I know it’s supposed to be Fiction Friday and I’ll probably come back to that next week, but this week I’ve been thinking a lot about how we teach our kids to be comfortable with who they are.
The Dancer is in seventh grade. She’s figuring out how to balance who she is with who her friends are and who they expect her to be. Sometimes that balance don’t come easy and sometimes it gets seriously out of whack.
It’s so hard to watch, as a parent who LOVES the person who she is. I’m so proud of her and think she is the most interesting, intelligent, caring, loyal, wonderful person that I know. But she sometimes loses that girl and out comes a girl I shall call “VSCO girl”. VSCO refers to a photo editing app and also to a certain sub-set of internet active teens and the brands/items they are obsessed with. It’s a somewhat derogatory term that the Dancer and her friends have decided to wear like a crown.
VSCO GIRL- Wears oversized t-shirts or sweatshirt with Nike shorts. Has Vans, Crocs, Birks, and wears a shell necklace. She also wears tube tops and Jean shorts. She always has a hydroflask. She can’t leave home without a scrunchie and her favorite car is a jeep.Urban Dictionary
While I haven’t heard much about a jeep being her favorite car and she certainly doesn’t own a tube top – the rest is pretty true to our daily life.
So I’m trying to come to terms with this stranger who occasionally (and more frequently these days) has moved into our house and inhabited my daughter’s body.
But it’s so hard to hear her denigrate things I know she loves – Disney movies, camping, reading…It’s so hard to see her turn off from the world and issues facing society to fixate on brand names and fitting in. To abandon some of her special in favor of ordinary.
I know this is a part of the process of being in middle school (and it’s a LARGE part of why middle school is so terrible and difficult). But I miss her. The her who loves cartoons and cares about her grades. The her that loves to be alone in nature. The her that cares deeply about other people.
Sometimes I’m not so accepting of this new member of our family – this other girl – this VSCO girl. I get why she’s come to join us, but I don’t really feel so warmly towards her.
I’m trying. But it’s really hard to be a parent and not to feel like you maybe have screwed up when your child turns into someone who cares only about brand names and fitting in.
At the same time, I want her to feel loved and accepted so I have to choke back the urge to yell at that girl that snatches her body from time to time. I have to love that girl too and to see her as the armor that she needs to get through the day and to feel comfortable and accepted in the spaces she moves through on a day to day basis.
But it’s so hard.