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The Pressures of Perfection
I was lucky enough to be somewhat popular. Not the most popular girl, not the queen bee, but almost everyone in school knew my name, and almost everyone liked me. I hung out with one of the most popular girls, Sarah, and I loved it.
I liked Sarah for who she really was. Smart, funny, crazy, and unique. We did everything together. But it was only after one particular day that I realized what kind of pressure affects the girls on the top of the school food chain. It was Sarah's birthday, and I was super excited to be going to her party. It was a sleepover and about 14 guests were invited. I was one of the first peopthank arrive at her house and Sarah and I talked for a long time. It was just when the doorbell rang that I learned how hard it must be for Sarah, having to be so perfect all the time. I watched as girl after girl walked into Sarah's house, stepping on the perfectly white carpet that her mom had so labouriously cleaned before the party. Each girl was popular, pretty, and had an expensive present to give the birthday girl. I felt so small, so insecure, compared to these walking barbies.
Then a girl I had never really noticed walked in. She was in my math class and we hadn't talked, but I knew who she was. It was Katie, the shy, unpopular girl that I never wasted my time talking to. I took comfort in the fact that at least I was prettier than her. She handed Sarah a small gift and then left the room, leaving my mind as well.
We all sat in a big circle, talking and catching up. Katie was still gone, I noticed, but dismissed the thought. I was here with the most popular girls in my school and I wanted to enjoy it. However, everyone in the circle ignored me, even Sarah. I'd start talking to her only to find she wasn't listening. She totally ignored me and I felt alone, even more invisible.
When we all went upstairs for makeovers, I watched in disgust as these beautiful girls complained about being fat, diets that never worked, and how another girl was so ugly. Sarah was the kind of person who never insulted anyone, who managed to be popular without putting anyone else down. But even she participated in the name-calling, saying that she was too chubby and needed to lose weight. I wanted to shake her, to remind her that she was a stick, that she was skinny, and that outsides don't matter. I realized that even though Sarah seemed like she had a perfect life, on the inside, it wasn't perfect at all. She was insecure and couldn't stand up for herself. As much as I loved my friend, I knew things had to change.
I felt someone tap on my shoulder, and I turned around. Katie was standing behind me, looking a little bit intimidated. "Do you want to do something else?" she asked.
I nodded. Katie and I spent the whole party talking, learning about each other. Sarah ignored me, only talking to me if no one else was around. That stung.
Sarah and I weren't very good friends after the party. I stayed out of her way, waiting until she would come to her senses and become my best friend again. She never did.
Even though I lost a friend, I gained a great new one. I learned that Katie was a great person, and I had been doing the same things as the girls at the party: ignoring her because I thought she wasn't perfect enough to be my friend.
I instantly regretted ever wasting my time trying to get those girls to like me for who I really wasn't, when there
was someone out there who was the perfect friend to me.