Mean Girls the Movie has always held a special place in my heart. Just like every other girl my age, I can probably quote the entire movie, I’ve seen it more times than I can even count, and it’ll simply never get old. But unlike most girls, I’m actually from the place that the movie takes place — The North Shore.
While writing the first draft to this story, I realized how similar my life in 5th grade was to Cady Heron’s. I was the new student in a North Shore school, and had my own Regina George, Gretchen Wieners, and Karen Smith.
Half the girls in the “popular” clique at Lincoln Elementary School went to camp with me, so, of course, when I started at this new school, I gravitated to the familiar faces, and wiggled my way into the tightly knit group that had formed 5 years ago in Kindergarten. These girls were already best friends, and I would do anything to be accepted like they *seemed* to accept one another.
I remember, one time, they told me they were all going to wear a vintage-style tank top from “My Generation,” and that if I wanted to fit in, I had to buy one to match with them the next day. So, that night, I convinced my mom to take me to My Gen to buy said shirt.
Maybe today is the day I’ll be a true member of their group, I remember thinking to myself.
Boy was I wrong.
“I cannot believe you actually bought the shirt!” I remember Sarah* telling me.
I fell for another one of their games. Alright, brush it off and play it cool. How can I play this off? Think Dia, think.
With cheeks red with both anger and embarrassment, I said, “this shirt? I’ve had it forever. It was the first thing I saw in my closet this morning, so I just grabbed it not thinking. I totally forgot what you told me yesterday at recess about it.” I was crying on the inside. All I wanted to do was be one of them, and they fooled me. Again.
Little things like this were consistent. On a daily basis, Sarah, would attack my outfit for the sake of embarrassing me. On Friday, she’d accuse me of wearing the outfit on Monday. On Tuesday, she’d say “you wore that shirt on Thursday.” She was keeping tabs on what I wore, just to tear me down.
Looking back, the craziest thing is that I felt the need to impress someone who didn’t even like me. So, once again, I forced my mom to take me shopping, so I could impress Sarah with my new clothes.
On Monday, I showed up to school, looking and feeling flyer than a plane. With my new Abercrombie and Fitch orange tshirt and jeans, I felt like I could rule the world. On Tuesday, I pulled the tags off yet another outfit, and once again, felt like no one could stop me. This continued all week.
When Thursday rolled around, Sarah once again approached me. Maybe she noticed my new wardrobe!?
“Dia, you wore that outfit on Monday.”
Wrong. She was so wrong! She was making up the whole thing. She was bullying me just for the sake of hurting me, and finally I was seeing that she had no backing to the garbage that was spewing from her mouth.
“Actually, I wore an brand new pair of jeans and orange t-shirt from Abercrombie, and now I see that you’ve been making this up the whole time. If you dare to call me out again in the future, I’ll know you’re lying, so just don’t.”
And she didn’t.
From that point on, I started hanging out with a different, much nicer group of girls, who didn’t make me feel bad about wearing an outfit twice, and Sarah didn't dare approach me with words to tear my down again.
Moral of the Story:
1. Bullies only have power over you if you let them, so stand up for yourself, and don't give in to their mean words and actions.
2. The “popular” group doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t happy. Leave them if they aren’t treating you well, and be with people who care about you.
3. If you don't respect yourself, no one is going to respect you.
You have the power to make a change for a better future, or stick with what you know, even if it makes you unhappy. So, what are you going to choose?
*Sarah is the collective name for all the bullies in the group. They worked together to make a larger impression, but quite frankly, it’s too difficult to remember who said what. For the sake of the story, all my bullies are Sarah.