TRUE STORY: Mean Girls and Revelations

Two of my kids–both boys, and both, in my opinion, are some of the finest boys on the planet–are navigating the choppy waters of middle school.

Normally I don’t blog about them. They’re getting older, and sometimes their friends–or their friend’s parents, or their teachers–read my blog, and it feels like a little invasion of privacy for their mom to talk candidly about their lives as  young men. So I usually stick to my littlest’s stories, and occasionally her older sister.

But middle school, man. It’s a tough gig.

My boys are artistic. They’re clever. They’re kind. They’re sarcastic. They’re loyal. They’re hardworking. They’re musical. They’re hilarious.

And oh my God, they’re the target of mean girls. Not just mean girls, but mean middle school girls. Let’s all have a moment of silence about that. Because mean middle school girls are the worst.

On the drive home from the bus stop, each kid has to tell me three good things about their day before anything else. After we’ve relived the positive, we move on to the tougher spots of the last ten hours. My oldest often says things like Nothing worth mentioning, Mom. Just the usual. He’s learning to let the shitty stuff roll off his back. I’m so proud of him–that’s super hard to do. It’s tougher for his younger brother. He’s just learning the art of ignoring haters, and he’s a little more sensitive, so it’s a struggle.

One particular drive home he was describing the recess scene to me, and it’s identical to almost every day prior. Mean girl seeks him out at recess. Mean girl proceeds to tear him down in a gross, underhanded and expertly played fashion. My boy is left wondering if maybe he really is stupid, and gross, and dumb for liking stuffed animals and Star Wars and for having angel kisses on his face.


And then David Bowie died. Thomas and I were talking about him at the kitchen table–about who he was a person, who he was as an artist. The boys were listening in, like they often do, taking in more than I give them credit for.

The next day in the car, the kids told me three positive things about their days, and then my son said,

“I thought about David Bowie a lot today. About how he was just who he was, and that he wasn’t afraid to be who God created him to be, even though so many people thought he was weird at first. And I thought about how because he was okay with being who God made him to be, and because he tried to be the best at just being himself, that he made a difference with his art.”

“That’s good stuff.” I said it softly, but inside I was bursting with pride.

“I want to be like that.”

“Me, too, kiddo.”

“I don’t want to wear make-up, though.”

“You don’t have to. That was his thing, sometimes. It doesn’t have to be yours.”

He turned and stared out the window at the passing cars and buildings and trees and telephone poles, disappearing into the thoughts inside his head. Still waters run deep.

TRUE STORY: Sometimes the mean girls help us see the David Bowie in ourselves.


p.s. Sleep tight, Starman.


20 thoughts on “TRUE STORY: Mean Girls and Revelations

  1. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    I can relate to this post on so many levels, Myndi. As a dorky middle-schooler and the growing pains, as a mother whose heart breaks when her children are hurting, as a grandmother who isn’t looking forward to her grandkids dealing with mean kids and knowing the pain my son and especially my daughters will feel as their children experience that ugly side of life, and as a David Bowie fan.

    You’re an awesome mom. Your kids are blessed. Cheers to seeing the David Bowie in ourselves! I love that!

    • Fantasy For the Rest of Us. says:

      ❤ I think we could all do well to embrace our inner David Bowie a little more! ❤

      Thanks for popping by. I can't decide if I'm encouraged that this kind of thing is a universal story, or sad about it. It does help, I think, to know that most people have walked in the same shoes. And it definitely builds character!

  2. Kelly Roberts says:

    In my opinion, there’s nothing quite like listening to your child express an insightful moment. It gives me hope for humanity. You’re obviously doing a bang-up job for him to get to that place in his mind, and have enough courage to articulate it like he did…well done, to both of you!!

    • Fantasy For the Rest of Us. says:

      Thanks Kelly. He’s a special kid. And you’re totally right–those moments when you can kind of see the curtain of childhood lift a little, and see the man (or woman) they’re becoming is POWERFUL. And wonderful. I’m so proud of him and all my other little broodlings. ❤

  3. Piper Bayard says:

    Beautiful post, Myndi. As my daughter says, the only thing a person really needs to be is “not a dips**t.” Sounds like you’re son’s all over it.

    As for the mean girls, they never picked on my son, but he heard them picking on other people, and he never dated a high school girl because of it. Nothing meaner on the planet than a teenage girl.

  4. Diana Beebe says:

    Wow! What an amazing attitude your son has! I don’t get mean girls–why they think they’re cool for being jerks. My older daughter stopped being friends with several girls in middle school because they turned mean. Not her loss, that’s for sure, and I wasn’t sad to see them go either.

    I love this post, and I will share it with both my daughters (the younger one gets to navigate those middle school waters soon). Thanks for sharing it!

    • Fantasy For the Rest of Us. says:

      Hi Diana! I’m so impressed by your oldest daughter–giving up friends is a really tough thing to do, even if it’s the right thing to do. ❤ I don't understand mean girls either. In my heart I think it comes down to parenting–folks not showing the way for their kids, and cultivating in them the firm backbone and tender heart that's needed to make a kind person. That stuff doesn't just happen all by itself.

      My oldest daughter won't enter middle school for a few more years, but I'm already feeling anxiety about it.

      • Diana Beebe says:

        It wasn’t easy. I stopped being friends with the mom, too, because she couldn’t believe that her daughter would behave badly, even with witnesses. No sense forcing a friendship just because the kids had been friends since kindergarten. My daughter amazes me all the time by the way she stands up for herself and for what’s right.

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