“Clique” – A small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not allow others to join them. Can also be groups or “packs” of people. Most commonly seen in high-school students.

I’ve seen this. I’ve lived this and currently am dealing with this, but not in the way you would think. For months now I have been working at the high school. Since it has been 25 years since I’ve graced the halls of a high school I had a bit of adjusting to do. 

Right off the bat I was slung into the battle of what to wear, mostly because I didn’t want to be made fun of or labeled the teacher that dressed like a dork. Then I realized I’m an adult and I’ll be labeled a dork either way. 

When I got over myself, I started noticing that the cliques of my youth, the Punks, Goths, Jocks, Barbies, Geeks and the like, still existed. I wondered where 43-year-old me would fit in today. 

25 years ago I hung out with this group of Barbie girls that dressed alike. Our “leader” dictated what and what not to wear and on one occasion decided to cut a hole out of the top of a baseball cap to pull her ponytail through. The smart me knew this was the stupidest thing ever, especially since a baseball cap already had a hole for a ponytail to go through. The 16-year-old me not wanting to get bumped from the clique borrowed a hat (because my mother would have never let me cut a hole in a perfectly good hat) and pulled my ponytail through the top like an idiot. There we were walking the halls with our matching volcano hair and I knew it was stupid. 

Fast forward to now. I have outgrown my need to fit in (for the most part). I feel that I’ve settled somewhere in between Punk and Geek and my fellow Punk/Geeks and I battle it out with the other rival cliques of Wine Drinkers, Opera Goers, Kale Eaters and more. 

Some misguided cliques gather at town functions drinking what they hate and putting up with what they don’t like all in the name of fitting in. They eat kale salad at BBQs instead of the deviled eggs for fear of being chastised about their health. They put up with bad behavior for the sake of getting that invite to the cocktail party. 

Why? Because deep down we are all still those insecure high school kids dying to fit in. Cliques roam this town like rival gangs fighting for superiority. Like the grown ups said in high school, “it’s OK to be you.” Eat the chicken wings and drink the Trader Joes wine, listen to country music if you like it, and if they still don’t invite you to the cocktail party, well that’s okay, you can hang out with us geeks. We promise we won’t tell you what to wear.