Thank You for Hoaxes, Initiation Rituals, and Mocking Cults

When I was a kid, there were three girls in the neighborhood who denied me access to their clique because I was not cool enough, not pretty enough, and evidently, not mean enough.

But one day they called me over with that sweet, manipulative voice that only girls are capable of producing.

“Heeey Lea, You wanna be part of our club?”

I was so excited to be offered a gesture of friendship, that I was very awkward in my delayed response.

I tried to sound nonchalant, tried to hold back my excitement, held my toothy grin prisoner behind a flip of my hair, and mustered up all the  coolness I could into one syllable.


The oldest girl (thirteen) took charge.

“Okay, here’s what you gotta do.

Take this quarter on this piece of paper, draw thirteen circles around it with this pencil, and tell us when you’re done.”

I finished tracing the circles in seconds—just in case the challenge was about speed.

“Okay, I’m done. Am I part of the club now?”

“No silly, that’s just the first part.

Now you have to make the sign of the club initiation. Here, take your quarter and do what I do.”

The girl  took a quarter out of her pocket and ran it from ear to ear and forehead to chin, like a little wheel across her face, making an invisible symbol.

I took the quarter from the piece of paper and followed her instructions precisely.

All three girls chimed “You’re in the club!” and began laughing hysterically.

I laughed too.

I thought  they were laughing because it was so much fun.

I thought I was having fun being a part of the “club”.

When I finally went home and looked in the mirror, I saw the cross on my face left behind from the lead pencil that I traced the quarter with.

It went from ear to ear and forehead to chin.

I was humiliated. No wonder they kept laughing.

Cults can be kinda like that, huh?

They make you feel like an outsider until you draw circles around your money and alter your face to accommodate their agendas.

Then they sit back and laugh while you believe you are transformed into a new acceptable person.

Until you actually look into a mirror.

~ by leakelley on October 13, 2009.

2 Responses to “Thank You for Hoaxes, Initiation Rituals, and Mocking Cults”

  1. How sad. Reminds me of the mean, older girl who tied my long hair in a knot to the back of the bus seat. Girls can be vicious.

  2. Scared people do mean things, and they don’t have to be girls. When I think of you back then, I am so sad for what you must have felt. I am so glad, however, that you’ve learned so much about human nature in the ensuing years, and have these life lessons that helped create the amazing woman you are. I am SO proud to be your friend, LeaKel.

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