Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"I didn't even like thirteen year old girls when I WAS a thirteen year old girl"

So I've heard this statement twice in one week, and I'm confused and a little sick of the teen girl hate that can be out there.

I get it that teenage girls are screamy and moody and mean and spiteful and annoying. They can be shallow and seem to only care about boys and lip gloss, but they are our future and we as women should be building them up, not tearing them down, otherwise we are just as guilty of being shallow mean girls.

Maybe it's because I am still fourteen years old in my head, or because I vividly remember what it was like to be a teenage girl, but I totes love teen girls! I think they're awesome and I can totally relate to them.

When I asked my friend about this, she told me that I had a wonderful childhood and that's why I don't understand why people don't like teenage girls. I was popular and therefore not shunned in high school, so I had it easy. I think that's nice that people think that of me, that means that my illusion is successful.

Yes, I was popular - Student Council, Cheerleader, Honour Roll, Diet Coke Table in the cafeteria, but I didn't have it easy at all.

When I was in Grade Seven, I wrote a love letter to my enormous crush, Ernie. I poured my little twelve-year-old heart and soul out to this boy. I thought that I would explode if I didn't let him know that I liked him, but I was still pretty shy in grade seven, so the letter had to be the way to go. In the letter I referred to the Lionel Ritchie song Hello which was popular at the time. The next day at school, when they saw me walk into the school yard, a couple of girls started singing the song loudly and yelling "Ernie! Your girlfriend is here!" Apparently, he had shared the letter, and before I knew it was all over school and I was mortified. I couldn't go anywhere on the playground without being serenaded. Fortunately, I had some really good friends from my softball team that supported me and protected me from the brunt of the teasing. To this day I can't hear that song withough cringing, wanting to fall in a hole and dissapear, die, and have the ground swallow me up.

Another time, we were hanging out at the park in the townhouse complex where I lived and the girls were playing "secret"; this one girl went around and whispered a secret into everyone's ears and we weren't allowed to tell. The secret she told me was that she thought that some boy liked her, I wondered to myself why that was such a secret, but whatever. I found out later that the secret was that she told everyone else that she couldn't believe I was wearing a bra when I was so flat (it was because my mum made me), and that she made up a dummy secret to tell me; she just wanted to tell everyone else the thing about the bra and didn't want me to know.

School was my refuge from an awful home life - step-dad drunk and calling me an unfeeling bitch, mother hiding under the covers in the dark, feeling like I was responsible for the well-being of my three younger siblings and terrified of setting a bad example. At least at school I had people who loved me, or so I thought, I knew how to play the game, and I was smart, so school was the only place I felt successful.

I didn't have anyone I trusted; not my parents, they couldn't be there for me, they had their own issues. Not my friends; when you're in the popular crowd, it's about maintaining your status and watching your back. Not the teachers; no way was I going to let them know that I was not perfect. Not my leaders at church; no way was I going to let them know that everything was not perfect.

That being said, I still loved being a teen. I loved school, my friends, the parties, the clothes, the music, the hair. My trust issues with my friends were mine, not caused by any of their wrong-doing, and I still consider them my friends to this day.

So yeah, girls can be mean. They can also be your support system, they can stick up for you when other girls are being mean to you. They can be shy, and smart and keep to themselves, and they can be wild and crazy and super fun to be around.

Girls are great, being a teen is crazy hard with all the changes going on (mentally, physically, emotionally), the awkwardness and not knowing which way is up and trying to figure out who you are and how to grow up. We as grown-up women need to be there as mentors and support for these girls, not shun them and call them stupid jerks.

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