in the little girls department. So when the tiny strap on them broke a few weeks earlier I couldn't bring myself to throw them away.

    I wish I would have stood up to him. Told him and all the ones laughing the truth and them punched him and my "best" friend (because she laughed right along) in the face. Not for hurting my feelings and making me a laughing stock but because he made my mom out to be a bad parent and she so wasn't!!

    I'm 36 and still plug my nose when I jump in the pool. Learning to dive when you are a kid is scary. Learning to dive when you are an adult and taller, making you further away from the water??? I completely get why you havn't learned!

    Also, please forgive the wall of text. It really felt good to get that out, though! *deep breath* I'm going to go hug my mom now!

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  13. For the record, I would read White Girl With No Friends.

    I just hope it doesn't saturate the market for when my memoirs come out: Chunky Kid Plays with Magic Cards.

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  14. This entry was hard for me to find humor because it was SO my life in junior high. I honestly dread being a parent to my kids when they enter that period because kids are so damn mean. And I wonder who didn't feel this way in junior high? I mean, all my friends now felt the same way, so where are those people that had the seemingly perfect lives?

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  15. In all legitness, girls of that age are the meanest humans to ever exist. Meaner than terrorists, meaner than Hitler, and meaner than country music to my ears. They thrive off of it. They're little sadists. I think most of us have had an experience like this. I feel your pain and love the jean suit. Haha.

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  16. For the record, in college I was convinced that you were way too cool to ever want to speak to me. You were intimidatingly dynamic. So Alice and Jesse and the rest of them can shove it.

    My middle school tormentors clearly read the same handbook yours did. Their friends weren't allowed to speak to me all the way through high school. Can't say as I missed their company, though.

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  17. I worked with a girl who was clearly one of the "popular kids" in middle/high school and had been a star athlete as well. She told me once that high school had been the best time of her life and that it had all been downhill ever since. (She was around 24 at the time.)

    I found that unfathomable and sad, but it made me realize that I would rather life be better after high school, than have that be the best part of my existence.

    Here's to those of us who made it through, got out, and got better with time.

    I have to admit, you and Jeff seem like the kind of people I would hang around at a party and hope you secretly didn't want me to go away.

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  18. I think this has to be one of my favorite posts from you. I think that book name is f*cking genius and you should totally use it.

    And hell yes! What's the point of having a book if you can't make the people who cast you out and hrut you feel like shit in front of thousands? No point I tell 'ya. Do it up.

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  19. Anonymous1:26 PM

    I had a coworker say something years ago about growing up, that I still think about to this day. We worked with a very good looking man who had, shall we say, "social deficits".

    My coworker said he had a theory that the confident, good looking (usually popular) kids didnt have to try hard to make friends and have relationships growing up. They didnt suffer the rejection and cruel behavior that most kids do. So when they are adults, and the reality of true relationships hits them, they struggle with people in general. They dont understand why people and success dont automatically migrate towards them.

    Vindication: The "Chip" episode of Friends!

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  20. Betsy1:33 PM

    What a beautiful/sad/funny post. I just want to jump into the computer and tell that 7th grader about all of the wonderful friends she will have when she is older!!! You could not pay me a million dollars to be in 7th grade again.

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  21. I teach middle school for just this reason--to torture the popular kids and make the nerds/geeks/uglies feel like they are best thing that ever graced my classroom door.
    The preppy kids cower when they see me coming because we all know that nothing is scarier than a teacher who remembers boys barking at her when she was 14. "Vengeance is mine!" sayeth the Kirb.

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  22. What is with the mean girls? I seriously think that (for today's generation of seventh graders, at least) the movie did little good, and reaffirmed to the girls tormenting me that they were doing it right.

    Like all the other commenters here, I too suffered at the hands of bullies through middle school and high school, and it even continued with a separate group of girls who were on my swim team in high school. I never understood it, and those days still give me nightmares. Perhaps it was that I was funny, successful, a fast swimmer, tall, beautiful, and smart that made them want to hate on me for all those years.

    I've wanted to write about this on my own blog for a while, but I was never quite sure how to address it or where I could even start. Maybe someday I'll figure it out. Thanks for giving me the confidence to even post a comment about how much adolescence sucked. And you, Una, are a star.

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  23. Thanks for sharing! Thinking about it, you probably had one of the first "Mean Girls (This Time with Technology!)" experiences. I didn't get severely burned by a BFF until high school, but it REALLY hurt. I have definitely had fantasies of how I would have handled it, had I known then what I know now. I hope that you found the writing cathartic, and know that your readers are happy to root for Retro You, too.

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  24. Oh no!!! 7th and 8th grade...a cruel cesspool of humanity lumped together in one building! A few months ago an ex boyfriend and I were able to come to terms with our teen angst ridden relationship and its demise...from 25 years ago! How absolutely ridiculous to have carried any of that baggage around for so long...tell tale sign of the insecure! I didn't realize how big of a weight it all was until it was finally gone. Thank you so much for your post, as it makes me realize that many of the other garments in my emotional suitcase don't need to be there anymore either...it was what it was, and even that was not terribly unique (and perhaps not even anything I'd actually done wrong after all!)

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  25. Such a great post. I also grew up as a white girl with no friends in the early school years. I can remember when i moved to a new school at the beginning of sixth grade, I started a trend of drawing/doodling on my binders with pencil crayons to make them stand out. A group of about 5-6 girls saw this and asked if they could write their names on my binder to add to the 'decor. I said ok (i was excited that they could be potential new friends). when they handed the binder back, the word BITCH was written on it in huge colored in block letters, and they wouldn't admit to who exactly wrote it. It broke my heart and started the brick wall of distrust that didn't collapse until long after high-school.
    ugh... stupid memories, eh? at least we're much better off now :)

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  26. It happened for me in 10th grade and I ate bluebell icecream everyday and got a perm... and fat, and my brows tried to take over my face.

    It was awful. I was totally cuter than those girls at our reunion and happier.

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  27. I think you need to find all those girls on Facebook, friend request them, then re-post this link after they add you (which they will, because people like them tend to want as many FB friends as possible). THEN, a few days later, after you've given them ample time to see it, you should block them so that they can never see your profile again. Do it! Do it!

    I flew mostly under the radar in middle school and high school, mainly due to the fact that I was very shy. I had one best friend who I spent most of my time with--the one I'd had since age five. There were a few other friends that I spent time with, and all of them would be considered nerdy, so I guess that was me too.

    Once, a friend made fun of me for having really hairy legs. I cried, and then begged my mom to let me shave my legs, which she allowed after lots of tears. A few years later, I saw that same friend in a bathing suit, and she had red hair dangling from her armpits that would put a 70's-era porn star to shame, if you know what I mean. That's when I stopped feeling too hairy.

    Another time, a "friend" who I was once close to but had grown apart from invited me to a sleepover birthday party. She also invited my little sister since she had a sister about the same age. It was really awkward, since the girls were all more popular than I was and I didn't really fit in. The next morning, my sister was still asleep in her sleeping bag, and they all decided to pick her up, head covered, and throw her down the basement stairs. I screamed and screamed and hit them until they put her down, and luckily they didn't do it. I'm sure it made me look really uncool, crying and holding her close to me, yelling at them that they could have killed her, but it didn't matter. That was, and still is, one my proudest moments.

    Looking back, I'm glad that I didn't bend over backwards to fit in with the popular girls. They weren't nice, and I didn't really like them anyway.

    Oh, and I would have definitely been your friend, Una. We could have bonded over our hisutism. :)

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  28. Middle-school girls really are mean. Or at least the ones who can get away with it are mean. You should write that book, because you can capture both the pain and the humor. My daughter had something similar happen, though not in such a dramatic way. She became a middle-school teacher to help and encourage the kids who are being left behind, socially and academically.

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  29. Mary B3:35 PM

    You rule, they drool. That's all there is to it.

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  30. i've said if before and i'll say it again...little girls are bitches!!

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  31. Fantastic post!

    And it wasn't only the kids who were cruel. I was THE FAT KID thru elementary and most the last year of high school......I had just started my big diet effort when we had to get weighed in public in gym class. When the teacher called me to come up and get on the scale I hung back a bit in horror only to hear her say, impatiently, "Oh, come on Lois, for heavens sake, everybody knows you're FAT".

    (8 weeks later I got my own back on stage in Assembly , 35 lbs. lighter in a pinkish red suit and high heels looking like a knockout....but I have never forgiven that teacher.....what an sadistic/insensitive creep)

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  32. You're hilarious - thank you! I've oddly watched a lot of stand-up recently via Comedy Central & Netflix Instant Streaming & thought how funny I could potentially be if I could just learn how to tell these horrible, adolescent stories. I am not, & probably will never be, as funny & articulate as you, but thank you for the inspiration.

    --Kim

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  33. I was able to dodge it in 7th grade because another girl had a bigger nose than I did...kids are cruel at that age...well, any age I guess...and sometimes, not just kids. I maintained friendships, because that's what you do in 7th grade, but never participated in the ridicule and meanness...just didn't have it in me. And I knew even then, that I was a nose away from being the chosen one. My heart breaks for you my dear. Still. I can feel it. That being said...be sure and send them autographed copies of your book...:)

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  34. I offered to chaperon my 7th grade son's class on a field trip. The kids were frightening but especially the girls. No respect for any of the adults, and they called me a bitch and rolled their eyes when I told them to stay with the group. Sheeee-it! My complaints caused a cascade of consequences and restrictions. Fortunately, we were new to the school and none of the kids knew who my son was.

    I avoided my 7th grade peers, they were insane.

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  35. My heart goes out to you...I can totally relate. I definitely had some of those experiences growing up, even when I was in college. It makes me sad to think of how upset I was then.

    STUPID ADOLESCENT GIRLS!

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  36. Oh my god, I had something like that happen to me in the 6th grade...I had managed to block it until now...so thanks. :-P I didn't get a nice little typed note though, mine was to the face "we just want to hanging out by ourselves now" line. Amazing how much that brings back...

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  37. Completely the story of my life, which is why I avoid anyone I knew before college when I see them around. I had zits, braces (which my dad insisted on getting porcelain ones that made it look like I just had yellowish gunk on my teeth), and a ton of frizzy hair. The boys in 8th grade would throw gumballs off of the trees after school into my hair. And today everyone from my private Christian school is either a coke head/loser or a hypocritical pastor/pastor's wife/church secretary. And the main guy that threw the gumballs:went to jail around his Senior (year after getting kicked out of our school) for robbing a Dairy Queen and is now a pastor with 2 little girls and a wife who is completely clueless as to his true identity.

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  38. It is very apparent now as an adult that middle school was generally the pits for everyone!

    When I was in 8th grade I had two girls call me on three way caller and told me that I was not cool enough to hang out with them in high school. I was devastated and cried the rest of the summer leading up to the first day of 9th grade. I had two friends who were still okay with my level of nerd - but because our high school was so big we had to have two lunches. It just so happens that those two kind souls were on the opposite lunch as me. So I had to hunt for friends. Thank goodness for the very kind Mormon girls who let me sit with them. I still think they thought I was weird with my self made binto box lunches and high water pants.

    Una - thank you for sharing your story and letting us all know that someday we'll have a chance to be awesome like you!

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  39. Thank you for putting this out there. As evidenced by the number of comments with horrifying middle school moments, you strike a chord. I think that is how I ended up a middle school teacher for a decade - I had unfinished business. Or I'm crazy. Probably both.

    One of the worst moments of my teaching was when a seventh grade girl came back from lunch sobbing. Her "friends" had voted her out of their friend group a la Survivor. She was never allowed to speak to them again. Like you, she was so sad but still wanted to be liked by them. Like you, she is an incredibly talented woman now. But scarred for sure.

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  40. 7th grade was a nightmare. My nickname was "rabid squirrel" and sometimes it seemed like "Annoying" was my first name, not Adria.

    The best/funniest of us dealt with this in 7th grade. It's character building (though none of us EVER wanted to hear that at the time).

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  41. Seriously, I have a lump in my throat (or chest) that won't go down, one that formed as I was reading your post and enlarged through the comments. I'm thinking I might actually cry.
    I'm sorry that happened to you and to all of us in one form or another. And I'm glad we're all better people than them and always were.

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  42. I wanted so badly to fit in during middle school. I couldn't figure out how the girls who had been my best friends in elementary school wouldn't speak to me anymore. I was invited to a former friend's birthday party as the Pity Guest, since we'd been best friends and neighbors since 2nd grade. I knew I was only there because our moms were still friends, and then I got a bloody nose when someone accidentally (?) whacked me in the nose while they were trying to make themselves faint with headstands. I sat in their jacuzzi tub all night trying to stop the flow of blood, begging not to be taken to the hospital.

    At camp, where I had been one of the more seasoned campers (I'd been there since the youngest bunk), my former friends suddenly ganged up on me and made me move my bunk 2/3 through the summer so I had to share a room with the fat girl and her friends. She had the lower bunk and would complain that I stepped on her towel to get up to my bunk. I didn't actually, but I did need to step on the rail to get up; was I supposed to just levitate up there?

    I was complicit in their harrasssment of another girl, one with frizzy red hair who liked to be called "Elmo". They stole a pair of her prized denim shorts with an embroidery of Elmo on them. Then they turned on me. They stole a long, complaining letter I'd written home. At the end of the summer, when they wrote in my journal (as we exchanged addresses; yes i still asked for their addreses, as I wanted to be liked), they deliberately reused some of the phrasing I'd used in my letter home, to really drive home the point that they knew everything I'd thought of them.

    I actually left camp early that year, and never returned. I'm only grateful to the compassionate counselors who unfortunately were powerless to stop the Mean Girls, but nonetheless talked to me and helped me feel less alone.

    Reading all these stories has also helped me feel less alone. Thank you for the forum to share these untold stories, Una. Uber-dorks of middle school unite!

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  43. 7th grade was THE. WORST. the whole year was pretty bad, but the lowest point was when a girl i didn't know existed came up to me in art class and said she heard i called her a bitch and threatened to beat me up. she threatened me daily, and i was terrified because i walked to school and was therefore an easy target for her and her friends. this went on for what seemed like the entire school year but in reality was probably only a few weeks. i'm sure the whole thing was for show and she never planned to follow through, but i have such vivid memories of the situation 20+ years later... so now i say: tracy p. and all the other bullies and mean girls out there can suck it!

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  44. Thank you for opening up and sharing this with us. I think most of us have experienced some kind of humiliating rejection like this. We've all had and still have insecurities, and it's good to know that we're not alone and we can all move past that! Good for you for not letting it discourage you still today and for being comfortable enough with yourself to let it mold you into who you are now =)

    And I am all for TB's suggestion to add them on facebook and then send them this link!

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  45. I have 2 daughters and a son. The daughter are in 10th and 12th grade now. However, the stories I heard and the behaviour I witnessed from girls in Middle School made the Waffen S.S. look like Quakers....scary and unfortunate.Luckily, my kids were not targets and did not participate....but wow..the cruelty a 14 year old girl can direct on her peers is astounding.

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  46. Anonymous6:14 PM

    I had it happen in the 4th grade- one of the girls in my (small) class would talk to me for months over some seemingly trivial issue. I begged to change schools, but of course my parents wouldn't hear of it. Interestingly, even though the boys in our class knew what was going on, they acted normally towards me. Everything smoothed over in time, and I tried really hard to make sure I was nice to the younger girls when I was a Jr and Sr in HS. Although I was popular in HS and college, I've always been more of a loner at heart and don't have tons of close female friends as an adult. It only occurred to me a couple of years ago that perhaps my experience in the 4th grade is the reason.

    I had a couple of thoughts- first, it seems that your readership obviously skews very much female, but I wonder if this is something the boys go thru as well? Second, as bad as it was for all of us, imagine being in Jr High today, with Facebook, blogs, twitter, etc. Nowadays, mean girls can spread the "love" to the entire school in a matter of moments. That thought is terrifying.

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  47. This breaks my heart! As a fellow survivor of ridiculously painful middle school experiences, I just want to remind you how awesome we turned out in the end.

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  48. Anonymous8:09 PM

    As many of the others listed above, I was also the punching bag of the mean girls. I'm almost 40 and I've made my peace with that part of my life. But...as a mother to a 12 year old, flat chested, glasses wearing, brace-face, short little girl, this kills me. I am watching my baby go through this right now, it makes me so angry. My daughter is also the “white” minority at her very small private school and as her mother I am the “white” minority parent. I could go on forever but my point is to say “thank you”. Thank you for your story, I shared it with my daughter and she understood that she wasn’t alone.

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  49. Honestly, this was my situation up until about a year ago. Does this mean I get to grow up into a curmudgeonly web comedian, too? SUH-WEET! :D

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  50. Anonymous5:59 PM

    We have all been there it looks like. 7th grade was the absolute worst. I remember walking home from school with a few girl friends (whose names I do not remember, except for one, BUBBA --- seriously, no wonder she was a bully....who calls a girl Bubba?)and they jumped me in the alley. Sorta beat me up, pulled my barrettes out of my hair. It was absolutely horrible. But, I did have older sisters, one of whom went to the girl's house and punched her. Wished I could have seen that. But, seriously, it was awful and I'm ashamed to say that I probably followed the crowd and did mean things to others when I was that age.

    My best friend is a teacher and says she would NEVER teach middle school. Kids should just skip from 11 to 15....the in between years are useless.

    Thanks for the laughs (and the memories). You're great !!!!

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  51. The same thing happened to me! And coincidentally, I was also in 7th grade! I feel like someone finally understands :D My two friends Amy and Makaela just out of no where said they didn't want to be friends with me. They HAD been acting strange to me lately. They also said they didn't like me because I needed to have my period and get boobs. I was a late bloomer. How does this make sense? It doesn't. But thanks for sharing this memory. Mine still hurts, it only happened two years ago. I was completely, utterly depressed.

    Love this blog.

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  52. I remember being sick for 3 days in the sixth grade. When I came back to school, my friends were being weird. At recess, they approached me in this weirdly choreographed sequence to tell me that while I was home with the flu, they had formed the Anti Lisa Association. With membership cards and a logo. Yep. I was alone for at least a year and a half after that and yeah in the last few years, some of those girls have tried to friend me on facebook and I just look at their lives and remember that when they decided to hate on me, it probably spurred the most creative time in their lives. You're welcome ladies.

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  53. I was lucky in middle school because my family moved to the opposite coast halfway through, and so I spent my entire 7th grade year on the phone with one of my (true) best friends as she told me how jealous she was that I escaped. I didnt escape the mean girl bffs later though.... I'm actually surprised that so many people were told up front that they had been broken up with... my high school friends simply stopped being my friends, all at once, with no official break up speech.

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  54. Wow, reading this post and everyone's comments makes me feel better! 6th grade was the WORST year of my life. I lived in America since I was 2 and my parents decided they wanted to move to Jordan for my first year of middle school to get more in touch with our Arab culture. WORST. YEAR. EVER. The kids used to play pranks on the teachers and blame it all on me even though I sat by myself in the corner throughout the whole day. I will never forget when this one girl was handing out invitations for her birthday party during lunch time, she went to each girl one by one and gave them an invite, came up to me, looked me up and down, and walked to the next girl, inviting every single person in the class but me. And my favorite was when I came to school with snacks, they'd all come up to me and ask for some, and little me, wanting so much to win their friendship, share everything I had, only for them to look at my empty bag of chips and say "Okay, we're done with you" and walk away. My only friend back than was his nerdy girl who introduced me to Tupac (proving to be cool beyond her years)

    My mother knew to, she woke up in the middle of the night once to find me crying in the dark living room from how hurt my feelings were. She tried so hard to throw parties to invite these girls over, hoping I could make a friend or two. They weren't worth it though! Even in a different country girls were mean!

    Honestly, I'm still amazed at how normal I (think) I am after the loneliest and most awkward teenage years. Now my sisters are dealing with it and the stories they tell me, ugh I just want to punch those girls!

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  55. Anonymous7:28 PM

    I cannot believe so many other people might have had the same experience! 7th grade too was nothing short of a nightmare for me. I can't ever get over how my best friend so proudly and shamelessly broke up with me after we were friends for 1.5 years, and years later in our mid twenties, friend-requested me on Facebook. I totally 'blocked' her! Which is something she might notice since we have mutual friends. Childish act I know but I hate her guts to this day!

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