Thursday, October 3, 2013

My girl, she's just like me.

My poor girl.  I'd forgotten how hard it was to be a 5th grade girl until today.  She is having a tough time of it, socially, and I'm finding her problems are hitting a bit too close to home, and I don't think I'm giving very good advice.

I was never "popular."  I wasn't unliked, but I always thought I had to work hard for my friends.  This was my own self-image issue, and has continued to affect the way I am around people - getting louder and sillier the more insecure I feel.  As my Girl grows up, I see more and more of me in her.  And this scares me. 

Which is funny, since I have anxiety attacks over my inability to relate to my Boy.  He doesn't really care one way or another what other people think or feel about him, which makes me both worry and envy him. 

But my Girl cares.  And she frets.  And she's sad. Some of her friends are popular, and they have other popular friends, and in her eyes, they don't want to talk to her when their popular friends are around.  This may not be the case, as I've noticed she doesn't seem to integrate well into group situations (unless she is playing on a team,) and I've noticed if she doesn't have all the attention, she thinks the others don't like her.  Does that make sense?  I'm not there, and I'm not seeing how people are acting.  But I am seeing her upset and not want to go to school, and I'm seeing her cry.  My poor girl. 

Funny, my own response to this, besides worrying, has been clumsy.  I try to remind her of what she likes about herself.  I tell her she is sweet and smart and funny, I think she's gorgeous, and she's really good at sports.  And then I cap it off with the basic truth - girls, especially at this age, are crazy.  Completely nuts.  And, quite frankly, this is why I mostly hung out with boys for awhile.  I love my girlfriends, and eventually I did meet some girls in high school I adored, but on the whole, boys don't have quite the same amount of crazy.  At least, not until college.

An interesting coincidence:  my 20 year reunion is this weekend.  I am going, and I'm looking forward to it, but a lot of people are posting pictures from dances, vacations, and other great fun, and I don't have pictures from high school like that.  For that matter, I don't have many pictures from high school at all.  I am finding that as I get older and reconnect with a lot of these people on Facebook, that I really like the people they've become, so I am looking forward to reconnecting.  It's an act of will, though, to not let that jerk of a self-image issue through.  To not listen to the shouts in the back of my mind: "you've gotten so fat!  nobody will like you! nobody liked you then; why would they like you now?"  and the old "what have you done with your life!"  With friends like myself, who needs enemies?
Look at this.  It's so frustrating to look at myself here and remember how little self esteem I had.  Darn it, I was adorable.

Have your kids reached the "tween" stage yet?  Are they emotional wrecks?  How do you deal with situations like this, especially when they remind you of your own personal brand of neurosis?

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