Not only am I tossing an idea around for a YA novel, but my own YA is officially going to be a teenager in less than a year. I've been following along with whatever these lovely teen writers have to tell us. I know it will all be useful to me very soon, in a very personal way.
Back to the tweets from last night. @MeganWhitmer asked when the Mean Girls stuff started in school. I reassured her that it wasn't in Kindergarten, but @ABoredAuthor chimed in with his own experience. 7th Grade, he assured us, was when he noticed the beginnings of the cliquish, snarky meanness amongst his female classmates.
I was floored.
Lulu starts 7th grade in little more than a week. I was never concerned about her not fitting in before. She has a, let's call it unique, sense of style. She has her own ideas when it comes to colors matching, patterns clashing, and what constitutes an outfit that works together. If we're going somewhere with a definite dress code, I'll make her change. Otherwise, I don't want to limit her fashion sense. What's the point? I'd rather she was happy and felt like she could make her own choices than force her to wear what I think she should wear.
|One of Lulu's more eclectic fashion choices. She didn't leave the house like this, at least.|
I worried about how the "in girls" would react to her clothes. She doesn't dress like any of them, and this is the age where girls tend to get judgy about what all the other girls are wearing, how they style their hair, do their makeup, and everything else.
I should not have worried.
I asked Lulu about this. She just didn't care. Her attitude is that she makes friends for who they are, not for what they wear. If someone doesn't want to be her friend because she wore purple argyle socks, that's their loss. And you know what? If it doesn't bother her, I'm not going to let it bother me.
I think I know where she gets it. I routinely get mistaken for Mary Poppins. Today at the grocery store, someone thought I was going to audition for Alice in Wonderland. Okay. At least they noticed I made an effort to look nice in public. Lulu has seen me reply to these kinds of comments for years. I think she realizes that dressing differently might garner some attention, and not all of that attention is negative. She knows that I will keep dressing however I want to, and I don't even let the negative comments get me down or change my behavior. If it makes me happy to look like Mary Poppins, then that's good enough reason to keep doing it.
Mean girls will always exist. I'm just grateful my daughter doesn't want to be one of them. At least, not yet. We'll see how things go once she goes back to school.