Sunday, April 10, 2011

Talking cliques, with Amy Holder!

Please welcome the wonderful Amy Holder to my blog today! She's on tour with her new book The Lipstick Laws, and she's here today to share a little bit with us about her experience with cliques! We all know those cliques, the ones that taunt you and glitter with popularity. I'm anxious to see what Amy has to say, so without further ado I'll let her take it away!

“Fame is a fickle friend; sometimes you’re in, and sometimes you’re out.” I’ve paraphrased Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter and Heidi Klum from Project Runway (my favorite show in the world!) to start off this post because I think the quote mash-up is relevant to my guest post topic: high school cliques/popularity. This mash-up perfectly summarizes the unpredictability and sometimes cut-throat temperament of the world of high school cliques and social hierarchies. Plus, I really think all life lessons can be learned from Harry Potter and random reality shows… but I’ll save that theory for another post.

Since THE LIPSTICK LAWS is about the rise to and fall from popularity, I often get asked what my popularity/social status was as a teen. The truth is I was very social. In fact, my parents avoided the headache of my constant phone usage by getting me my own phone line in my bedroom – every teen girl’s dream at the time (before cell phones were attached to everyone’s hip). I loved my phone, my friends, fun, the mall, and boy ogling (a very important sport)… but I hated the clique mentality that went along with high school. So by the end of high school, I liked to consider myself a cliff-jumper…er, I mean a clique-jumper. Technically, jumping from clique to clique is a little like jumping off cliffs…but I’ll save that analogy for a different post as well. Although I had a very tight group of friends, I tried not to glue myself down to one clique. I had friends from several different groups (and even some from different schools that I met through work)… and I was very happy that way. But it wasn’t always like that for me… dun, dun, dunnnn….

In my school, the cliques were pretty clearly defined, and by the middle of ninth grade you were typically pegged into one with little wiggle room to get out. After being a relatively sheltered, goody-goody, straight-A student for my whole elementary and middle school career, I was ready to break free from that image and be a little rebellious. I made it my mission in the summer before ninth grade to go up a few notches on the popularity ladder. Soon enough my strategic plan worked; my new clothes and style, new friends, new attitude, and promotion to a new more popular lunch table brought me the status I thought I was looking for. However, I soon realized that I wasn’t as happy as I expected…and I definitely didn’t feel as comfortable being myself in my new role. Eventually, it dawned on me that I was giving more up than I was gaining in order to appease and blend in with a clique. This made me realize that I didn’t want to be confined to one clique or one set of friends, and in turn, I took up cliff-jumping… er, clique-jumping (they’re really one in the same). 
So, if I have one piece of advice for you to take from my personal experience, it’s to not get hung up in the popularity scaling, clique mentality of high school… be who you are and hang out with who you enjoy! Ten years from now the friendships you make with the people you enjoy the most are going to be important, not what clique you fit into in high school. Your true friends will accept you for who you are, not how you look, who you hang out with, or how popular you are. So get out there and make lots of friends, regardless of the clique they fit into. And don’t be afraid to be a cliff-jumper…just remember to wear a helmet… and maybe some knee pads.

At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her. For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity. But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?


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