Mean Girls was a 2004 hit and remains a 2013 meme staple for a reason. People, particularly teenage girls, make mistakes partly because making mistakes is a corollary of youth, and sometimes because very few take the time to show them more constructive approaches to their problems. I think the film struck a chord, and continues to do so with every rewatch, because it reminds us that most people are good people who make mistakes. A bad decision doesn’t automatically mean that you are a bad person. While the consequences of our actions are often irreversible, there is no limit to how often we can try to be better. Because I’ve been quite the hall of famer in making mistakes these past few years, I’m quite taken with and thankful for this sentiment.
Which is why I was super excited for my first Better Story Project experience. I first heard about Better Story a few months ago, as I was reading Isa’s blog. Though I am not an oversharer in real life, I felt that this was something that would help me. My cousin Pebbles is turning 16 this September, and because this was exactly the kind of thing that I was looking for at that age, I thought it would be good for her as well. I’m so grateful to have been proven right.
Ms. Katre De Jesus talked about the importance of knowing yourself. There’s an entire industry that revolves around this subject. Because this is such an issue for me, I’ve consumed so much literature on self-discovery and self-identity. Paradoxically, I’m not very fond of self-help books. Anyhow, I was really happy that Katre turned a tired topic into anything but. Her take was personal, honest, relevant, and alternatingly familiar and funny. Two things in particular stood out for me. One was a recognition of one of my many internal struggles, and her advice on how to deal with it.
“There are certain things that you might be good at, but it will kill you because you don’t love to do it. Be creative. Find your place in what you love.”
-Katre De Jesus
The second was a brief but powerful statement: “God humbled me.” God humbles us, but it is important for us to realize that this one of His many ways to help us be better. As Katre taught us, the guide to a Better Story is a Better Writer. This is a lesson I am constantly learning, and I feel like this is one of His gentler reminders.
In my mind, there are two kinds of happy people, and I divide them into 8 AM sunshines and 1 PM sunshines. You know the latter, she’s the kind of girl Amanda Bynes played in Easy A. 1 PMs are borderline manic/histrionics, often incessant and intolerable. Of course, in real life, my rational self acknowledges that 1PMs are people too, and that their personalities and life stories are much more complex than this. But for discussion purposes, this was, unquestionably, a room of 8 AM sunshines. This was a room of intelligent, articulate, and good-hearted people. This is a sweeping declaration, because I have yet to really get to know these girls. But instinctively, I felt that it was a safe place. I guess this was the consensus in the room, because quite a few of the issues that the girls shared were relatively sensitive. I thought it was brave of them to do so, and I thought it was classy of everyone to listen the way they did. While I can’t explain why exactly, I felt like each girl knew not to judge, or at the very least, to reserve judgment until they knew more about the other.
There is mutual respect in Better Story. This gives Girl World, and the real world, a much better chance at peace.