Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Popular Girls

Today, I'm participating in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.  The writing prompt i chose to work with is..."The Popular Girls":

When I first think of "The Popular Girls", I think of the Plastics in the movie "Mean Girls".  You know - the stereotypical popular clique - the prettiest, richest girls with flawless skin and perfect bodies who date the hottest, most muscular male athletes.  The girls who are known by all - but are not usually very well respected.  

My idea of being "The Popular Girl" has changed significantly over time.  Here is a description of my quest to be a popular girl, beginning at the very young age of 
Twelve.  Hormones kicked in, everything became a competition, and jealousy was a part of everyday life.  All of my girl friends were battling the same emotions - the need to be known, the need to impress others, and the search for self-confidence. Some of us had too much self confidence, while some of us had none at all.  Slumber parties usually ended up with someone going home early in tears over a goofy boy or a lost tube of lip gloss or something.
During my early teenage years, things became increasingly complicated.  I tried to be "the best" at everything: school work/grades, athlete,etc.  The only problem with that plan was, I never succeeded at being "THE best".  While being "THE best" would get me recognized, it also created a world of pressure - and I was way more concerned with being "THE best" to impress others, but never for my own benefit.  I just wanted to be known... known for being the best.  I never, ever was.  
I finally realized in high school that being THE best isn't possible, because there is always someone out there with little more talent/brains/beauty/etc.  I settled for always trying my best, and accepted that my personal best may not be "THE best" but it's "the best" for me.  I still cared about what others thought of me, and it hurt to hear when someone made a negative comment about me that I felt was unfair or untrue. By the end of my senior year, I had loads of self-confidence and felt as though I had matured a ton.  Still yet, I struggled with what other people thought of me on a daily basis - so did that mean I didn't have as much self confidence as I thought?

My idea of being "popular" was wiped completely clean on my first day as a college freshman at Marshall University.  Before heading to my first class, I peeked out the window from my 13th floor dorm room - and saw 15,000 other students walking around campus who didn't care about my high school class ranking or my junior prom dress.  My popularity fell 13 stories, straight into the ground.  I never regained that sense of popularity, but discovered what self-confidence really is. Being "The Popular Girl" and having a real sense of self do not go hand in hand, at least in my world.  
During college, I found that it's best to be well respected by those who know the real you, than to be known by tons of people who have little or no respect for you and/or do not know who you really are.  Does that make sense? 

Currently, I consider myself "well-known" in the workplace.  I feel that I'm respected by my co-workers, and I like that.  Do they think I'm the coolest chick on the block?  Probably not.  But they do know they can rely on me to help problem solve and keep things going. That makes living in Athens worthwhile - 10 years ago, I wouldn't have been able to bear walking down Court Street and not know a soul - but now, I don't even pay attention.  Being a "Popular Girl" has been replaced with being a "Needed Girl" - needed by my workplace, needed by my husband, and needed by my house cat. 

Finally, being a "Popular Girl" can be a great thing - just make sure that you are a positive influence on those you know - and who know you :)

To be "popular" can mean many things - what does it mean to you?
How has your own popularity changed over the years?   

I would like to express my appreciation for Mama Kat's Writing Workshop - writing prompts are a blessing for bloggers who, like me, frequently suffer from writer's block.  If you're struggling with post ideas, head over to Mama Kat's blog for some inspiration!

Mama's Losin' It

post signature


Bobbie said...

I followed you from the writers workshop and I going to participate today. I just had to tell you that when I read your post it was like reading a page from my diary. I also tried to strive to be the best and never quite measured up but as I got older and matured I realized that it is a great big world out there and I was never going to be the best:) Thanks for sharing!

Maureen said...

WOW this is such a great writing! I agree with you that as we age these 'popular girls' type will be shifted :D

Mama Kat said...

I love this! The meaning of popularity absolutely changes over time...and for some reason high school is when it's the most sought after. I'm SO not looking forward to those years with my kids!!

Crazy Shenanigans said...

Steph, I love this post! I can completely relate to all of that. I think you're a fabulous person and I'm glad tha I met you in college!

Complicated Mama said...

Great post and so true.... Though I too am not looking forward to dealing with the teen years and popularity drama with my kids--- esp my dd

Georgia said...

I was just about to watch mean girls when I saw this post haha.