Friday, 16 October 2015
The girls in my grade are sorted into various groups that we reside in every lunch time. I don't know how it happened, how it unspokenly became completely natural to talk about 'who you sit with' or about a group of people as a collective. It's so socially expected that when people sit with another group you hear remarks like, "are you intruding us today?" or "Thank you for letting me sit here." or "Are we combining the groups today?" and when a few people sit elsewhere it's an actual issue. In fact, even the shape of the circle you sit in is analysed, or who talks to who, or who wants to be seen with who.
As a person who doesn't like change, after the initial getting-to-know-people period in year 7, I tried my hardest to keep my group the same. Through changing friendships and priorities and people who were hard to let go of, this group grew bigger and bigger, until finally, just recently, it split into three - and thank god for that because this group had become one uncomfortable lunch time after the next.
But here's the issue: I still don't look forward to lunch time as most people should. I feel like there's only one person in the group who matters, and when I'm not sure if she'll be at the group when I get there, I delay my arrival. I'll sit with another group, recruit someone to come to various different places with me, and eventually, when I feel like I'm deferring too far from the status quo and I can't take it anymore, I finally go to the group. It's this feeling of worrying co-dependency, only I'm the only one in the co-dependency feeling it, and that makes me feel utterly lonely.
It's not that I don't know the rest of the group. I'm certainly friends with at least half of them. I just don't understand why we have these set places when sometimes you can't talk to the same people every day. I don't feel that groupy feeling where we schedule whole group outings or group parties or know each other for all our little quirks. I don't feel like we're a secret club and I still feel uncomfortable, especially now that there seems to be less people to talk to.
I certainly don't have that group pride where I talk about how friendly my group is, or how close, or how we act at lunch, because the truth is, lunch is so disconnected. I don't talk to half of them. The entire thing is just a routine, and maybe they're a group, but I don't seem to be part of it.
I reckon my real group is spread out in various different groups. We may be together outside school, and sit together in class, but every lunch time we all go back to our respective places. In an ideal school maybe I'd be sitting with different members of this hypothetical group every day, and they'd be sitting with different members of their own hypothetical group. School would be a little like real life, where you make time for your friends in the same way you schedule brunches in a cafe every now and then to talk about life.
Someone the other day told me about how next year there will be an influx of new people. In the same way, many people are now talking of moving away. So maybe the groups will change then. Or maybe, if I'm not happy, I should change it around myself. Maybe everything will end up changing to the way it should be, or maybe it won't.
In some ways, I reckon my ideology could be made true for myself, even if the people around me aren't following it. But also in some ways, knowing where you belong is nice, even if you don't belong. Having somewhere socially acceptable to sit routinely is nice, even it it's not right. Maybe I should view lunch as another class, where I sit with these set people. It's only another hour after all. We don't go to school to have fun anyway.
We can save our picnics for the holidays.