Popular, I want to be popular!

As the song from WICKED The Musical goes: “Popular, you’re gonna be popular!”

Now into my early thirties. I am certainly less needy when it comes to friendships. Gone is the want to be popular but that is just me. That is not to say I am not witness to grown women desperate for the title of ‘Little Miss Popular’. In fact I am witness to it right now. A small cohort is forming before me. It doesn’t seem to matter what age you are. Twenties, thirties, even sixties. My mother has seen it happen to the people around her within the last ten years and even recently many of her friendship dynamics have changed.

Why the need to be liked by everyone?

Yes. I am one who doesn’t enjoy being disliked but I am realistic. I am not everyone’s cup of tea and have, within the last few years, I have certainly felt that happen. You cannot be best buds with everyone. It isn’t possible. Yet there are people out there who cannot cope with the idea of not being liked, they need to be popular.

Well what is ‘popular’?

Define it. Well the dictionary deems it as:

pop·u·lar

adjective

1.

regarded with favour, approval, or affection by people in general: a popular preacher.
The movies portray it as someone who’s fashionable, fun, attractive, confident and borderline conceited. On the other side the most popular characters seem to have the most obvious faults and problems. There is the reality.
To me being popular is a combination of the two. It is common nature to want people to like you but to what extent do you go to to get that. I cannot trust someone who longs for popularity. That person is flaky and never truly anyone’s friend. The bounce back and forth like a tennis ball, never forming honest bonds and the people (or should I say sheep) around them allow it because they are also desperate for popularity too.
  • In ‘Grease’, Sandy becomes the epitome of beautiful and popular when she changes her entire appearance. She gets the guy and the respect from her fellow females.
  • In ‘Mean Girls’, Cady pretends to be popular by adhering to their rules and essentially dumbing herself down to fit in. Eventually she begins to like the new her. Well what does that say about popularity?
  • In ‘She’s All That’, another ‘transformation’ story, Laney Boggs is a renowned geek and ugly duckling until her date’s sister transforms her into a beautiful swan. Only then is she popular.
Of course, in two of these movies, the girls come to a frank and bitter revelation by the end realising that popularity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
If only it were like that in real life eh?
   
*Courtesy of Google*

2013 A review: July – September.

JULY

Summer had truly hit us in London by July. Scorching temperatures reigned over the city and finally the harsh winter had been beaten.

At the start of the month, I began recalling a series of events, linked to the exact date one year ago, that looked back on the journey towards the end of the abuse once and for all. It was a painful task. Remembering is one thing but looking back in detail, searching through old text messages and diary entries was hard. It transported me back to a terrible, stressful and bitter summer. The summer after my wedding. The summer my father, the abuser, died.

It was the month that my husband and I were told that our landlord wanted to sell the property we were renting. It came as a surprise as there had not been much of a warning. It was the last thing we needed. We were very settled where we were living. It was in an ideal location for both of us to get to work, there were plenty of shops and amenities around too. It was not ideal to move. I couldn’t bear the thought of moving into some dingy, poky apartment in a rush because we hadn’t enough time to search for somewhere decent. We made a decision. It would be a difficult one, a tiring and patience testing one but ultimately we were thankful she was willing to have us. My mother was our port of call. She agreed the sensible choice would be to live with her until my father’s inheritance was finalised and we could look for a new place.

July would be a very revealing month for me. Although I already knew my sister had begun a “secret” relationship with the abuser, I was not aware of how close they had become. After everything my sister had once accused him of, after all that she had witnessed him do to our mother (not to mention the misery of a life I led with him), I had not expected her to welcome him with open arms into her family unit. A unit she has been fiercely protective of for so many years. A family that she has banned me and any mother from seeing. Apparently, we are bad news, the cause of her depression and misery, the evil ones. Not our father. Not the man who abused me for fifteen years but the two people who spent most of their lives trying to escape his frightening hold. In her eyes, we were the enemy. I found out at the start of July that my father had planned a holiday with my sister, her husband and children. He could not go in the end due to his worsening health. I was flabbergasted. Horrified. The man that my sister could not bear to be in the same room as was now holidaying with her?? It blew my mind.

At work, I finished with a bang, holding our annual school talent show. It was a great success and the kids did me proud.

AUGUST

I continued to recall back to the events of last year on WordPress. I received several comments, mostly from friends who had no idea I was struggling so badly that summer. Even though the majority of them knew about my relationship with the abuser, most never questioned it. They never delved any further. It must have come as a shock to them to read the full truth.

I was well into my summer holidays at this point. The weather was unbelievable in London during August, we were very lucky to have so much sunshine. I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. I spent most of the holiday packing up our flat and surprising myself at how much rubbish we had accumulated over the past two years of living there. It was an endless and tiring job as my husband was at work for most of August. Even on moving day, when David’s parents had come to help, were we still putting items into bags and shipping them off to my mums’.

The end of the month would be very significant. On the 21st I celebrated the anniversary of my father’s death. I did not lay any flowers or sit down and pray. I did not shed a tear or think back to the “good times”. There were no good times. He was not worth my tears and I could not lay any flowers for I do not know what happened to his ashes. My sister only told me recently after a year of me badgering her, that after the funeral she had “picked them up”. So basically she gave me no more information than I had already assumed. I intend on letting her keep playing her childish game on her own.

As I prepared to go back to work, I was invited to a school reunion. Seeing my old primary school classmates after twenty years was incredibly uplifting. It was a wonderful experience and sent me back to a time of happiness. These people made me happy. It was lovely to be in their company again.

SEPTEMBER

Back to work!

I also began making some changes in my life. Some positive changes. I attended a course at City Lit on Assertiveness. It proved to be quite challenging. I enjoyed analysing myself and looking into types of behaviour. The course opened my mind as we explored passiveness, aggression, manipulation and assertiveness. It was very interesting to hold that magnifying glass up to myself and look more carefully at the person I had become. I am now trying to embody more assertiveness. My mother is the only person finding that difficult. For so long she was used to a passive daughter. A daughter who could not say “no” and agreed to almost everything in search for an “easy” life. Well no more. I have never had an easy life! It is time to get what I want and make a stand.

The Collins English Dictionary says – 

assertive 

Definitions

adjective – 

confident and direct in claiming one’s rights or putting forward one’s views