They Still Call Themselves “Girls”

I snatched up The Girls From Ames from my local public library last week. A few days later I picked up the book and began reading. After the first page I had wished that I had bought the book because I have the urge to highlight just about every other sentence! Instead, I’ve doggie-eared about half of the pages from the intro and first chapter.

Just into the first few pages, my throat started to knot up a few times…I have a feeling this book is going to be beyond emotional (at least for me). I think that I feel over-the-top emotional as I’m reading because I am relating it so much to my own life and my own friendships. I’m already picking out which girls I most relate to, and which girls are most like my friends (and family…because you are my friends, too.) 

I was surprised at first when I read in the intro that they still called themselves girls, but right away, I appreciated the honesty in that statement. Growing up is a funny thing. When I was a kid, I thought people my age were so old! They have jobs, marriages, families, bills…OLD! However, now that I am “old,” I still feel like I am that girl in high school. I’ve coached middle school and high school age girls in volleyball, and I felt like they could be my friends…that was until I realized I was ten years older than them! A decade!

When I am around my friends though…I am that girl…I feel like a girl, not a “woman” and I am okay with it. I kind of hope that I always just feel like “a girl.”

I know I posed the question which of the eleven girls do you most relate with, but I’m going to take the easy way out. I read and reread trying to pick out which girl was “me,” but I just couldn’t pin-point one of the girls. I saw bits and pieces of myself in each one of them…well, except for Kelly. Kelly definitely seems like the most outgoing girl of the group, and right away I relate her to my little sister. Just like the other ten girls looked to Kelly to ask the question that they were all thinking but were too afraid to ask…that is kind of how my sister was for me. I didn’t buy a thong until I found out she had bought and worn thongs (yes, the panties, not the shoes!) I didn’t drink until after she drank. I even made her ask out my mom’s now new husband for her, because I was too scared!

I relate to Marilyn as she is described as a bit of an outsider. Growing up I had a lot of friends, but I was never totally “in” with all of their groups. I relate with Sheila for having the dark hair and being the little girl everyone thought was cute. I relate to Karla for “not always being sure of herself.” While I feel sure of who I am as a person now, I still have an insecurity when it comes to meeting new people.

How did we all get here? The girls in the book don’t really remember how they all arrived at being best friends. Is this the same for you? I do remember meeting my first real best friend the first day of kindergarten. My anxiety and insecurity with meeting new people has been a part of me all my life, but I guess at age six I didn’t let it get the best of me! I remember getting on the bus my first day of school and finding another kindergartener that I thought was pretty. Then I simply asked, “Do you want to be my friend?”

Thank goodness she said yes!

Now, as an older “girl” living in a new town with the same anxiety about meeting people…I wish I could just go back to being that six year old girl and just ask the people here if they want to be my friend!

Aside from my family, my closest friends now are friends that are newer in my life…friends that I’ve made since being married (and through being married); therefore, for the most part, I remember when and how I met each one of them. Now, how we became best friends out of all the other girls we know, I think that answer could only come from God.

This is the same for the bloggie-world. I have “met” some girls through reading their blogs, and I have felt an instant connection with some of them. How did we get here? How did I find my way to their blogs out of the millions of blogs out there?!

There was another line in the book that caught my eye. Zaslow talks about how the girls are popular and not afraid to “strut their stuff,” but that they are actually insecure individually. I think this is true of almost all adolescents, and probably true in many adults. I’ve already admitted to having anxiety about meeting new people (amongst the zillion other anxieties I have), but a good group of friends is powerful.

You girls give me a security that I would not otherwise have. I believe that is why God gave me YOU…He knew what I needed, and He provided me with it.

I’ve talked too much now about myself and my thoughts…not it is your turn. Tell me what you think! (Please!)

ang

P.S. I LOVE this book!

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17 thoughts on “They Still Call Themselves “Girls”

  1. well your really OLD MOM started reading the book too, I dont know who I identify myself with yet or if I will, but I do have friends that I have had for a long time. One friend I have had since i was 7 years old and now I am 51. We dont see each other too often but we talk every couple of weeks on the phone. I love her she is part of my past and I remember spending the night at her house when I was in grade school and can remember pop corn and…………………her big dog sleeping on my feet and wondering if I could kick him off without him biting me-because I was actually kind of afraid of him. I have two other friends that I have had for 15 years- I believe every woman (Girl) needs other women (girls) to have a complete and fulfilling life. They can understand your heart more then men……….and sisters are included in that. I am looking forward to reading the book. I was insecure and had anxiety like you at when i was younger, but then you came along and your sister and it all changed! You cant be shy when protecting your sweet little offsprings!

  2. Your posts are intriguing me to pick this book up! I can soooo relate when you say in your group of friends you are “that girl”. I am soooo that girl compared to them and I think I always will be for some reason lol.

  3. I didn’t think I necessarily identified with one of the girls specifically until you pointed out Karen. I think looking back on who I was when I was in high school I probably would have identified with her the most, but as I read about her as she gets older I’m not quite sure if I still would.

    I don’t have a big group of close friends like the girls from Ames, but I do think with each of my current close girlfriends I can probably identify how we got here. And with each of these friends that I have in mind I see being friends with in the distant future still. Still, though I love my friends and know I can count on each of them, I do feel like I missed out on the experience of that having a best friend that was like a sister for most of your life type of friendship like you see in the book, and in movies and such.

    Something that I love about the story is when they talk about how you don’t have to call your friends all the time, that when you don’t hear from them as often as you’d like its probably just because life gets in the way, not because they don’t want to be friends. I have a hard time keeping in touch with some friends but am always certain that we are great friends! And I feel the same way about you, sis!

    • I also liked that part in the book, and I think it relates perfect to me and you. We don’t always get to see each other or talk to each other, but I know without a doubt that you are always there for me and always will be. I love you!

  4. I read the intro and chapter 1. I just got home for the day and I am tired but I will write more later! LOVE the book!!! 🙂 Love you

  5. I sent a private e-mail to you Angela and Heather. I will add more to the public conversation in the future but wanted to start with that e-mail to my closest childhood friends. Can’t wait to read further…what next? What chapters? And when are we to report back next? Thanks for starting this:) Xoxo

  6. Hi! This is Kelly, one of the “girls” from Ames. I enjoyed reading your comments about the book. It appears I would get along great with your sister. : )

  7. I am really excited to read this book. Nice pick! Still deciding who I relate to the most. Looking forward to reading about Diana-intrigued by her current career choice-I like it!

    I’m with Maggie and Angela on the part of not always talking because life gets in the way. I am definitely guilty of not calling, wish I were better at it, but I love and miss all my friends just the same.

    Thanks for doing this, Angela! It’s makes reading the book so much more fun to be able to talk about it with others.

  8. Pingback: Kelly and Me. Me and Kelly. |

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