I'm reading Queen Bees and Wannabees by Rosalind Wiseman, and while I'm only halfway through, it has already provided much blog fodder! I'm reading the book to help my daughters with their schoolgirl dramas, but I'm learning some surprising lessons on how my own girlhood behavior had a long-lasting effect on me.
We want to believe that these moments of "she's my best friend" and "I hate her" are just a normal part of social development, and that this too shall pass. While I agree that the former is true, I'm dubious of the latter.
My days of rebellion in junior high came from knowing that I simply wouldn't fit in with the crowd, so what better way to deal with it than to go all the way with being different; black trenchcoats, crazy belts - goth-lite, if you will. I'm forced to look back now and face that the rebel wasn't really me, either. It was someone else's standard on how to be different.
In high school, I had the rare opportunity to be different in conformity with my fellow classmates. We went to a high school for the arts, and while we relished the fact that the most popular was the most talented (instead of the football hero or cheerleader), we still conformed to what we thought being an artist meant.
Most importantly, everything was dramatic. And if life itself wasn't dramatic enough, well, then, we'll just create our own drama!
I think by the end of it, we'd all had our turns in the spotlight, both in good ways and bad. No one was really the Queen Bee, we just passed the torch around. We'd treat each other horribly at times, and then all would be forgiven with a passionate apology.
While there's really no one to blame, I now see that it took another 10 years before I could actually appreciate simplicity, normalcy, being "average." I made some huge mistakes, and some things just happened, but now I dread drama. And my girls are at ages where their friendships are going on their own roller-coasters.
I already learned a few years ago that giving advice during these times will just be met with eye rolls and exasperation, so I switched to active (and sometimes faked active) listening. I figured that girls will be girls, and they'll get through it, just as I did.
Now, I'm beginning to see that I have to pay more attention to what these friendship dramas are all about. I have to pay attention to patterns that my girls may be creating for themselves. I know I can't stop the drama completely, but I hope that I can figure out how to guide them through it to become women that are truly socially developed.
Originally posted on LA Moms Blog, Apr. 5, 2010.