Yesterday, we spotlighted Micol Ostow's chilling new novel Family (which I reviewed a couple weeks ago). Her verse and imagery are beautiful, but what struck me the most was the concept of family, and belonging to a group -- no matter the cost.
From cliques to cults, collaborative blogs to high school clubs, gangs to sports teams, special interest organizations to secret societies, people are always gathering themselves into groups. The urge to belong to something is just so human, and never stronger than in our teenage years.
Some of these groups are undeniably positive.
|the dillon panthers in seasons 1-3|
Others are decidedly negative, even destructive.
|the manson family|
|the westboro baptist church|
Of course, Mel has joined a cult, which is an extreme case of a negative group. However, many much more casual groups have destructive qualities – even groups of friends.
When it comes to friendships, one thing I've realized is how much is a result of chance. Where your school is. The random selection of people in your area, in your grade. Who happens to sit beside you. Or who reaches out when we're vulnerable -- new students, or in a unhappy headspace, or simply searching for different friendships. Unfortunately, that longing to belong doesn't always lead to the best decision-making. I think many of us have found ourselves in situations where we changed parts of who we were, what we liked, or what we were comfortable with, just to fit in with a group.
What groups were you part of as a teen? Did any of them have destructive dynamics? Did you ever change something about yourself to belong? Did you ever actually like Creed?