Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pray for the Mean Girls

I have a prayer request. It's one of those "do I have to?" prayer requests, like praying for your jerk of a boss, or praying for murderers or thieves... but this one is even harder. I would like everyone to take a moment to pray for the Mean Girls. Who are the Mean Girls? Really? If you have to ask, you'll never know. The Mean Girls were the girls who told you they loved your shirt, but then laughed about it behind your back. The Mean Girls were the ones who wanted you to know just what a complete and total LOSER you are. If you're a guy, the Mean Girls are the ones who rejected your date request in such as EPIC fashion, that you still wake up sweating and thinking about it sometimes. How do I know? I am an ex-Mean Girl.

I wasn't always a Mean Girl, and I definitely wasn't raised to be a Mean Girl. Fifth grade was kind of the worst year of my life. I had always been a part of a group of friends, who as the structure of friendships shifted into a hierarchy, found themselves as the popular girls. I don't know how or why or even when this shift usually happens, but it always does in school. You go from "we're all friends" to a tiered-level mini-society within a couple years. Well, I really wasn't prepared for what it meant to be a popular girl. I swear my friends all picked up on the mean thing really quick. And when I tried to stick up for the underdog, their targets pointed back at me. It was a miserable year. Especially at Christmas when one "friend" handed out gifts to our entire group of friends... EXCEPT me. Like, in an elaborate show. "HERE's a present for so-and-so... and HERE's a present for so-and-so..." Until I was the only one left. Without a gift. During that year, another not-so-nice friend began to grow in my spirit--Insecurity.

It doesn't take a lot of that for someone to break. And I broke hard the next year in junior high. And Insecurity's twin sister Mean Girl moved into my spirit, as well. I know that everyone says their school had cliques (because they do), but our class was NOTORIOUS. I know this, because when my sister came through a few years later, teachers were still talking about how awful we were to each other. Seriously. And in junior high, there weren't even cliques... you were popular, or you weren't. Last Wednesday Nate shared a story (I let him) about just how mean I really was.

In 7th grade, we had a cafeteria with those pull down lunch tables that seat ten to a side. Because our class was kind of crazy, the lunch monitors actually had to check and enforce the 10-to-a-side rule. For the most part, it worked out perfectly. We groomed the in-crowd to exactly 20 girls to sit at our table.

And then... it happened. Two or three girls who were very much NOT a part of our "friend group" sat at our table. Why... why would they do this? They either wanted to be friends with us... or they wanted to shake things up. But either way, we weren't having it.

As I looked at them at the end of the table, Insecurity spoke to me, "What if your friends DON'T make them move? What if they'd rather have you move?"... Then Mean Girl piped in. "You have to make them leave."

I quickly grabbed a piece of paper and pen out of my purse, making a bit of a spectacle. My friends looked at me and I said, "Don't worry... I'll make sure they won't sit here again."

The note I wrote was pretty simple. I remember that, but I don't remember the exact words. Basically, we don't want you to sit with us. The signature was the worst part though... I signed it... with a flourish...

The Popular Girlz

Yup. I did that. Even the "z"... Becauses "s" is too lame and mainstream. Some people are probably a bit shocked, and some people are probably thinking that at least my Mean Girl has mellowed a LITTLE.

This is only one of a nearly infinite number of Mean Girl stories I have. And honestly, a lot of them are at least a little bit funny... a little bit. But as I heard Nate tell that story last Wednesday night, all of a sudden, it wasn't even a little bit funny. I looked around as he told it. I looked at the girls in the youth group and thought, "What if I had written that note to them?" And then I watched the faces turn from furrowed brows as Nate told the story to looks of shock and horror when Nate explained the signature.

So this is my hope for you. That tonight, you'll pray for the Mean Girl. That girl who made high school hell for you. That girl who turned you down publicly for a dance. Because not all Mean Girls repent, and not all Mean Girls end up with a nice guy and faith in a forgiving God like me. In fact, lots of Mean Girls raise more mean girls. I think a lot of my classmates moms loved the drama more than they did. But I can tell you what the mean girls DO all have in common - those evil sisters in their spirit that go everywhere together - Insecurity and Mean Girl. And they're hard to kill off.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Stupidest. Advice. Ever.

My friend and "life fellow" from work, Sarah, found this blog, and shared it with me. We both found it pretty disturbing. Not all of it. Just a lot of it. Sarah and I are both relatively young, Christian women, but we're pretty different. So I appreciated that she also thought that parts of this "advice" article were bad news, as well. The numbered items in bold are the advice from the other blog, and my responses are below.

There a few key things every girl should know before she departs your home. Here are my top 15.

1. Scissors are to be used for opening bags of chips, not for your hair. Especially NOT your bangs. EVER.

Why, WHY would this be someone's first piece of advice to teen girls? Apparently a bad haircut will ruin the other areas of your life enough to put it above any of the advice below. Here's my thoughts... cut your own hair! If it's awful, wear a hat. If it's REALLY awful, post it on Facebook with a funny caption so that you initiate the laughter and not someone else.

2. Never use bleach and ammonia at the same time. It creates a toxic gas that will cause you to suffocate.

There's probably not anything to argue with on this...

3. Learn to use a fire extinguisher.

Sure, why not...

4. Do not ask a question you don’t want the answer to until you are emotionally ready to handle it.  For example. “Do you love me?” or “Does this make me look fat?”

This is PROBABLY the second worst advice on the stupid blog that I found this advice on. I'll tell you a secret. I'm pretty sure that no one has EVER been "emotionally ready" to "handle" being told, "No" when asking, "Do you love me?" My advice is if your going to be in a relationship, you should KNOW that the person loves you because of the way they treat you. You should also KNOW that they don't care if you look fat because, again, they love you.

5. Good friends are the ones who tell you that your ass looks big in those jeans and that Suzy is sleeping with your boyfriend. Keep them forever.

I'm starting to think that the author of this blog has some major body issues. Why is everything about looking fat in your clothes? Few true friends will tell you that your ass looks big in the jeans your wearing, because if they like you, they really don't care. And if they don't like you, they might say that even if it's not true, because they're jealous. Pick some damn jeans out of your closet, put them on, wear them. Don't ask your friend's opinion, or your jerk significant other's opinion from #4. Oh, and why does your friend know that your boyfriend is cheating on you? He's a skeez. And if she's told anyone but you, she's a skeez too.

6. When you ask a man, “What are you thinking?” and he replies, “Nothing.” It’s true.

Aw, this blogger is anti-fat/ugly AND anti-men. I'm pretty sure this is just a set-up for number nine.

7. For every slice of pizza you eat you will need to run 30 minutes to burn it off. Two slices equals an hour. Three slices? An hour and a half. You get the idea. That doesn’t include the beer.

This is true... which is why pizza isn't an every day meal. But I'll tell you a secret... Binging on an entire pizza at home isn't any worse than avoiding a party because you know there will be pizza and cake there. Live your life in moderation. You're in control, not the food. 

8. Learn to use jumper cables.

Probably a good idea.

9. Men look at other girl’s boobs. Don’t expect otherwise. It’s nothing personal. They can’t help it.

Stupidest. Advice. Ever. This makes me sad. Not because it's bad advice (it is), but because I know exactly who says this advice- women whose men look at other girl's boobs. It's not normal. Men aren't dogs. But when women have crappy significant others, they reassure other women that they'll never do better. This advice is like, "All men cheat." It's not right, and it's not true. Why would ANYONE think this is good advice for teen girls? I don't know if anyone has noticed, but teen girls are already settling in a big way for the douche-y upperclassman guy or whoever. I don't think I've ever heard, "Wow, that high school girl should really LOWER her expectations." I hate this, and I hate that people read it and used it as advice.

10. The only alcohol you should ever drink straight from a bottle is beer. Doing otherwise will likely land you in the hospital or even worse, a wooden box.

Um, beer or any other type of alcohol, from a bottle, a shot glass, or in true college fashion, a solo cup can have the above effects if you aren't responsible. Find friends who are fun without drinking. The friends who need alcohol to party start to look way sad on the backside of college. Don't be afraid to go to a big campus party or four or five, sober. The party won't be any fun, you'll end up taking care of people, but you will definitely have clearer memories of all of the stupid stuff other people did... and maybe some pictures. Some people call that blackmail, but I call it leverage.

If you're in high school, just don't drink. It's illegal, and ya, you know, you're kind of right that everyone's doing it. At least the in-crowd. But here's a fun secret... The "in-crowd" will still be drinking and throwing parties in their parents' basement for years to come. The numbers will dwindle, and the level of pathetic will rise. Get out now. Don't be the girl at 47 whose in the prom queen's parents basement, reliving the pep rally from Junior year.

11. Budgeting is the key to happiness.

I do love me some budgets. But budgets aren't the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to happiness. But don't forget that NO budget line item can every make you happier than you already are or aren't.

12. The only thing you wash with white clothes? White clothes.

Maybe the best advice they've offered.

13. Every cigarette you smoke takes seven minutes off your life. A pack? Two hours and 20 minutes.

Don't smoke. It will kill you. You need a math equation for that?

14. No one knows what they are going to be when they grow up. Just get a damn degree.

I get that this person is saying that you may not end up doing what you get a degree in, but I really hate the idea of paper-chasing. A college degree is a piece of paper. Like a marriage license. Anybody can have a piece of paper. Make it great. Earn it. Learn in the process. Use it to it's full potential. Both degrees and marriage licenses.

15. Boys are the gravy, not the mashed potatoes. 

They are not either. And I don't like the plurality "Boys." Someday, you'll meet a boy. ONE BOY. That is good enough to plan your life around. Because he'll plan his around you too.