“Mean Girls” are often insecure
Ever walk into a room where others huddle together and, while not doing anything overtly hostile, do nothing to welcome you in? Then, when you awkwardly try to contribute, they change the subject and physically scoot away?
I haven’t had this experience for many years. It’s so very middle school. In fact, it is at the center of my WIP, a novel for middle grades. I suspect that when I was that age, I was sometimes the snooty offender, not the shy newcomer wishing someone would step forward and take them in. Perhaps this novel is my way of making amends.
I had an interesting experience a few months ago. I decided to give an online hangout a try, and RSVPed a virtual meeting of women who write. I’m a woman who writes, so it could be a fit.
Turned out this group all knew each other (virtually) from previous such Zooms. I was the lone newbie, and let me tell you, it brought back memories of the less than happy kind.
This time, while the official leader was welcoming (that’s why she’s the leader) no one else did. I stayed quiet, listening and learning, and was left with a big question mark pulsating inside me.
I had stepped into a clique. The women were nice (to each other) and interesting, (for the most part. Hey, writers, as a general rule, are articulate and interesting people.)— But there was this cluck-cluck of a hen-house hyperactivity that spoke of wanting to be noticed.
I realized I was caught in their vibe while also pushed outside the circle, a juxtaposition that echoed the experience of the main character in the story I’m revising. It’s an unpleasant place to be, all the more because it exposes how our own vanity and pride are no virtue.
It also reminded me what cliques are about. Those who exclude are the insecure ones.
I did get one thing out of my attempt at this new connection; I revised the story to better express this situation for the main character. The universe had to send me back to middle school so I could better do my work.