Lisa! Geez, girl friend.

Dear Annie: I am a 76-year-old woman who is still not over her teenage friendship troubles.

I should preface this entry by stating that I am by no means stuck in the past. This instance simply comes to mind whenever I face shortcomings in life.

I’ll now set the scene: It was early September of 1962. I had just turned 17, and I was a senior in an all-girls Catholic high school. I was a particularly gifted student with mostly As and the occasional B-plus in history or arithmetic. My parents had a strong sense of pride in my work and thus had very high standards for my test scores.

My literature class proved to be much harder than I had expected, and at the very first test of the year, I flunked. I mean, I totally bombed it. I didn’t want my parents to be upset with me, so I lied to them and said that I had gotten an A-minus.

My best friend at the time, “Lisa,” who was also in this particular class, had gotten a very high score and, to put it nicely, she was not quiet about it. Later on that same week, my parents invited Lisa over for supper. As expected, she was boasting about her score. My parents had mentioned that I had also done well, to which Lisa answered, “What are you talking about? She practically bombed that test.”

My parents found out the truth, and I was grounded until the end of the year. Not only that, I had lost trust in Lisa, although it was not her fault. I did not blame her.

About three months later was the big winter formal, where my school and the brother school down the road would gather for the dance. I, of course, was still grounded, but by a crazy turn of events, my angel of a mother decided to let me go. I hadn’t told anybody I was going — not even Lisa.

When I got to the dance, I was horrified. It was a blast up until I overheard Lisa telling my classmates that I was a liar and a troublemaker. I did not speak to Lisa again after that.

I graduated high school and became a secretary at the front desk of a local office and moved on with life, but every time I experienced hardship, this instance would replay in my mind.

I feel that I am being held back by teenage drama. I feel that I have long moved past Lisa, but the feeling of betrayal I feel will never leave. — Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire! (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com

I haven’t read Annie Lane’s advice yet, but I know Annie Lane. She’ll feel compelled to sympathize and say that of course the letter writer isn’t over it. And I’m just like… there are people out there whose lives are THAT easy?!

Anyway, before I go on a rant aimed at the letter writer, let me predict Annie Lane’s advice. Along with the sympathizing, Annie Lane will mutter some idiocy about how we’re deeply affected by our teen years, and it’s hard to hear people say bad stuff about us. I can’t even guess beyond that.

Dear Pants on Fire: Despite what you say, it seems to me that a part of you is stuck in the past and continuing to harbor resentment toward Lisa. Sixty years, countless life experiences and surely many friendships later, this incident and Lisa’s betrayal still hold power over you today.

Instead of replaying it in your mind or trying to work through it on your own, seek professional counseling. The help of an experienced therapist could be just what you need to finally free yourself from this recurring nightmare and make peace with your past.

You connect this instance to your “shortcomings,” but do remember, a teenage fib to your parents and a failed test hardly define the person you grew up to become.

Not bad, but certainly not inspired.

Yeah, it just seems really weird to me. The moments that I relive involve graphic physical abuse, and that sort of thing. I can’t imagine having lived a life as easy as the letter writer’s. I hope she’s at least grateful for how easy her life has been!

When I got to the dance, I was horrified. It was a blast up until I overheard Lisa telling my classmates that I was a liar and a troublemaker. I did not speak to Lisa again after that.

So… the letter writer couldn’t interject and say, “Hey, look who’s talking! Lisa here is engaged to her cousin! Now that’s troublesome!” Well, maybe not, since we all come up with witty replies like that one [eyeroll] after the fact. But who cares what Lisa said? Really. A liar and a troublemaker? Ohh, my ears are burning from such harsh gossip. It’s not like Lisa was telling everyone that she was a slutty whore who caught an STD while screwing the driver’s ed teacher. There’s gossip, and then there’s gossip. Calling someone a liar and a troublemaker is gossip, no italics.

It seems as if Lisa took too much pleasure in getting the letter writer in trouble in the first place. I don’t have a high opinion of Lisa. But no one should have to answer for that sort of action performed in 1962. I’m inclined to forgive Lisa already and to let bygones be bygones. And we all know that I can hold a grudge until the cows come home.

Generally when people are bad to me with that specific level of badness, I quit having a relationship with them, but I don’t put them on my “list”. (Okay, maybe they go on a secondary list. Trust me. You don’t want to be on one of my lists.) Mostly, I just forget about them and make a mental note not to trust them in the future, should we cross paths again. The letter writer’s reaction seems to be overkill.

That reminds me. This is funny. While I was insane yesterday, my parents were downstairs celebrating Thanksgiving without me. Today, my dad said that he’d had to reassure my mom that I wasn’t mad at her. We had a good laugh. (If I’m mad at you, you will know it. There will be no examining of the evidence. You will know. If you find yourself saying, “Is it possible that Meg’s mad at me? Hmm…” then the answer is a solid and definitive no.)

I heard from a member of my southern baptist youth group several years ago. We went to church together in high school. She said, “I want to apologize for constantly trash-talking you behind your back. But it was really your own fault. You tended to cry a lot.” (No kidding. I was an emotional train wreck. Take my current emotional problems and multiply them by a million.)

And I was like, “What?! You did what?! What?!”

Yeah. She shouldn’t have apologized. But it did disillusion me about the entire youth group, which was good, because they all hate me now anyway.

Oh. Also, my high school class nominated me for prom queen… AS A JOKE. Yeah. My name was there on the ballot as a joke. I was that girl at the prom dressed in a godawful outfit who said, “Oh cool, I was nominated! I’ll vote for myself please,” while her math teacher tried not to cringe as she tallied the vote, singular. That totally tops the letter writer’s complaint, right? And I’m not even upset by it. I’m just sort of like… well… [eyeroll]… I was a nerd.

Ugh. Yeah, the letter writer needs to do some soul-searching or get some therapy.

Every time I experienced hardship, this instance would replay in my mind.

So strange. Hmm… does she feel incapable of conquering life’s challenges? I can’t fathom it. Oh well.

2 thoughts on “Lisa! Geez, girl friend.

  1. Dear Pantsonfire,
    There is no doubt that the final end of year school dance can represent a significant turning point in a young woman’s life. Your own life, at that point clearly not going all that well anyway, took a sharp turn for the worse on that fateful evening. Hearing Lisa gleefully reporting news of your latest deep embarrassment to classmates would have been bad enough, but to have found her out the back snogging your boyfriend at midnight must have really rubbed salt into the wound.
    Combining that with the knowledge that Lisa’s life has gone from strength to strength ever since (wonderful marriage and career, beautiful children, seemingly unlimited finances) must be difficult for you to deal with considering that – let’s face it – your own life has been a complete fuck up during the same period.

    Nevertheless, I would not encourage you to focus on that single event of so many years ago, but rather to scan through the significant events of your life since then and recognise a pattern of consistent failure.
    By all means hate the fucking bitch forever, for this is normal and healthy, but in these few remaining years that you have left on the planet (that, surely is some good news for you!) perhaps try to find time also to recognise her not as the cause of your woes, but simply as the predictor. That way you might finally embrace reality and find some solace in the knowledge that you were an imbecile from the very beginning, and this is how things were meant to be.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: