Mean girls don’t cry
I walk into the room as the two girls who were having an animated discussion glanced up at me for a millisecond, offered a curt disinterested hello and then turned away in abrupt, awkward silence.
This time, I had heard a bit of their conversation; normally, if I was anywhere near, I only heard faint murmurs. On this occasion, they were discussing a party to which I was not invited. Some days they would bring in goodies they would offer only to each other and eat mockingly in front of me. Other days they would exchange gifts as I sat and watched. I on the other hand, often brought in baked goods or other gifts that I had no problem sharing with everyone.
One of the girls could be quite pleasant whenever the other more “popular girl” wasn’t around, but climbed right back into her snooty and pompous chariot when her friend reminded her how I should be treated and that I should not be spoken to.
Sometimes the silence in the room screamed so loudly it made it difficult to concentrate. There were days I would go over and over in my mind what I was doing wrong and what I could do to get them to, at the very least, speak with me.
I was unable to get a seat reassignment so I concluded we may not like each other, but we could at least all try to get along. I attempted to make small talk, but was quickly swept back up in my corner where I was left, forgotten, and where ultimately they felt I belonged.
There were many days I would go home emotionally drained and attempt to unwind in a bathtub filled mostly with my tears. As I lay soaking and trying to relax, my mind would wander in all hundreds of directions. On rare occasions, an evil voice inside my head would try to convince me of ways I might break the mean girls down and bring them to tears. I quickly quelled that as a bad idea for two reasons:
Everyone knows that mean girls don’t cry.
You’re probably thinking, “Oh yeah, high school, I remember those days.” But this isn’t high school. This is real adult life, although when I say “adult” I mean it in the loosest sense of the word.
You also might be thinking that I shouldn’t really care what those girls thought of me and you would be right. It’s not like I desired to be friends with them. I don’t like people who treat others so dismally (I was not the only one they belittled). It wasn’t so much that I wanted them to like me; I just figured it would make the work environment much more tolerable for all of us if we could at least attempt to be courteous and respectful.
Sometimes I find it extremely hard trying to play in an adult world with others who still wish to play childish games. The cards are not dealt the same, the games have no rules and it’s not possible to have any real winners. Even as an adult, immature games can really hurt all those who are forced to “play along.”
Inevitably the “mean girl” moves on, but is often replaced by a different mean name and face. But with just a few more years of experience added to my game, I’m starting to figure out the moves. With a sweet yet subtle mischievous childish smile and an adult-sized tantrum, I grab a firm grip on the edges of the juvenile game board and pull, causing bits and pieces to scatter as I turn and walk away. There is no space in my life for the drama and not enough time in life to waste playing silly reindeer games.