The Friendship Files: Just Hang in There

When you can't make it to the Duran Duran concert in Austin, this is what you do: you send the family out, play the concert movie, crank up the surround sound, shut the blinds, and DANCE. And possibly take pictures of the tv, because you are a 15 year old girl trapped in a 44 year old's skin.

David Lynch's "Duran Duran Unstaged"

And then you collapse in the recliner, because your 44 year old body is not used to jumping up and down and squealing.

And while you’re collapsed, the music creates in your mind a jumbled mess of memories, mixed with present day worries, and you start to see patterns and faces, and everything runs together to the point that you don’t know what is Real and what is Regret.

*****

With a daughter in the house who is sneaking into tween territory (without my permission, I might add), emotions, hormones, and tempers are running high. There is often screaming and door slamming, followed by teary apologies and requests to cuddle.

Baby-ness fighting against a takeover of grown-up proportions.

The approach of puberty has brought with it a whole shit-storm of issues, one of the top hot-button subjects being friendship troubles.

All of a sudden, everything has become about friends.  Friends have always been important, but now, it’s all WHY DIDN’T SO-AND-SO INVITE ME TO HER BIRTHDAY PARTY.  And WHO IS PARTNERS WITH WHOM IN SPANISH CLASS.  And SO-AND-SO IS STEALING MY FRIEND AWAY, MOM.  And NO ONE LIKES ME, AND LIFE ISN'T FAIR.

Is your head hurting yet?  Because mine is.  In fact, I need a drink.   Or an escape pod to the Planet Why-Can’t-We-All-Just-Get-Along.

Cue the memories, some buried deep, but loosening and scraping their way to the surface, aided by an evening of indulging in the songs of my youth.

*****

Poised in front of the phone on the kitchen wall, curly-q cord twisted around my arm for good measure, I gripped my mother’s VISA card, waiting for the numbers on the “digital” clock to flip from 9:59 to 10:00 am.  The year was 1984.

Weeks of planning led up to this moment when Rainbow Ticketmaster seemingly held the key to all future happiness.  My heart raced as the clock turned and I dialed the phone number, only to be greeted with an annoying busy signal in my ear.

After a frenzy of frantic redialing, I finally broke through to a bored female voice on the other end of the line, and I placed my order for tickets to the Duran Duran concert.

*****

As I savor this enjoyable memory, I realize it is also tinged with a ghost of a dark cloud.  There are snippets of discourse attached to it, details muddled.

I can hear my own teenaged voice lamenting, WHY IS SHE GOING TO THE CONCERT WITH HER INSTEAD OF ME? WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH ME? I THOUGHT WE WERE BEST FRIENDS!  I’LL SHOW HER! I’LL FIND EVEN MORE FUNNERER FRIENDS TO GO WITH! *sobs into pillow after slamming bedroom door, sending Duran Duran wall poster plummeting to floor*

Ah, youth.

Times have not really changed, even though phones are anchored to kids’ palms instead of kitchen walls.

Amidst all the fun they have together, girls still have issues with each other in the form of jealousy, competition, and hurt feelings.

I don’t have any magic advice to give my daughter other than 1) be yourself, 2) be kind, and 3) it will all be OK.

Oh, and someday, you and these same girls will all be friends on The Next Facebook, all the drama will be long forgotten, and everyone will love each other and live happily ever after.

I promise.

Just hang in there, kid.


Comments

  1. I rarely feel fondness for memories of my teenaged years, they were the toughest years of my life.

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  2. It's good that you can relate to your daughter's friend troubles, although I imagine that, at her age, she'll not believe you when you say you understand. But you'll know that you do.

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    1. Yes, it's the old, "You don't understand!" But then she seems to circle back and really listen to me sometimes :)

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  3. Remembering how we were at a certain point and our lives and making allowances for that is probably one of the trickier parts of parenting. Once I have kids, I hope I'll be able to see things from their point of view.

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    1. It is tough to do sometimes when they are so caught up in the moment. You want to just say it'll all be OK, but that is hard for them to see when they're struggling.

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  4. I just keep thinking it would be easier, for us moms anyway, if the corded phone was still on the wall. At least then we might have an inkling of the triggers sometimes. The "circles" are just too big and ill-defined for me.

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    1. I agree! At least when the phone was in the wall, my mom could eavesdrop on me. Not that I condone eavesdropping :)

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