Growing up in the late ’80s and ’90s, I fell victim to the stories sold to me by “Saved By The Bell,” “The Baby-Sitters Club” and Lifetime Original movies — that every girl meets her lifelong BFFs in elementary school, they all love the same things, have regular sleepovers, stay close through college, are in each other’s weddings, and help to raise one another’s kids.
I’ve always felt like I’ve lived on the outside, never truly belonging anywhere but always somehow working my way into a seat at some table, even if it was with the Art Geeks from the cafeteria in Mean Girls.
My entire life I’ve had opinions, spoke boldly, and refused to go along with what was popular. Those traits have consistently validated a few feelings I’ve always wrestled with:
1. That I am too much — too loud, too bossy, take up too much space.
2. That I’m not enough — not smart enough, not thin enough, not fast enough, not good enough.
3. That I don’t REALLY belong anywhere — not sporty enough for the jocks, not smart enough for the nerds, not risky enough for the outcasts.
4. That I am certifiably the worst at trying to fit in at the expense of my beliefs, be they faith-based or philosophical.
While I’m forever grateful to my ride or die — the Kelley to my Jessie — we haven’t always been in each other’s lives like the shows had said. We even (gasp!) have had other friends for various seasons in our lives.
We did Girl Scouts together, then weren’t close again until high school. We graduated and she had a baby and I went to school far away. She was in my wedding but then I had a child with special needs … none of it happened the way the movies promised.
Life is messy and unpredictable and it just wasn’t always slumber parties and late night phone calls.
That is real life.
I can’t be her everything all the time any more than I can expect her (or anyone) to be mine.
And, here is the thing.
I’m okay with being too much for some people because THEY 👏 ARE 👏 NOT 👏 MY 👏 PEOPLE.
Read that again: I. Am. Okay.
It took me nearly 40 years to realize this, but I have never been a “yes” girl. In fact, I love saying no. So why would I want so desperately to fit in with 4-6 other chameleon women who nod their heads at what one says, bashes the husband who the other is frustrated with, or dresses the same?
Hear me when I say, No ma’am. No thank you.