I’m 40 And Perfect Popular Girls Are STILL A Pain In My Ass

Shani Silver
5 min readNov 19, 2022

Something soothing for the perpetually imperfect.

Photo by the author

I give word hugs. I can’t be there to buy you a coffee I mean a wine, and let you vent to me even though venting accomplishes very little, and I certainly can’t make the overwhelming realities of like…being alive go away. But I can write to you in a way that I hope makes you feel seen. I hope I can help us feel less alone, and give us permission to experience some ease. It’s permission that was always really lacking in my life and so I tend to hand it out like rave flyers now. Being a person is kind of a lot, and I hope for the time you spend reading my work you feel like you can relax a little.

You’re not wrong all the time. I never know who needs to hear this, but I’m always sure someone does, and given that my audience is predominantly people who went through puberty in the 90s I’m certain it’s falling on wide-open ears. We’re the “peer pressure” generation, and while drugs and alcohol and other things kids cooler than me did while cutting class always got the real attention, do y’all remember how peer pressure actually referred to everything else about your existence? I sure as shit do.

Your clothes. Your hair. Your makeup. Shoes. What you ate for lunch. Who you sat with at lunch. Your athletic ability (or lack thereof). The book covers you used and which stickers you carefully adorned them with. Or maybe you left yours raw and exposed to the elements like an animal even though that was explicitly against the rules and your mom would get a bill for the book at the end of the year. Even something as out of our control as which bus we took to school was yet one more element of “they’re cool, they’re popular, I’m not” that we had to contend with. Every single piece of incoming information was an opportunity for comparison. A reminder that other people were doing things a different way than you and their way was better because they were not you and you are perpetually wrong because you’re not like someone else.

And that, kittens, was before social media.

Is it any goddamned wonder none of us can feel settled and secure in our own brains as whole-ass adults? Is it shocking to you that you constantly feel like you could (should?) be doing things a different (better?) way and…