Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Day 20: Junior High Hurts {31 Days of Friendship}

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Junior high is hard.

It really is.

I tried so hard to fit in, especially at church. Feathered hair, Lee Jeans (Jordache and Calvin Klein were not in my budget), blouses with grosgrain ribbon ties.

I was friends with all the seventh grade popular girls. We were in the same Sunday school class, and we hung out together on Sunday evenings for youth group. I felt like I was a part of the group, most of the time, even though I was a step or two behind in the fashion department, and in pop culture (no Atari or MTV at our house). I was also a year younger, thanks to starting school in another state.

My best friend at the time was Kitty.* We had met in sixth grade Sunday school and had been to each others' houses to play. I wanted to be like her: taller, with curly hair in the style of the time (feathered back but not as feathery as my straight fine hair was--more like sausage curls brushed to perfection) and naturally straight teeth and clear skin.

One night, after choir but before Bible study, she pulled me aside from the group and said these painful words to me:

I don't want to be your friend anymore. You're holding me back.

That was it. She probably said she was sorry and goodbye, and turned around and joined the other popular girls, and really never spoke to me again outside of hi and goodbye and other social politenesses.

I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I don't know what my actual response was--did I cry right away, or did I wait till I was alone? Did I plead? Did I make a fool of myself? I just don't remember. But I remember how it felt. It hurt a lot.

In hindsight, Kitty did the kind thing. She told me to my face, and she wasn't passive-aggressive or mean (at least not that I know of or remember).

Poor eleven-year-old me. My heart had been broken again.

Eventually I recovered enough to make other friends at church. I felt like sometimes we were all the non-popular castoff friends, but we were more loyal and helpful to each other in those very hard junior high years. In later years Kitty did climb the social ladder. She was very popular, probably the most popular in our youth group. She had a handsome boyfriend and still dressed in the latest 80s fashions. We lost touch when my family changed churches, and last I knew from Facebook she is a wife and mom, like so many of my friends from youth group--the popular group and the rest of us.

*Not her real name. I'm using Austenian pseudonyms in my series. Kitty Bennet was the fourth of five Bennet sisters, and the follower of Lydia, the youngest and most reckless sister. I think this name fits this particular friend, who actually shares a name in real life with another friend I used to have.

You can go to the first day's post and find links to the rest of my #write31days #31daysoffriendship series by clicking here.

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