I like to think of myself as a pretty easy-going, chilled out, reasonable person. As I’m typing this I’m laughing because I’m actually not sure I’m any of those things and I have a feeling what I’m about to write is going to prove this! I am quite easy-going though and one of my attributes is that I do find it quite easy to see both sides of a situation or argument.
Unless I can’t.
Sometimes there is no other side to the argument or situation. Sometimes I am right and the other person is wrong/evil/ruining my life/needs to be punished. The problem is when this happens I can’t let it go. I just can’t. I am incredibly stubborn when it comes to bearing a grudge. I find it very difficult to let some things go. I wish this could be a skill that I could pop on my CV. If grudge-bearing was a profession then I would be a highly sought after expert. I could be the Queen of Grudges and bring back the guillotine... “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!”. Ok, maybe taking this a bit far… Although some people deserve it for sure.
I have a few outstanding grudges, dating back a couple of years, which feel very reasonable indeed. Although, it’s very possible you may feel differently after reading this and any following grudges I decide to write about.
One of the longest-standing ones is against Abbey Girls. I hate Abbey Girls. I am a 42-year-old woman who can still be found glaring at Abbey Girls now. I basically glare at children who have done literally nothing to me because of the school they go to and this is why…
I was a clever sausage when I was 11 (why are you laughing?) so I went to Kendrick School, the best girl’s school in town. It’s a Grammar School so you don’t pay to go there but people think it’s posh and private. It’s neither posh nor private. The other two girl’s schools nearby are both private, St Joseph’s and The Abbey. I have no issue with St Jo’s girls because they have never wronged me but an Abbey girl once did so inadvertently and for that, the whole Abbey population must pay. Forevermore. Until THE END OF TIME!
Anyone who has ever been a teenage girl or has had any experience of teenage girls will not be surprised to read that this absolutely justified hatred of Abbey girls was ultimately caused by a boy when I was around 14 years old. We will call this boy Stanley Elderberry to protect his identity. I don’t want you all doing a Facebook stalk after this and hurling abuse at him to punish him for breaking my 14ish-year-old heart. That would be awkward and a bit weird.
Stanley Elderberry went to Reading School which is the boys equivalent of Kendrick. This loose connection means that Reading Boys belong to Kendrick Girls. They do not belong to any other girls unless the Kendrick Girls don’t want them and decide to marry a Presentation College boy instead… I’ve whizzed ahead, sorry. Basically, Kendrick Girls get first dibs on Reading Boys then the other girls can get involved at a later date if required. It sounds very unsavoury written like that.
So back to Stanley. Stanley was tall, had a really big smile and curtains (the hairstyle, not the window kind). I thought he was really cool and much like most of the teenage boys in the 90s was very into music. I thought he was dreamy. I mean he was no Christian Slater or River Phoenix (no offence if you are reading this Stan), but as Reading Boys went he was acceptable to swoon over.
Stanley was going out with Josephine Harrison (not her real name but pretty close!) who was a Kendrick Girl so while I was filled with teenage envy over her having the best boyfriend it was a socially acceptable pairing so no grudge-bearing there. Stanley and I got on really well and liked the same kind of music so we would talk about Use Your Illusion II and various other amazing albums. I don’t remember whether we had a conversation where I declared my undying love for him (I can’t imagine doing that, I was certainly not that kind of girl) but I do remember having a conversation that basically went along the lines of Stanley telling me that when he split up with Josephine he would totally ask me out. At least I think that's what the upshot of the conversation was, it's very possible I got the wrong end o' the stick and actually that's not what he meant. Anyway...
I was in.
All my dreams, for that week at least, were coming true and I was finally going to be Stanley Elderberry’s girlfriend!
Now to my knowledge poor Josephine had no idea that her relationship was on the rocks. In hindsight, I don’t actually think it was because I seem to remember seeing her in various lessons and feeling disappointed that she didn’t look that sad and still had "I ❤ SE" and "JH 4 SE" written on her Rough Book, so clearly their romance was still very much on.
I don’t know how long I waited, pining after Stanley and his curtains, but it felt like years. Looking back I’m sure it was only a matter of weeks. Then finally it happened. Stanley and Josephine split up! I was beside myself. It was literally the best thing that had happened to me in all of my 14 years. I was finally about to become the future Mrs Stanley Elderberry. It was happening. I just had to wait whatever the appropriate amount of time after a break up when you’re 14 is and then I could start choosing my bridesmaids and practising my Kirsty Elderberry signature.
About 5 minutes later I found out he had started going out with Verity Haddington (also not her real name, obviously).
Verity freaking Haddington was not only very slim and beautiful with a super pretty face and lovely dark hair but she was… *dramatic pause*… an Abbey Girl.
And there the hatred began. Verity was really cool (I was not cool) so I don’t remember whether I had ever spoken to her before she stole my boyfriend who wasn’t my boyfriend yet, but I had decided that clearly, she was evil as were the rest of her kind. Those green jumper wearing sluts. I tarred every single one of them with my unreasonable brush and from then on vowed never to speak to a single one and to glare at them all at every opportunity. That would learn ‘em.
How dare she agree to go out with MY Stanley Elderberry even though he wasn’t mine and she didn’t know I thought he was? How could she be so awful? How dare she be so beautiful? Didn’t she know the rule was Reading Boys belong to Kendrick Girls unless they don’t want them? I bet she didn’t know all of the words to the WHOLE of Use Your Illusion II. Obviously, none of this situation was Stanley’s fault. She had clearly conned him with her wicked Abbey Girl ways. He was helpless. Poor love.
And that was that. The grudge against the whole of The Abbey forevermore was borne. Pretty reasonable, no?
I think she and Stanley stayed together for quite some time on and off so it was obviously meant to be. They are both married now, although not to each other. Stanley isn’t married to me or Josephine either in case you were wondering. I married a Pres' Boy instead. Not sure what Josephine did but I think she lives in Caversham so that's nice.
Many, many years later, I gave birth to a baby boy and when he was 10 weeks old I started a baby yoga class. Guess who was the teacher? None other than that very same, still very beautiful, Verity Haddington. I nearly died when I realised. Glaring at the teacher during a yoga class was going to be very awkward and not very yogic.
Turns out she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and was a brilliant baby yoga teacher. Early on in my being a mummy career was really hard for me (like it is for most mummies) and those Friday morning yoga sessions really helped keep me going so I felt terrible for thinking I hated her when she was a genuinely good egg.
It hasn’t, however, stopped me hating on Abbey Girls which, now I have had the time to think about it, does feel a bit unreasonable, but it’s so deeply ingrained now I don’t think I can change it. Also, there were a few Abbey Girls who moved over to Kendrick over the years that I was there and they were all really nice. One of the other mums at baby yoga was one too and she is also super lovely. Oh god, I think I might be wrong about Abbey Girls, you know...
Also, full disclosure here, before my mum comments on this and tells you all anyway... I actually almost became an Abbey Girl myself. I didn't originally get into Kendrick as I lived outside the catchment area. My parents were all set to send me to The Abbey, I had my green uniform all sorted and ready to go and then they got a call from Kendrick to say someone had dropped out. Pretty close huh?