The cold truth that she's going to.
When we were both in third grade, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Leading up to that, I was thirsty all the time and could've drunk the water fountain dry.
Back in the classroom, my friend snickered at the lie I told: "Um, the sink splashed me, and it exploded everywhere, and my pants are wet." I was desperate.
But my friend still grins about it. She says it's our little secret.
A few years later, I decided to find new friends. I was a good kid - the girl with her homework done and her pencil really sharp and the straight A's on her report cards. (Once in the fifth grade I got a D, but it was in handwriting, and we all know that's not a real thing.)
And then the Friday before Christmas break, they wrote me a note. It was folded neatly and marked, "Private," in colorful ink with big, loopy cursive. It was a friend breakup note, and it ended like this:
The Three Musketeers (not four)
It was my first real heartbreak, and in the end it was so what I needed before middle school, but you know what? My mean friend came back with a vengeance. And she loves that story.
She laughs that I'm failing, and I'm not enough, and I'm just going to embarrass myself again. But it's not true. I'm not failing, and I am enough. I'm definitely going to embarrass myself again, but don't we all?* That's not even the point.
The point is this: The person who's closest to me in life, who's been there the longest, who has the most power to bully or to bless me -
I'm the perfectionistic mean kid with the taunting memories. And I'm the vulnerable nice girl with something to lose.
You're your biggest fan and your worst critic. Join the club.
It's David's club. And Peter's. It's a club for people with a rough track record and a bright future. A club for people who've lived with the bully for too long.
Maybe she says you're not worth it, or you can't do it. Maybe she tells you you're stupid or poor or lame. Maybe she says no one listens to you. Maybe she says no one loves you.
But she's wrong, guys. And we have something to say to her, too:
This club has room for more than three, and we never listen to liars who say otherwise. (We're exclusive like that.)
Saying goodbye to the mean girl,
*A little proof: Last year I tried to give my single male neighbor a Women's Fitness magazine, an issue with a bikini-clad athletic goddess on the cover. I insisted he take it because I thought it was his girlfriend's, who didn't even live there. He blushed when he saw the cover and mumbled that it wasn't his or his girlfriend's. And then I blushed. So yes, I'll embarrass myself.