The Comfort of Cliques
The Comfort of Cliques
For the longest time, I didn't know the difference between a healthy group of friends and a clique. I confused what I thought was supposed to be friendship with actual friendship. Even after I realized this difference, I chose to stay and continued to pretend that what I was part of wasn’t wrong and that I was happy. But really, I was scared of what would happen if I didn't stay...I didn't think there was any other choice, other than becoming a social outcast.
So for years I stayed in this unhealthy group and pretended it was true friendship. My emblem of sisterhood was the constant fear of gossip behind my back, the fear of smiling too much and being called "fake," the fear of laughing too much and being called "too happy," the fear of wearing too much makeup and being called "a try hard," the fear of talking to too many guys and being called "an attention whore."
I was trapped in the pretense of friendship. But cliques aren't about being friends, they're about bonding over insecurity and finding a safety net in exclusion. Every other month this form of comfort shifted from one "friend" to the next, and we all feared being the next outsider. Exclusion was subtle, but definitely could be felt. It went from telling someone she couldn't come to hangout because there "weren't enough seats in the car," to not letting someone borrow a dress because “she probably wouldn’t fit,” to passive aggressively posting candids on Snapchat that were “oh my gosh not ugly, endearing, you look SO adorable!”
But the longer I stayed in this "friendship," the more unhappy I became-- so I did what I should have done years ago, I left. At first I was terrified. Who would I sit with at lunch? Who would I plan outfits with? Who would I talk about "Scandal" with? But I quickly learned that I had more friends than I thought. The more time I spent around new people, the more I realized that with time, these relationships could grow into real friendship.
I no longer wore this shroud of uncertainty and self doubt. Even though there was still fear in not having people to fall back on, I didn't have to worry about the most silly things, like how I chose to be happy and that felt SO good. Stepping out of a comfort zone is scary, but rearrange, add, and take away a few letters and fear becomes free. Although I had comfort in a clique, I didn’t have freedom. So I lost a few “friends,” and in turn found comfort and freedom in myself. And for the first time in what feels like forever I don’t have to pretend, because I actually feel completely and utterly happy.
Morgan is currently a sophomore at Diamond Bar High School. Outside of school you can find her singing Taylor Swift, watching Cheetah Girls, and eating unhealthy amounts of cookie butter... sometimes all at once! Among many other things, Morgan is the founder/president of her school’s Girl Up Club, officer of her school's Girls Who Code Club, and Co-Director of Advocacy for the SoCal Girl Up Coalition. She is shamelessly opinionated and loves to articulate those opinions through debate! You can also find her on stage, being the musical theater geek that she is. But above all Morgan is extremely passionate about advocating for equal rights, whether it be between genders, races, economic classes, etc. Simply put, she’s just a girl who wants to help the people around her and write about her experiences along the way!