July 29, 2010
i miss cliques.

i miss their pack mentality, their collective force. i miss talking every night to the same people, hanging around the same people, doing everything under the sun with the same people. i miss the closeness.

i miss the gossip and spats, the complaints for no reason and occasional silences that feel like apocalypses because the world IS your friends. i miss the obsessive togetherness and constant talk-talk-talking… because missing something for real includes the good and bad, doesn’t it?

i miss public school.

i miss the inane blabber and contentment after finding one’s social niche. i miss knowing exactly which people to call when something goes wrong, and knowing whom to celebrate with when something goes right.

i even miss the exclusiveness, as bad as it sounds, because that strengthens the bonds between the included and builds protection when things go wrong.

it’s hard to explain this to people at [my current school] because most of them have never been to another school. the social culture is different here- it’s a little more distanced, more academic, i suppose… what i really wanted when i moved was to have a close group like the one i had at [my former school], except more intellectual. there was nothing wrong with the kids i hung out with before; i almost loved them, but the prospect of having more than one or two success-oriented kids to relate to was enticing. i didn’t realize that not all schools work the way mine did. i didn’t realize that friends here would care so little- or, i suppose, so differently from the way my old ones did.

it may be a priority thing. at most public schools, as evidenced by the majority of high schoolers i know, friends are number one, then academia. (extracurriculars may supersede the latter.) by these standards, [my current school] is a little backwards. first come grades, then friends, then extracurriculars (unless the extracurricular is model un… that supplants friends in some respect). having spent nine years at public schools, though, i suppose i’d been conditioned to think “friends first.” (i didn’t follow this until maybe seventh grade, but i’d just considered myself an anomaly for focusing so much on schoolwork.)

because of this, my expectations of friendship often go unsatisfied nowadays. i’m used to talking to a select group of people every day. i’m used to being content because of the steady communication, used to knowing that friends are just as concerned with my life as i am with theirs. i’m used to our lives being intertwined, often so deeply that i find myself screaming for escape when i feel especially down… except now, i’m left with nostalgia. i reminisce because there’s no one to call. i mean, there are people who would listen and offer advice, but only if i ask them to. here, it’s call-and-receive: if you feel like you need a friend, ask. otherwise, they mind their own business and you mind yours.

that feels so temporary, though… i wouldn’t say “fake”; just not as close as i’m accustomed to. i miss the inquiries. the “where have you been?”s when we haven’t talked for a few days. it’s not something one can force, either- i mean, i’ve tried, subtly, but when checking up on others isn’t part of people’s normal routines, they don’t do it. that’s fine.

perhaps this is just the product of a bad day, with the braces hurting and the mom mad. but when bad days roll around, i always end up here.

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SecretNonConformist said...
Aug. 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm
FINALLY! The first person to talk about the good side of cliques. All I hear is badbadbadbad, usually. I was in a clique years ago and know exactly how it felt to be in one. We may have done some bad things but the strength our bond eclipsed all of them. That was why I enjoyed the clique. Like you said, the feeling of belonging and knowing that those people would be there for you was amazing! Thanks again for writing this. I hope it makes people stop seeing the world in black and white (cliques ... (more »)
emigini replied...
Aug. 4, 2010 at 9:33 pm
thanks for such a thorough response! i'm glad you liked the article :)
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