In her bedroom Francine had her music blaring, this time she was not singing along, for her thoughts were too loud in her psyche. Staring at all the images on her wall, she found herself deeply looking at each picture. “Did it really mean something to her? Was it something she wanted on her wall, or did she put it up because it was cool? Were they representations of what she enjoyed, truly wanted to do, go, be?”
Her eyes were held by the award she had won for singing. That was her! Her heart felt alive when she was singing. She enjoyed being a voice in the choir as well as a soloist, they offered different things that brought her joy. Being with other people who loved to sing filled her heart up. Pulling out her yearbook, she turned the page to the choir image. Slowly she gazed at each person, realizing with great force that she did not really know any of them personally. “What was that about? Why had she not created friendships with these people?” as she questioned herself, sadness crept into her spirit.
If she was truthful with herself the answer was boldly there, none of the choir people fit into her popular group. Funny how the basketball group did, stupid athletics dominated again. This reality was not something she liked, however, she had played along, pretending that she liked some of the girls on the team and behaving just as arrogantly.
Looking at her reflection in the mirror she started to criticize, barraging herself with self loathing. Being mad at how she played along, was a jerk to other students, pretended to be cool and a “know it all.” “Really Francine, who do you think you are? You’re no better than the girls you make fun of. You’re as lost, confused, insecure and unreal as they are,” she chided herself.
Taking in a deep breath she remembered what the magazine said, “this is a journey, she wasn’t doing anything wrong or bad, just experiencing herself in life. It was up to her how she wanted to act and be, it was okay to start trying to be real. Where in the world did she begin? The thought completely overwhelmed her. She wanted to hide away, until she knew what to do.
Her mom told her that writing stuff down might help. She took out an old journal, opened it up to discover some of her thoughts from over a year ago, “Wow, she had been confused back then.” The words divulged her struggle between wanting to do more with singing, but being afraid to let go of basketball because that’s what the popular girls did. She wrote about how mean the girls on the team were to a girl who wanted to play, but she didn’t fit in. It was obvious that she came from a poor home and was a lesbian, both easy targets for the other girls to pick on. Eventually the girl gave up, leaving the team. As Francine read, she realized how she had never spoken up. She did not pick on the girl, Amy was her name, but she didn’t help her either.
Looking up from the page she stared out the window. Her heart hurt, she felt horrible about her past behavior. “What had happened to Amy? It was a big school, Amy was just another unpopular girl lost in the masses,” reflected Francine. In that moment, Francine decided that tomorrow she was going to look for Amy. When she found her, she would apologize and share her truth. Maybe by the next school year she could convince her to come back to basketball, after all, she was a really good player.
The deeper Francine went into her exploration the more she discovered about her false self. If she became more real, what would happen? The magazine said that the more authentic she became the more people would actually want to be around her. Did she know anyone like that? Shuffling through images of students in her mind, she stopped when the visual picture of Jennifer slid across the space. Jennifer didn’t care what others thought about her. She liked and spent time with whom ever she wanted, not caring if they were popular or not.
It was time for Francine to spend more time with Jennifer, to learn how she did it. Jennifer was the only person she felt she could be real with, which was funny since she didn’t really know her at all. Looking back down at her page, she turned the journal to a new blank page and started to write. She had a course of action brewing within her, it felt good and scary.
“Ding..” her phone quipped at her. Glancing at the screen she saw Rosie’s name pop up as a text message. Rolling her eyes she hit clear on the message. Rosie was the last person she wanted to talk to right now. Rosie came from a very rich family, thought she was the best and drove Francine nuts. Everything was about boys, being popular, and looking pretty for Rosie. “No thank you!” blurted Francine out loud at the phone.
1 – Spend more time with Jennifer.
2 – Find Amy and tell her the truth.
3 – Think seriously about continuing with basketball before next fall.
4 – Find more ways to be involved with singing.
5 – Really look at her friendships.
6 – Start exploring what she likes to do, what is fun.
7 – Use the summer to make some changes.
Staring at her new list she felt anxious. “How would she find the courage to truly do what she had just written down?” She thought about her mom, “she didn’t want to go through her life pretending that long, or doing what you think you are supposed to do til you’re old.” That scared her. The magazine had given them both a gift, even if it was scary, she was glad she was not as old as her mom to start some of this. It would be harder to stay true at her dad’s, at least here she had the magazine. Maybe if Jennifer was willing to be more serious friends she would learn how to be more true to herself and not care what others thought. It was all so crazy. Part of her wished she had never picked up the magazine, the other part of her was so glad she did.
Closing her journal she decided she had enough deep stuff for today, she just wanted to zone out for awhile. Picking up her phone she started to scroll through Snapchat, then Pinterest, finally deciding to watch something on Netflix. She didn’t want to think about friends, school, or life right now. It was too overwhelming. Tomorrow she would take baby steps towards making changes, first reaching out to Jennifer. She really hoped Jennifer was willing to become better friends.
To be continued… 20