Thursday, December 22, 2005

Junior High

I like to think of myself as a pretty evolved, grownup person. I have a reasonably clear sense of who I am, and have more or less come to terms with my Gemini nature of often wanting two opposing but equally desirable things. I am a friendly person, and tend to expect that people will like me. I still feel socially awkward a lot of the time, but I can generally expect that while I might not be a lot of people’s regular Friday-night dinner date, I am someone they genuinely like to see enter the room.

Then, I became a mom.

It makes me feel like junior hgh all over again. Let me just review the social nightmare that was junior high for me: We had just moved to Detroit from a small town in northeastern Ohio. I did not even know what they were asking me about the first day of school when they asked if I liked Prince (yes, I did, shortly, but the cool kids in my old town listened to Journey). And as the topper, my mom had given me a perm that summer. A. Home. Perm. Which worse yet was an unsuccessful home perm. My head was a pyramid of puffy brown frizz from my middle part (oh yes) on down. And what did that lovely middle part emphasize? Glasses. Thick, pink framed ones.

In retrospect, it’s amazing I made friends at all. One of whom proved to be a keeper, even, and we had a blast being weird alternagirl high schoolers together and is still my lone cool hip friend. Maybe I should take that as encouragement, because my attempts to make mom friends are not going well.

We joined a parenting group through the hospital where we had the Magpie. It could not be more clear to me that I am the one everyone hates. It doesn’t help that we have Alpha Bitch as our leader, who had made a point of mentioning things she did with different people in the group that we were not invited to. And I don’t think I am the only one on the outs – oddly, the successful doctor-lawyer couple also seem to be, as are the Indian couple and the smart, shy, plain mom who’s one of the only ones I like. (That’s the other weird thing — there are like two of these people I actually think are cool or that I have anything in common with, why do I hate it so that nobody likes me?)

Here’s how I have catastrophized it—no one likes me, so no one will like Maggie, so she will be a social outcast too and I am doing a disservice to her by not providing her with a bunch of little bitty friends.

Reality, of course, is that I have plenty of friends and that Magpie will probably do just as well being influenced by some truly kick-ass women as she will crawling around with a bunch of other little babies. And that right now it feels like none of my friends who are moms are possible good playgroup partners, because they work during the day and aren’t available when I am lonesome, or don’t do a paid job and thus don’t get that I can’t do hours-long meetings, or, most likely, all of them have kids who are either way older or way younger.

Still, I envy people who can fill one afternoon a week with playdates. After my parenting group experience, I am afraid to even join another class, or ask people to get together, or do anything to relieve the isolation I feel. I am afraid it will be another junior high-like experience, that once again I will be told in no uncertain terms that NO, I can’t sit with the other girls and have to go eat my lunch on the stairs by myself.

I had fun with at least some of the people I met being an outcast as a kid, and they were the people who helped me realize I actually didn’t give a rat’s ass about not being one of the cool kids, that being on the outs could actually be kind of fun and certainly was better than being one of the slavering “I MUST be popular” wannabes. But now? Where are my geeks, my weird girls, my peeps? Who will go sit on the stairs with me?

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