It’s Okay to be Who You Are – I Have Proof

I know it’s early – but I was too tired to write last night.  It wasn’t for lack of words either because I laid in bed for hours trying to put all the words in my head into sentences.  I am alone in my room now, John’s watching the race, Colton is in his room (he just returned from his mother’s), Allison is with her boyfriend and Amy just jumped in the shower.

My kidless weekend actually ran very short.  The girls decided to come home yesterday evening because Allison was going to a sleepover at her friends’ house so Amy had to come back with her as well from their dad’s.  John and I ran off to the movies and got back around 11:15pm.

After we got back, I went into Amy’s room and we had a heart to heart conversation about boys, cliques, relationships, fitting in, etc.  It was a great conversation.  Let me describe Amy to you – she spent most of her school years in the same school – she’s bilingual.  I’m hoping I made the right choice for her, but now I’m not so sure.  Oh, it’s great she can speak French fluently but at what cost to her did I cause, socially?  Everyone in her class decided to attend the high school for their grade 10, 11 and 12.  I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy transition for Amy.  She tried an English school in half of grade 9 and didn’t like the “phony girls” – I tried to explain to her that these are going to be the same girls attending the high school.  I could understand her not wanting to be left behind while her other friends left for the high school.  She followed them and got left behind anyway.  Amy always had friends, was very bubbly and has a great sense of humour.  She’s athletic, very pretty, and someone who always made friends easily.  The scary thing is, she is me 30 years ago, minus the athletic part.  I was never part of the ‘in crowd’ at school,  I wasn’t popular, or a “head banger” or smoker – I was one of those “plain Jane’s” who nobody noticed.

Her so-called friends started making new friends and hanging out with the ‘preppy’ crowd at this new school.  As much as Amy wanted to fit in, she just didn’t like some of these kids.  She doesn’t like these kids who try to be someone they’re not just to get accepted by their peers.  If there was one thing that I am proud that I taught her, it was to be herself and accept other people for who they are.  She has done just that.  When I was in school these ‘other people’ were referred to by society as ‘outcasts’ – you know the kind … piercings, tattoos, funky hair, geeks, nerds, gays, lesbians (back then we didn’t know many of those – it was more taboo) … these are the kids she gravitates toward. The reason she “cliques” with these kids is because they are true to themselves.   They don’t try to be someone that everyone else wants them to be – someone that society would deem “normal”.  She believes that it’s these kids who remain non-judgmental.  Amy has been bullied in this new school by some girls in her class when she first started – they were telling her how she is worthless and no guy would ever want to be with her.  My heart breaks for her when I hear that and I cry inside.  As strong as an ox though, she never changes who she is.  It makes me so incredibly proud to know what a great kid she is.

She came home from school one day last week and told me this guy asked her out.  Apparently he’s one of the “popular” boys – on the track team, plays hockey – a real jock.  For someone like Amy she was SO excited and it did a great thing for her self esteem, I’m sure.  She told me one day after that though, she was uncomfortable walking with him in school in front of his jock friends – I could feel and understand the uncomfort she must have felt.  People would make comments and tease the boy.  Amy doesn’t like to have attention drawn to her in that way.  She didn’t believe that his peers accepted her as “his girlfriend” because she’s not like most of the girls he’s dated – the “popular girls”.  I knew it was only a matter of time before this relationship was going to end.  I wanted to kind of monitor it along the way so she didn’t get hurt.

She went to his house the other day after school.  I told her I’d pick her up around 6:30pm.  When I messaged her at 5:45 and told her I’d come over now since I was heading to the store.  Her reply was, “sure!”.  I knew then this couldn’t be good – if she didn’t want me to come she would have definitely kicked up a stink.  She got in the car and told me it was an okay time – his friend was with them and she watched them play video games.  There wasn’t a whole lot of conversation between them, he was too busy trying to impress her with his video game skills (or there lackof – apparently he “sucked” – ha).  They were suppose to go to a movie this evening.  Last night when John and I returned from the movies I went in to tell her I was home and she was a bit cranky.  I asked her if she was okay – she snapped back “yeah” – then I asked her about the movie and if he was still taking her.  She told me she didn’t even want to go.

I went in to her room, sat on her bed and prepared myself for the conversation to come.  She didn’t like him.  She was uncomfortable with him because of his status in school and they have nothing in common.  I guess when they were walking in the hall the other day and one of Amy’s eccentric cousins walked by (piercings everywhere, tats), the boy made a comment, “wow, there are all kinds of strange people around here”.  That was the wrong thing to say to Amy – she came back with, “uh, that’s my cousin!”  His chin dropped to the floor and he apologized.  She told me she hated him for saying that – she adores her cousin BECAUSE of her eccentricity.  She told me, “ma, he likes rap music, I hate it” – and I guess he told her he loved her after a couple of days.  Amy asked me, “how can he say that if he doesn’t even know me?”.   He wanted her to say it but she told him she would if she did but she told him she doesn’t love him so why say it.  Then he got one of his friends to ask her if she’s going to “do it” with him.  My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach but I know my daughter well enough to know she handled this in the right way.  She told his friend she wasn’t going to be doing “it” with him because she doesn’t even know him, they were only dating for like 5 days.  I knew then she was in over her head.

These “popular” guys try to see just how far they can go with a girl.  I am so glad and so proud that Amy has a great head on her shoulders and she knew well enough to say the things she did.  Last night, though, she wanted me to help her break it off with him.  She didn’t want to be mean, but she just wasn’t interested in this guy.  I assured her that it’s only been a few days and he’ll be fine.  I told her this is why you date – to find out if you are compatible with someone and she just isn’t compatible with this guy.  She was afraid to do it face to face so I told her to text him – I know that sounds tacky, but apparently that’s how he asked her out, that’s how he told her he loved her and that’s how he asked her to “do it” – so she didn’t see it a problem to text him.  I told her, “tell him, you’re just not that into him” – we had a good laugh at that. I left her alone for her to do what she had to do.

This morning I was sitting out on my swing and Amy joined me on the deck.  I asked her how it went last night and she said she explained to him they have nothing in common, he liked rap, she likes country … he wants to go to parties, and she’d rather stay in and watch movies.  I think she let him off easy – he went into his twitter account and sounded sad, but she figures he’s just looking for attention from some other girl and by the end of the week he’ll be dating someone else.

For Amy, I think she learned that whether someone is “popular” or cute or, as she would word it, ‘at the top of the social ladder’ – they aren’t always the right person to be with.  This boy has a status to live up to, which I kind of feel sorry for. It can’t be easy to live up to the person everyone else wants you to be.  I’m really glad that Amy stayed true to who she was …

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