I resonated with this post. No, I don’t have a daughter, but I *was a daughter. And I was never part of anyone’s clique. Still have never been.
I am *mostly okay with that now. I have friendships one-on-one and find them to be richer that way. But I still occasionally wonder what it might be like to always do vacations with the same set of couples or girls’ weekends with a group who all got to know each other in Bible study and stayed in touch after they had moved on . . .
Fact is, I can be curious as to why I am so eminently forgettable that I *don’t get calls from people who have spent nearly 20 years in Bible study with me or who have served with me several years on the same fundraiser committee for cancer research. But, as I have said, I have rich friendships with those who do stick with me (a few all the way from childhood), so I try to let the rest go.
Sometimes I am tempted to attribute the shape of my life to the fact that our only child/son has high functioning autism. I think both parents have vestiges of it. I would be considered “shadowed” in autism lingo.
Yet I have talked to enough women, and have read accounts from others, that I realize that probably more than 50% of women resonate with my story, at least the majority of their lives. There is no end to the long line of women who feel that they have spent their lives on the outside looking in. It is a rather common configuration and has many members with whom I should be proud to relate.
That said, I do love a good “chick flick” with an ensemble cast of richly textured women. Sometimes they inspire each other; other times they drag each other into banality and prejudice. Both types of movies are fascinating.
Lately, I have been focusing (again) on Julia Roberts, one of my favorites.
I saw her in Mystic Pizza, where she, her sister, and their best friend find love and laughter while waitressing at a pizza restaurant in Mystic, Connecticut. I also saw Mona Lisa Smile, in which she plays a Wellesley art professor who invades a very stereotyped, prejudiced world in the 1950’s and finds true friendship with some of her students and lifelong superficiality in others (or in their mothers!).
Then I watched The Help, about a group of suburban socialites in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960’s, and mostly about their black maids. What an amazing movie. History rolls on by and only one of these wealthy, privileged women realizes that there is a story to be heard from the maids. This rare young lady gathers notes on that story and tells it in book form. Meanwhile, the others drive on past the roadblock set up when Medgar Evers is murdered, never realizing that the event was not just “oh, some Negro got himself killed.”
A couple of people in the film learn and grow but most do not. They remain prejudiced and banal to the bitter end.
The lessons are many from films such as these and from the stories most women have of either being invited into a clique as it forms or of being left on the outside looking in, time after time, as they move on to new places in their life’s story.
Most of us find our peace and our balance somewhere along the way, but we always wonder what it is like for those who make the cut and have those lifelong friendships with the same group, or with more than one group along the way.
Sometimes those groups seem banal, with the members even seeming to be intentionally mean to outsiders; but often they seem deep and textured. And sometimes we just don’t know what they are like, as we are not there and can only suppose what is said between friends . . .