Moms Don’t Forget

Even after twenty years, her mom ignored my friend request.

It could have been for any number of reasons, hell she might not even remember me, and I expected it, but I know the most likely reason. After having a daughter of my own, one thing I know with absolute certainty is that moms never forget their daughter’s pain.

I still can’t really explain why I did it. My face burns with leftover shame even as I type this.

Our brothers were friends. She was one of the only girls on that cheerleading squad who was nice to me. Not because she wanted to date my brother, not because she wanted me to talk so she could make fun of my awkwardness behind my back, or tell the boy I had a crush on that I liked him so they could laugh at what a loser I was, she was just a nice person.

She knew, better than I did, what it felt like to be a target of the insecurity of her peers.

I’m sorry for being such a bitch.

We were at a summer cheerleading camp. I did not possess the pep for a weeklong UCA camp. I did not feel chipper, and I did not feel like dancing in public. If I could have, I would have shoved that spirit stick up everyone’s ass and twisted it. That was my favorite daydream. There was nothing genuine about my spirit fingers. I still don’t know why I ever thought cheerleading would be fun. I hated almost everything about it except for the front row view of my brother’s games in a town ruled by football and the illusion of being one of them.

The hot UCA counselor was flirting with her all day instead of them. They wanted his attention, but popularity in our high school didn’t translate on this campus–a glimpse into life after SHS, ladies. It set off my own insecurities. I was completely invisible except for a puff of impossibly curly hair. No one flirted with me anywhere. I was used to it, but I still had the same envy.

We got back to the hotel that night, and I heard them whispering, giggling, and plotting.

“Let’s write her a note from him, it’ll be so funny.”

“I bet she goes to meet him.”

“She loves the attention. What a slut.”

She wasn’t.

They tried to change their bubbly handwriting and omit the hearts from their dotted i’s but it still looked like a note written by a jealous girl.

I’m not even sure how it happened. They asked me if I could write like a boy, and I could. I honestly had to spend time practicing to make my handwriting look loopy and cute.

I turned over a writing sample, and they were delighted.

“Oh my god, you write just like your brother.”

Gross. I wish my brother could see you right now. Maybe he’d understand why I told him you weren’t good enough for him and called you a dirty pirate hooker.

It was the first time any of them had really talked to me all week. I guess I wanted their attention more than I realized. If I’m honest, it felt nice to be part of the joke instead of being the butt of the joke.

They dictated and I wrote down the hateful words. My stomach was in knots the entire time.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. DON’T DO THIS.

I finished it, and signed the name with a final, fake guy scribble.

One of them handed her the note after she got out of the shower.

“Oh my god, Nick just dropped this off, he’s totally into you.”

Her face fell as she read it. She knew immediately it was a joke, but I saw the crack in her composure right before she played it off and acted like it didn’t bother her.

I’m sure they saw it too.

I had no idea how quickly they would turn on me, but really I should have.

“Oh come on, it’s just a joke. Rachelle wrote it. You know you love the attention. We’re just joking around.”

I couldn’t look her in the eye.

I did write it.

I was the mean girl that day.

We were punished for our prank, but I don’t remember what the punishment was. Probably painting extra run through signs in the heat of the Texas summer.

My punishment was her face. The hurt in her eyes. That moment when I knew that I was no better than any of them because the first time I had the opportunity to be shitty to someone else to fit in, I took it. Even though I knew it was wrong. Even though I knew exactly how it felt to be singled out and made fun of for no reason.

I thought I was better than a movie cliché. That I would never be a mean girl because I knew all too well how it felt.

I was wrong.

It didn’t matter that I felt terrible, or that I apologized, or even that I never did anything like that again.

I joined them that day, and I can’t ever take it back.

Twenty years later, and the girl I wrote the note to accepted my friend request, but her mom ignored me.

And I don’t blame her at all.

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245 thoughts on “Moms Don’t Forget

  1. Best post ever. Ever. Ever. The Texas cheerleading spirit stick. We went to cheerleading camp at SMU….what a weird place. This is so well written and so aching. I love it. This: If I could have, I would have shoved that spirit stick up everyone’s ass and twisted it. That was my favorite daydream.

    AWESOME SAUCE!

    • High praise coming from you Outlawmama, so thank you. I can’t even remember what college we were at that year, but we never went anywhere as fancy as SMU. I think we were down in Corpus or Galveston that summer, but we usually stayed in town at the local college. Being able to stay in my own house at night might have prevented the whole thing. Too much cheer time was never really good for any of us I’m afraid. Stupid spirit sticks.

  2. We all do stupid things to fit in, we regret later on life or not too late. I was really mean growing up, I would pick up on the so called “popular” because I thought it was fair as they would pick up on others, wrong! Now that I see them I feel terrible, I like to believe that I’m a better person now. And you are right, mothers never forget, my mom still remembers elementary school problems.
    Really nice post.

    • Thank you. I agree, I think we all do dumb things to fit in. And that’s kind of how I justified it too; I wasn’t really popular, so why did it matter if I picked on someone more popular than me. Ummm…yeah. It was wrong, and I hope I’m a better person these days too. My mom could probably name every slight against me as well. Mom’s are pretty awesome that way.

  3. We punish ourselves probably more than anyone else does (except for the mothers of our female friends). If I had a daughter, I’d probably feel the same way, but I also feel for you too, Rachelle. We’ve all been the mean girl at some point. Being a teenager is probably the closest thing to hell on earth, and teenage girls are a special kind of vicious.

    • Agreed. I definitely would feel the same way as this mom. Being a teenager is the shits, and I wish I would have taken the opportunity to stand up for her that day instead. Live and learn I suppose.

      • Both you and Madame say perfectly my thoughts on this — we’ve all been there, done that, at some level, and have words we wish we could take back that escaped us even as we knew they were wrong. What is most important is growing up and recognizing it is wrong — unfortunately, not all do. ~ Kat

  4. The fact that you recognize your action and apologize for it speaks to your good character. I suspect this other girl (woman now) sees this as well, which is why she accepted your friend request. Kudos to you for having the cajones to write this. Great piece.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Rachelle!

    • Thanks, Carrie. It’s tempting to always cast ourselves in a favorable light, so this was hard to post. If I ever get the chance to speak with this girl again, I’d apologize all over again. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving as well!

  5. Oh, man… Those lessons are hard, hard, hard all around. No one feels good about it, huh? Hugs to you, the girl, and her mom.

    And thank goodness for life after high school.

    • Definitely hard lessons. Sometimes it takes being on both sides of the situation to really show true empathy, but I wish I could have learned this without joining that side of it. Agreed, hugs to the girl and her mom, and maybe a small one to my pathetic, teenage self. With a kick in the pants as well. Agreed, thank goodness for life after high school.

  6. This is so well written. I could just feel your pain and shame about what happened…and also understand exactly why your teenage self did it despite knowing you shouldn’t. Great work!!

  7. I remember making fun of a girl I went to middle school with because she was overweight. In my brain, it was OK to do so because I wasn’t friends with her, and because I wasn’t popular so it didn’t really matter. Of course, the fact that I still remember doing this years and years later is punishment for my own mean girlishness. Middle school and high school can be such a toxic time.

  8. We all do things we wish we had not – not that it makes it better or takes away the crappy way we feel, but knowing that you did something wrong is the difference btwn you and the people that never saw any ‘harm’ in what they did. It takes a lot to admit to some of the ugly we all have inside of us –
    Thank you for writing about that – I know it was hard (I was a mean little bitch to a girl in 6th grade and to this day I burn with shame to think of how I made her life hell).

    • Blech, so much ugly in there. And I agree, some people can never admit the harm they did, not that admitting it takes it away.
      Thanks for knowing how hard it was to write about, and for sharing your own sixth grade experience.
      Not sure the shame ever goes away, but I’d apologize again if I ever saw her again.

    • So, so lame. I’m sorry it happened to you. To all of us, probably at least once. Hugs for all of our little girl selves, and for the all the girls going through it now, and for the girls who are mean to my baby girl. May I have the strength to not go stab them :)

  9. I’m pretty sure I was there. Over and over and over. Thanks for this. Inspired me to share my own someday. And the perspective from mama-bear POV is really what this kind of memory needs to come full-circle.

    • Me too, like groundhog day. I hope you do share yours some day. They are powerful stories from either perspective. The mama bear one is the one I relate to the most now that I am a mom.

  10. Gah.
    A perfect rendition of a moment etched in the past that can never be undone.
    I have different stories, but the same themes. I feel your pain, RFL.

    But go you (and the friend) for getting past it as much as possible…

    • Thank you. It seems to be a pretty common part of growing up. I don’t know her well enough to know how this affected her back then, if at all, but it’s not a lesson I will ever forget.

  11. This is a beautiful post. I can really feel your shame and pain. Having gone to an all girls school I can attest that girls can be really mean. The fact that you recognise what you did and are making amends is a true testament to your character. I’m glad the girl has forgiven you. And one day her mom will too.

    • Thank you. We can be very mean; I’ve experienced both sides of it, and it took me a long time to understand how to function in healthy female relationships.

  12. I had a few of those mean girl moments and knew it was wrong, too. What an awful feeling to see how you’ve hurt someone like that. I guess some of us just had to learn by making mistakes. Great post!

  13. I really think this is an important post. It’s well written. I don’t think you were responsible for her pain, given the situation. You made a choice to write that note based on a need to fit in. In high school it’s survival of the fittest. I’m not trying to diminish the pain that the other girl experienced but only point out that what you did was almost instinctive – you survived that moment as best you could. Everything in your psyche told you that it would be scary and emotionally dangerous to take a stand and go against the pack. Your response was “normal” maybe disappointing, but totally normal. I think you can let yourself off the shame hook, Rachelle. The fact that you are sensitive enough to replay it with such compassion means that you were never the mean girl. I don’t think you were for a minute.
    Lisa

    • Thank you, Lisa. Your words mean a lot to me. I agree that it was probably a normal response, and I know so many girls who did the same kind of thing whether out of retaliation for their own hurts or just plain old insecurity. I wish that the normal response was standing up to it, but disappointing choices almost always lead to better ones the next time. Thank you again for your thoughtful comment.

  14. Great post. I felt how torn you were and wanting to be accepted and doing the wrong thing and all that other teenage bull crap. I totally relate, been there. H.S. is soo H.S. But i guess it’s where we really do learn the most.

  15. This was so well written. I’ve been on both sides of those pranks and yep it hurts both ways. Just the fact that she accepted your friend request should let you know that she has forgiven you. Best thing we can do is to teach our children better.

  16. Wow. This was beautifully captured. Thank you for having the courage to share it. I was a bully in elementary school. So insecure and jealous. And invisible. My mean-ness made me appear. I’d take it all back if I could. I’d live in love.

    Forgive yourself. You deserve it.

  17. Powerful post! It’s not easy to admit when we’re wrong – and here you are admitting it to the entire webosphere. A line from my own post this week – something my grandmother told me once that stuck, “sometimes good people do stupid (or bad) things” – and that’s all this was.

    • Thank you. Yeah, I put my ugly out there this time. It’s uncomfortable, but your grandmothers words are wise. Good people do dumb things all the time :)

  18. I love this post. Believe it or not, I think we’ve all been there. We’ve all been the person doing something we never thought we would do. You told this story beautifully and in a way that really made me feel the emotions. Good job, Lady!

    • Agreed. Actually, I’ve found in my life that the quickest way to encounter a situation where I will have to eat my words is to say I’ll never do something. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for commenting.

  19. We have all done things to to others we should regret. If someone told me s/he never regretted inflicting pain on someone (or couldn’t remember ever doing it), I’d figure they were lying or were someone to be avoided.

    Most of us would still be too embarrassed to tell others about the events, though. And that’s probably a big reason why I write fiction and not my memoirs. Your writing really shines when you take on these personal topics.

    • That’s a good way to put it, I don’t think anyone can honestly say they have never hurt someone in their growing up years. A lack of memory or remorse for those times is a quality I try to avoid as well because it usually means they aren’t done growing up(not that we’re ever done).
      I appreciate your thoughtful comment as always.

  20. This must have been so hard for you to write. I think most of us, no matter how nice we were and how many kind things we did, had one or two events like this that stick with us FOREVER. I think it says a lot about your character that this action is still upsetting for you, and you were very courageous to put it out there.

    • Thank you. I had some posting remorse for sure, but I thought it was important. I could have told ten different stories about being on the receiving end of this kind of behavior but I was not above the behavior myself. It wasn’t my only misstep in female friendships, but it was one of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned.

  21. Thanks for sharing. The teenage years are so hard. I have been the mean girl too. It was brave to admit to this. Doing so shows that you’re not just that movie stereotype. You’re a much better person than that.

  22. Yowch. Good on you for owning it. Everyone who’s reading this is busy thinking about his/her Cringe Moments, the ones that make you want to shrivel up and evaporate decades after the fact. Any post that evokes that kind of emotion is a great post. Well done!

    • Thank you! So many cringe moments…I love the way you put that, they do make you want to shrivel up and evaporate. Thanks for commenting today.

  23. This was so well written. The important thing is that your experiment with being mean was only that…it wasn’t who you were. It’s okay to let go of the guilt, now!

  24. Oh, I can so relate to this! I just connected with someone who I was awful to in college. I can’t believe she friended me, but I was grateful that perhaps she has forgiven me.

    • I’m glad your friend from college accepted your request. I think most people want to forgive and move on, and I’ve tried to do the same with people I remember being hurtful to me. Thank you for commenting.

  25. This was really good! I think all of us have at least that one moment where our wish to be “popular” got us to do that one thing we’ll regret all our lives. I had that moment too – and as awful as it was, and as much as I regret it, I kind of feel glad hat we did it, so that we’d never do it again.

    • Thank you. I agree, I think we all have these moments, and they are important in the growing up process. Sometimes you have to see the effects of your choices to truly learn the lesson.

    • I’ve never had the opportunity to talk to her about it as an adult. She has a beautiful life and family by all appearances, so this event is probably terribly insignificant in the big picture. It’s just a memory I still feel terrible about, and would absolutely apologize for again if we ever see each other again.

  26. I love this post, even though I hate the truth of it. Although I don’t have such a memorable example, I know I felt invisible a lot as a kid, and I know I was sometimes mean to someone else just to fit in (momentarily). And it happens all the time – it’s way too easy to do… And now, as a teacher, I try to talk to kids about being mean, but I know how hard it can sometimes be to listen to the voice saying “Wrong”. You are brave to write this.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment. As a teacher, I’m sure you see so much of this. To some degree it is part of growing up and kids being kids, but it is so important to keep giving kids that message until they get it. Unfortunately, I was never able to see how unimportant popularity was until I safely beyond the black hole of my teenage years.

  27. Ah, that’s cool that she accepted your friend request. Maybe her mom is one of those Facebookers who’s on FB but doesn’t really know how to navigate it. (Thinking of my mom, who probably has hundreds of friend requests that she doesn’t understand how to access or respond to; we catch her up when I visit.) Don’t beat yourself up; sounds like a lesson that may have prevented later misdeeds.

    • That is a very good point. There are so many reasons for an ignored friend request, and there is a good probability it had nothing to do with this story. It is my guilt that makes me think it might be part of it, but it’s really just speculation on my part. Thanks for your comment!

  28. What a poignant, brave and honest post. Even though friends and even strangers tell us not to beat ourselves up over past misdeeds we still do, don’t we. If we didn’t how can we accept forgiveness?

  29. Wow, did I just see you were Freshly Pressed again? Big congrats, Rachelle! It’s much deserved! And I just saw what you have in your side widget–my book. Thank you! So nice of you. :)

    • Thanks Carrie! I managed to get that up since I saw the FP email this time and wanted to share the love. I’d kind of hoped I could bury this post in the archives like a cat in a litter box, but I guess there is some truth when people say it is probably the stories that you don’t want to write that have the most impact.

    • They don’t. It is a shame that do many don’t realize the harm they’ve done. I’m sure I hurt more people growing up than I’ve even realized. Thanks for commenting!

  30. I so relate to your moving story. I was there as a girl (on both sides), and as a mom, I burned, too with anger at those who hurt my kids. Change, real change that is, starts with the courage to look yourself in the eye, and talk about what you see. We all have a lot of work to do to shift our culture to one where girls recognize the right path and feel like they have the option to go that way. And then there is the courage to forgive, which is part of the same ball of wax. That mom could learn something from her daughter…

    • I agree that we need to better about showing young girls the right path to take and encouraging them to stand up for themselves and others. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I do have to clarify that her not accepting the friend request may not have anything to do with this at all. She may not have seen it, she may not even remember me, or maybe she’s only friends with people there who are actually part of her life.

      • Yes, I thought about that after I wrote. In fact, I’m one of those folks who doesn’t even look at fb anymore. I was wrong to assume that your friend’s mom had any motive at all, much less any ill-will. All I can say is, I can’t imagine that she would regret getting to know you again. You’re very reflective and kind.

  31. Hey there! Really nice post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
    We all make such mistakes in our lives but the important thing is for us to realize we were wrong. At the same time, we can’t expect people to just hand over their forgiveness so we just need to stay strong.

  32. Great to see this Freshly Pressed. Teenage girls are the worst. In fact, girls all the time can be pretty mean. I see what my 10 year old deals with and wonder what their mothers think. Well, as a mother I know what I think: I used to be the same mean way.
    Poor you and poor her and poor moms.

  33. There was a study done recently that shows clearly that when we’re teenagers, we’re at our cruelest.
    I’ve done stuff like this (not proud of it) but it doesn’t really work does it? Did those girls whose attention you got caught up in ever actually pay you a second mind for what you did for them? How do you think we should try and avoid getting caught up in attention like this?
    Great freshly pressed, really brave and honest of you to take responsibility for what you did.
    *A very ballsy thing to do: Share this post on facebook, and show the girl. Show her that so many years later, you still feel bad. Might be good guilt cleanser, but thanks for this beautiful piece of writing in the meantime.

    • I believe that. I think we are absolutely the most cruel during those years.
      Writing the letter did nothing long term with the other girls. It just allowed them the put most of the blame on me if I remember correctly.
      I’m really not sure how to prevent this type of behavior in other young girls. It’s so hard to explain while they are going through it that being popular wont matter that much when they get older. I think we just have to teach our kids kindness and empathy the best that we can.
      Thank you for your comment!

    • It’s just a different perspective that I think about now thatI have a daughter. One that I never considered as a teenage girl. She doesn’t really have anything to do with it other than what I put here, and that is really just my own speculation.

    • I grew up in a pretty small town. I’m FB friends with a lot of the parents of the people I went to school with, which may seem weird, but is mostly a polite choice over a logic choice. It’s making me laugh trying to explain it so I guess my final answer is, I don’t know other than that’s pretty common practice for the town. Thank you for your comment though. It’s a fair question.

  34. It’s amazing how most of us given a chance in our youth will chose to be nearer the top, when it’s really not the top at all. Thank you for sharing this. The need to fit in, be loved, liked, and accepted if only for a moment is the hardest part of being young. May be the hardest part of life, I’ll find out as I grow older I suppose.
    I admire you for reaching out to her all these years later,
    alison

    • That need for acceptance and love changes as you get older but I’m not sure it ever goes away. What changes the most is how we respond to it. I appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts today. So very true, what we think is the top during those years really isn’t much of prize.

  35. You’re right, mums never forget.Possibly never forgive. That’s because it must be heartbreaking watching your children suffer and even more heartbreaking not being able to do anything about it. But, you know, you’ve done your penance and you have done it right royally without trying to justify your actions. And you’ve exposed yourself, electronically speaking. That’s a large audience. So, I think you can forgive yourself now. Especially as your friend has forgiven you.

    • My daughter is only two and I already feel powerless over hurts she hasn’t even experienced yet. Thank you for comment and reading my self exposure. I appreciate your kind words.

    • Thank you. I didn’t expect to admit to quite so many people how wrong I was, but it’s okay. Not matter how ancient the history is, I made a bad choice that day.

  36. Wow! This is a GREAT post! So glad you got Freshly Pressed so more people will see this and know what it feels like. Your honesty and vulnerability were so beautifully expressed even though the whole situation was really hard. Blessings!

  37. A wonderful post rich with very personal, very real, always human detail. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and personal post.

    I really enjoyed your writing style. You painted an interesting, entertaining, picture with some nice humor laced in to take some of the sting away. (Like most readers I really enjoyed the thought of an angry cheerleader shoving a spirit stick up people’s asses and the term “pirate hooker.”)

    One thing that was particularly interesting to me was you, the narrator, as a character. The paragraph where you question why you ever even thought cheerleading was a good idea was very interesting to me. “I did not possess the pep for a weeklong UCA camp. I did not feel chipper, and I did not feel like dancing in public.” Not really ever talking to many cheerleaders it’s unique for me to think that there were some girls out there that weren’t that chipper, super spirited personality that I was accustomed to. Like any group, I’m sure there were people there just going through the motions.

    I’m happy the girl sounded like she accepted your apology finally, even if her mother did not. I have a teacher that would bring up from time to time when characters in a novel were nasty to each other, “Why do they do this? Because it’s fun to fuck with people.” In all its simplicity, he’s right. It’s human. At least you knew enough to try and make up for it later. Well done.

    • Thank you for your comment. Your teacher’s reasoning behind why people do what they do is interesting, and not that far off base, especially during the teenage years where most of us are just learning that our choices have real effects on others.
      Cheerleading for me was one of those things that I liked the idea of better than the reality. I tried out for years before finally making the squad my sophomore year. I was introverted and shy, but my desire to be part of that crowd was more important to me at the time than accepting my personality and temperament. Camp was very shrill, and I was definitely just going through the motions with exception of the games.
      Again, thanks for reading my post and for taking the time to leave such a great comment.

  38. Oh the spirit stick, the damn spirit stick…grrrrrrrrr…..I was the cheerleader that didn’t quite fit in, and the others picked on and were mean to. Now, all the former “mean girls” are just as nice as can be to me, although they never acknowledged there mean behavior. I’m an adult, I know now that we were all immature kids, so i just forgave and moved on. Life is good now, and I’m better for the experience, stronger. But I must admit I have often wondered if they ever regretted their actions…….now I know! Thank you!!

    • I’m sure that most of them do regret their actions. I’ve done my best to move on from the injuries from that time in my life as well–no one comes out unscathed. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  39. This is really honest writing and I hope the nice girl gets to read it, although by accepting your friend request it shows that she probably doesn’t need to read this to see through who you really are – she must have realized at some point then that you didn’t really mean it. It gives such comfort to get to know two kinds of good people – those who have always been so and those who have learned to be so. I’m glad I read your post and I hope more teens get to read it too.

  40. We all make mistakes. Emma, in Austen’s Emma, did the same to Mrs Bates. Not that she was trying to fit in as she was already the kingpin. She just wanted to make a funny comment and impress a guy. But the guy who she really respected was not impressed. Quite the opposite and he was brave enough to tell her so. And she felt shame for her thoughtless comments. And she learned from her mistakes! That is why Austen is our guide to happiness. The Austen Six, as I so lovingly call them, has so many such stories that illuminate the personal and give insight into how we can live a life of integrity and happiness. Have you noticed, hateful people aren’t happy? read my blog, Austen’s Guide to Happiness and tell me what you think.

    • I’m saddened that it is such a common theme, but I’m also happy that so many could relate in some small way to the post. I appreciate your comment!

  41. I tried cheerleading when I was studying in New York, was a total flop! Your post reminded me of those days in high school. Greetings from Sicily!

    • Thank you! I wish this wasn’t one of many moments that I wish I could undo, but thankfully this is one of the only ones that was so intentionally mean and hurtful. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  42. Captivating! I think many of us have been presented with a dilenma like this and taken the road most traveled by.
    Enchanting post! Certainly easy to relate to.

    Adieu, scribbler

  43. We’ve all been there. However very few write redeeming things and take actions to make it better, so you ARE better than they are. I’m still waiting for an apology from a few bullies from 15 years ago ;) Great post, beautiful writing!

    • Haha! Your blog name is cracking me up as much as your comment! Thank you for stopping by. I will do my best to take your advice, and I’m headed your way to see what you write about with that name!

  44. Lovely writing. Heartbreaking and oh so honest! I think each of us have a similar story wherein we did something we knew we should not do and ended up hurting a friend! I know that I do and wish I could take back what I had done! Thank you for sharing!

  45. Beautifully written. You have a real storytelling gift… My heart broke for both of you! If it makes you feel any better, we all did/said dumb shit to fit in. I admire her openness to your friend request – a chance for both of you to lay the past to rest, perhaps. And I do understand her Mum’s reaction. I find myself smarting about mean things that have been done/said to my 4year old… God help me to let go cos it’s a long journey through high school;-)

  46. Thanks for sharing your story, but don’t feel ashamed. We all do things we end up regretting, but don’t let it get you down. you’re still an awesome person!

  47. I think every girl has had that moment. The one you can’t take back, and haunts you forever. The one, single time you did the complete opposite of what you should’ve done. It’s just one moment, but it’s the moment that stays forever. Even though it gives you great life lessons, the bottom line is that moment is horrible. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, there’s always gonna be one.

  48. I remember a similar experience when I was in high school. I was a band geek and she was a cheer leader. The nicest girl on the planet. She was always nice to me for no reason at all. One day I was sitting with my band geek friends and she said hello to me as she was walking by. I said hello back and noticed my band geek friends making faces at me. I immediately made a disgusted expression as if I couldn’t stand that she had lowered herself to talk to me. I think she saw it. I could have eaten all my hair. I was so ashamed.
    I think all girls go through these things. Perhaps it’s a rite of passage. I wish my girls don’t have to experience these feelings on either side of the fence.

    • Thank you for sharing your story! I can relate to yours as well. I was friends with people from a lot of different groups before and after I finally made cheerleader, the kids from my honors classes and my church for example, and sometimes I felt as awkward with the other groups as I did with the cheerleaders. These moments suck, but we grow and learn from them. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment.

  49. Ay De Mi… There really should be a special tag, shouldn’t there? Fresh Press this, not that… Congrats though!

    I hate Facebook so much I never invite anyone to be friends, and need to have my password reset every time I log in, about once a month. It does, however, seem to be a rich source of writing material for other folks…

    • Right?!?! I really wish this story wasn’t on such prominent display, but I’m also overwhelmed and humbled by the responses.
      Facebook is a rich source of writing material, but I’ve been pretty sick of it for a while now. Not because of this story, but just a growing disgust with it in general.
      Thanks for reading!

  50. Nice post, I remember those Cheerleading days growing up in Illinois. I as well felt like the outcast of 3 others on my squad. Thinking back I remember how important it was to be in that group. I sure could of been doing something much more productive with my time :) . Thank you for sharing.
    Becki

    • Thank you for reading and commenting! I have those thoughts all the time–if I’d spent more time studying or practicing in the sports I enjoyed I would have been a lot happier for it.

  51. Great post! Harsh reality is kids will be kids. I think back to a lot of crappy things I did when I was younger, and I feel bad. The thought of someone doing this to my kids makes me cringe.

  52. “It didn’t matter that I felt terrible, or that I apologized, or even that I never did anything like that again.” It does matter. A LOT. Fantastic post. :)

    • Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to comment. And for saying that it mattered even though it didn’t feel like it did at the time.

  53. SO true about moms never forgetting the wrongs done to their daughters. When my daughter, Meghan, was only 6-years old, I found out that the boy who lived two doors down from our house (who I thought genuinely liked her as a friend) was extorting her desserts at lunch in exchange for “allowing” her to come over to his house and play.

    When she told me, I was so mad that I was actually afraid to go confront the kid myself because of what I might do to him if I got within close proximity – so I made my husband do it :) It’s been ten years since that happened, and I still get the urge to strangle the kid whenever I see him.

    • Thank you sharing your experience! That kid sounds like a shit, and I am quite sure I would have the same reaction! I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment.

  54. WOW !!!! this really made me think ! we all go down paths in life jumping into the dark abyss not able to stop ourselves at that moment in time. Yes our true punishment is the look on the face of the person whose throat we have just slit on our whim.Karma always comes in and slaps the shit out of us at some point….however we must find a way to forgive ourselves of the transgression that we have perpetrated on an innocent soul. The universe has a way of working things out. Sometimes if we just admit to our past hurts. Others open their doors back to us. I’m sorry starts many conversations that seemed impossible ! Stay encouraged!

  55. As my son (who was bullied in 7th grade) gets ready to enter high school next year, I always assure him that it gets better the older he gets. But he still has to get through high school. Thanks for sharing your story. It was so compelling…

    • I’m sorry your son was bullied. I hope he makes it through high school without too much more of this kind of crap. It does get so much better. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  56. This is such a great post. I remember being the butt of so many jokes and then turning around and making fun of some girl because she walked like a duck. I still feel bad about that and I am too scared to even attempt a friend request. But I’ve moved on and forgiven the people who made my life hell. ;) Now I get to see what it’s like to parent kids who are going through this. Somehow, I think that is much more difficult. Congrats on FP!

  57. I LOVE this! you’re so talented, you had me captivated from the beginning of your story until the end, my emotions followed your writing fully and completely. I could even taste the remorse as if it were my own. Lovely story, they really don’t! Congrats on FP, this is wonderful artwork :)

  58. The saddest part of your story is not that you feel for the usual teenage failings, that you were mean or that your friend was hurt. The saddest part is that after 20 years her Mom is still carrying unforgiveness to you in her heart and it’s still hurting her. When we become adults we need to realise that all teenagers do dumb things and hurt people unintentionally and we have to forgive others and ourselves for those times. It’s part of being a grown up. I do hope your friend’s Mom can forgive you and move on.

    • Well, to be fair, there is a very good chance that this incident had nothing to do with her not accepting my friend request. I shouldn’t make assumptions about it all, but it was that moment when I was scared to click on her under “People you Might Know,” and then she didn’t accept the request that made me remember this story in such detail. I took that angle because of how different I see things now that I have a daughter myself.
      If this was the reason for it, I really don’t blame her. The truth is, I haven’t seen either of them since I graduated, and that is reason enough to deny a friend request depending on how you view Facebook and those friendships. Some accept everyone they’ve ever know and some only accept people who are still part of their lives.
      In any case, thank you very much for taking the time to comment. I agree that we have a responsibility as adults to understand that children screw up all the time, and that forgiveness is important for everyone, especially when they show remorse for their actions.

  59. What sets you apart is that you gained no pleasure from that act. I was also bullied and excluded at school. It’s quite likely I would have done the same in those circumstances just to feel what is was like to be ‘valued’. Great post.

    • Thank you, jiltaroo! The desire to feel that acceptance is powerful, especially in the teenage years when you are convinced that it is all that matters or that it might change anything. I always wonder about the girls who were actually part of that group and how many of them acted that way only to prevent losing their place in the pecking order. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment.

      • Powerful is the right word. Pecking order too. I am sure that there are many girls that bow down to the ‘top dog’. I don’t think you did, I don’t feel you had a real choice in that moment. That kind of pressure is hard to resist. You ate something that didn’t agree with you…and then you wanted to vomit. xxxx

  60. I was somewhat bullied in highschool as an ethnic minority in a country town. But i’ve learnt to forgive those people. I think you have to. Resentment just anchors you to the past. I’m sure she forgives you. We were all just trying to survive and get through highschool anyway.

    Thankyou for sharing. As i’ve recently discovered, blogging and recounting about times when you’ve hurt someone you really cared about is SO hard.

    • This was a country town as well, so I can imagine the treatment you received in great detail, and I’m sorry that you had to endure that.
      Resentment will definitely anchor you to the past, and it is important to forgive and move on the best we can. You are so right–we were all just trying to survive.
      Welcome to blogging, and I agree, recounting some of these memories can be extremely difficult.
      Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment.

  61. You are such an awesome person. I mean to openly admit that we were in the wrong and that you STILL acknowledge it! That takes guts. I’ve been on the other side of mean girls and it hurts so badly. The tears are useless but they flow any way. I know the girls that gave me a hard time would never write something like this to tell on themselves. I really respect this, thanks for sharing and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Thank you. It is difficult to dredge up some of these memories and to admit how we’ve hurt people. I could tell a dozen stories about being on the other side of it as well, but I wanted to give a different perspective on it. I’m sorry that you experienced the other side of this as well; we are just terrible to each other when we’re growing up, and it does hurt. I hope someday you get an apology for the way you were treated.
      Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to comment.

  62. This is so feel-able, and mind-opening. Isn’t it scary how insecurity could turn us into. There’s always that devil in us, that envy (damn, envy is the hardest to cope with), and the feeling that things are unfair, and we want to share that feelings with other by treating them in an unfair way. Sorry for the rambling, you know, I just want to say, this is a great post. :D

    • Insecurity can bring out the worst in us. I really think it is the root of all problems with female friendships, and it can be so difficult to cope with. I enjoyed your comment and didn’t think you rambled at all. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave your thoughts here.

  63. I think we have all been the mean girl at one time or another. I know I have, and I felt just like you did – stomach in knots, knowing I shouldn’t be acting/doing something. Excellent post, and an excellent reminder of the how we go through things to never make those mistakes again. Very moving post!!

  64. First, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!!! :-) Because you most definitely deserve it, and I don’t always feel that way when I read some of the posts that the WP Gods choose to FP, since at times, it seems like a process of totally random selection. But they definitely got it right with you, and I’m very glad. :-)

    As far as what you’ve written here, as many others have also expressed, I also did similar things at that age, that I am not very proud of. I also stood up for some kids when almost no one else would, and I treated them with kindness instead of cruelty and contempt. Either way, it was all a very long time ago, so I don’t feel very much guilt or pride about what I did back then, these days.

    But I do understand how you feel, because your experience with the Mom was a very recent reminder. All the same, please forgive yourself because you deserve to be forgiven.

    You mentioned on your post after this one, that you wished WP had picked almost any other post you’ve written to FP, instead of this one. I understand how you feel, since with the seemingly fickle nature of FP selections, I’ve occasionally worried that one day I’ll post a torridly intimate account of my wife and I “celebrating” our marriage, only to find out that WordPress FP’d it, and hundreds of complete strangers are now reading it.

    My wife has been very patient with me, with regard to some of my more erotic posts that she is featured in, since my writing is much more subtle than graphic, and always a very flattering portrayal of her, unmistakably inspired by my genuinely deep and sincere love for her. But if such a post ever got FP’d, it might push her past her limits! Lol ;-) But I seriously doubt it will ever happen, because with the often risque content of my blog, which is still almost always written for the sake of humor, I think I’m on a WordPress “DO NOT FP THIS BLOGGER!” list. Lol :-D

    • Oh I don’t know, I think they are starting to step out and accept more graphic posts, and there is something genuinely sweet about your odes to your wife, even if they are sometimes risque.
      I see them as flattering to your wife, and I think your love and devotion shine through, as well as your respect for women in general, which I’ve said before.
      Anway, I appreciate your support here, and that you understand why this made me uncomfortable as an FP feature.

      • I’m in the middle of writing a post, but I had to stop and reply to your reply, because your timing is nearly perfect. I know that WP allows more graphic posts, and that is the theme of the post I’m writing right now. But if you ever see a “graphic” post that gets FP’d could you please let me know ASAP? I’m genuinely curious…

        Thanks for your opinion of what I have written about my wife, and recognizing that I do respect women in general. The truth is that I often have more respect for women that I do for men, not always, but often. Maybe that has something to do with my experience in high school, as a guy who loved to read and write, who also took Art as a major, but who also loved sports and was good enough to earn varsity letters in football, hockey and baseball. Jocks can be real assholes and I had to live with them for 5 long years in Jr and Sr HS. I was good friends with a few jocks, but even they could be assholes at times. (not that I’m perfect)

        Congrats again on being FP’d – even if it wasn’t the post you would have chosen, and thanks again for your opinion of me and my writing. Because your opinion matters to me, since you are one of my top three favorite writers and blogging friends here on WP, and that’s the truth, with no obligation for you to say the same about me. :-)

      • Well, I’m honored to be in your top three, and you are truly one of my favorite blogging friends. I really enjoy your writing and I’m a little intrigued by your new site even though I’ve not yet found it because you did not share a link to it :) hahaha.
        I suppose a truly graphic post probably wouldn’t be allowed on the front page, but they seem to be loosening the profanity guidelines, and the road to hell is paved with foul language.
        If I see you or Snarky on the front page, I’ll be surprised, and cheering you on.

  65. I found it–this is the post you spoke of in a more recent post that I just read. I really loved this post. I didn’t scroll through all the comments, so I’m sure this is redundant, but you tell this story with a searing honesty that is so authentic. The story is relatable, and it is truthful–the best possible combination. How difficult to write about yourself as the anti-heroine, as the mean girl? I give you such credit! I have been that girl, too, but I don’t know how honest I could be about it. Keeps you humble, I guess. Thanks for sharing.

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  69. i think whether we all want to admit it or not.. each and every one of us has been in a similar position and taken the same action. maybe we all need to do it to feel the punishment for ourselves to really know why we should make wiser choices the next time. beautiful words.. congrats on being freshly pressed :)

  70. This touched me because it reminds me of ways in which I have failed myself, as you’ve described. There are mistakes in all our lives which we can never forgive ourselves for – all we can do is learn from them and sometimes, as you have here, share that wisdom. Thanks.

    • Thank you for reading it.
      I think mistakes in relationships are inevitable, but hopefully with each mistake we learn to be better people.
      I appreciate your comment!

  71. Pingback: Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for November, Part I | Electrician Richardson

  72. Just found you and looked at this post. Such a good piece that I checked more out.
    I was on the receiving end of 2 years in senior school without a friend as the ‘gang’ decided they did not like me.
    Summers were spent just out walking on my own as I was invited no where. Then boys became interested in me as my body developed rapidly, so the girls had more to dislike in me!
    Now many years later and still finding it hard to make friends, I’ve hit a really bad health patch and retreated into my own world.
    You’ve guessed it, one of the girls from the past found out and has been a lifeline to me. She is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people you could ever wish to meet.
    Guess we just ended up at school being taken in by the ‘gang’ in different ways. We’ve never spolen about those years but I now value her friendship every day.

    • Well thank you for reading this. The story is all too familiar to so many. I’m sorry that you have hit a rough patch with your health, and I hope that things improve for you soon. Thank you so much for sharing your story, especially since it has ended in what sounds like a great friendship for you both.

  73. Sorry I’m late. Just getting through the mountain of “Freshly Pressed” emails that have been stacking up for far too long.

    Funnily enough, the story resonates more with me now than it would have done in December 2012. My relationship with my girlfriend hadn’t been tested to such an extent at that time. This year I was unfaithful to her in mid-May, then didn’t tell her until the end of June. It’s now December again and she still has moments where her trust in me collapses and we both fear the worst.

    It’s the knowing it was wrong at the time and still doing it that confuses and alarms me the most. As I suspected even then, one day of shortsighted pleasure isn’t worth the months of pain and bitter regret, especially when the topic flares up again in heated moments, long after you think you’ve served your penance. I hope the scar heals over properly and we’re still together in 20 years’ time.

    But I digress, a little. Thank you for sharing.

    • That sounds like a difficult situation for you both, but I wish you luck as you continue to rebuild and re-establish trust. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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