I loved high school. I loved the classes and I loved the camaraderie, as well as the expected intellectual stimulus. I had many friends, due to the fact that I blended easily into several groups of people. And I loved talking. Talking to anyone, anywhere, about anything.
I was in a hurry that day; I’d lost track of time during a discussion about the newest movie out in theaters. I made it to my locker with just enough time to switch my books out before heading to English class. Turning to leave, I paused suddenly when I noticed a tall brunette a ways down the hall headed towards me. It was Lexi. I could tell (despite my horrible eyesight) by the sound of clacking heels accompanied by a high-pitched squeal that some called a laugh. She was the most popular girl in the tenth grade, being both beautiful and athletic. We were friends… kind of.
Lexi and I had met just before Homecoming through mutual friends. We’d struck a kind of strange relationship when her boyfriend dumped her and she’d turned to me for advice. A little confused as to why she was talking to me, I did my best to comfort her. I later decided that she’d talked to me because I, being a Junior, was the most mature girl in the group. Although she was ever conscious of the attention she received, she’d always been sweet and gracious towards me.
On this day, however, I found a whole different side of Lexi that was disgustingly unexpected. I was just tucking my books under my arm as she made her way to me. When I waved my hand in greeting and flashed a priceless smile, she raised her chin, looked the other way, and kept walking.
I was appalled.
At first I thought she was kidding. It was in her humor to pose arrogance, but she wasn’t smiling. My second thought was that she didn’t recognize me. As ditsy as she was, I didn’t think she was capable of forgetting what I looked like, so that one was ruled out. Then, I thought she might not have seen me. I was kind of short. Suddenly, an explanation struck me: she was with a boy.
Sometimes, I wonder if girls turn their brains of just before they start high school and turn them back on when they graduate. Sometimes, I wonder if they remember to turn them back on at all. There’s something that happens to some girls when they strike a relationship with a guy. It’s like they forget everything their mothers ever taught them. They don’t think before they speak. They don’t think before they laugh. They stop eating, they stop sleeping, they stop studying. They surely don’t smile and wave to their friends. They think of the boy and only the boy who they’re with right there at that moment.
This is what really upsets me.
You see, this is what I believe: the ability to have intelligent thought process was presented to women for a reason, and that reason is not so she can lose it in the presence of a man.
I was so incredibly angry that I slammed my locker closed with a defiant clang. I stormed past Lexi, shooting her the dirtiest look I could muster. Not that she was able to see it past the globs of black makeup lining her lids. I had an unquenchable desire to drag her out the door by her perfectly curled ringlets. I was so uncontrollably ticked, I stopped in the bathroom and tried to calm myself before class. Why are girls so stupid? I screamed silently into the mirror. The truth was, beneath the fuming rage I capped on the outside, I was hurt. Why did Lexi have to ignore me for some stupid boy? We were supposed to be friends.
It was in that moment I decided that I would define myself and seal it in concrete. I would NEVER act like a fool for a guy and I would NEVER treat my friends poorly to impress that guy. If I defined myself as a strong and confident woman, the presence of a man could never affect my behavior.
I was four minutes late for class that day.
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