On the face of it, I suppose it looked as though I thought I was all that and a bag of chips. Strange how others see you, versus how you see yourself.
Those last days of High School, you remember those Mom.
Did it change me? Damn right it did. Sure I appeared tough as nails on the surface, but that walk home that night after school, that day they all conspired to finally gang up and spew their malicious jealousy at me? Yip, it all came tumbling in; and you were always there, standing in the kitchen, to pick up the pieces off that ugly late 70’s vinyl floor.
Still I remember their names, their faces, and the hateful looks, if not the words. It stands as a significant portrait hanging in the hall of my high school memories.
The five of them, or six was it? See, I don’t recall as much as I once did, it’s no wonder I almost forgot why I don’t trust women.
The portrait has faded. Anyways, I’d have to go through their names in my head, which I don’t want to. Their names can not be seen in my facebook friends list, lets just say.
I see them on occasion pop up now and again on friends threads though. I know how some of them fared, although not all. And I no longer wish them ill, as with maturity I know life has taken care of that.
I know you were proud of me though Mom. And I know you were probably more hurt by them than I.
Bullying has been given the zero tolerance treatment the last few years in schools, and social media newsfeeds go haywire when stories of bullying are posted. So many identify I guess.
I really wonder though, what good does ZERO tolerance really do? I mean, probably 80% or more of bullying never even sees the light of day. Certainly education helps. Awareness helps. But in the end, it is an age-old story, and women and girls have competed with one another since the dawn of humanity.
And, you know, for the longest time it didn’t even dawn on me that I even HAD been bullied. Seriously, I didn’t connect myself. I had almost banished that portrait to the garbage. Almost.
But one day, some little voice, it whispered in my ear and said “tell them Paula, speak up“.
You know, I strangely never really blamed C. Sure, she was most certainly part of the group, and I know had a hand in alot of the jibes they muttered; when they happened to find me walking through the halls without Sue. Cowards.
And no Mom, I still haven’t found her. But I keep looking. One day. One day.
But, no, I in the end never blamed C. Sure, I had been there for her when the mean girls turned against HER. And yes, she certainly paid me back with a knife in the back. But inside, inside I pitied her. I did. All she wanted was for them to like her.
Thing is, I suppose I never really gave a shit really what they thought of me. I liked C, and I didn’t care what they thought of her. She was different, like me. Oh, but when they were finally sniffing around, trying to wreck more girlish havoc, well, she turned on me as quickly as a snake in the grass.
Yet, I don’t blame her, and I’m not a 100% sure why.
You know, I found out about her death while I was with Tim at the cottage. It was about, em, four years ago now? Yup, one night on the evening news, the words on the screen just before the commercial break… MURDER SUICIDE. And when the names were spoken, I was certainly shocked.
Tim of course was all strange about my reaction. To him it was just another case of domestic violence. Telling me I shouldn’t let some stupid girls death from so long ago affect me.
Of course C’s death brought those feelings back. How on earth could they not? Her actions completely changed, everything. All my high school memories are just alittle tainted by her. It brought back the solitude, the loneliness, and the feelings of not really fitting with these strange beings, called teenage girls.
To this day I still shy from female friendship, and I don’t trust women. Even as adults I see how malicious and competitive they are. I’ve seen how they ooze compliments and hugs to your face, and then turn and blah blah blah behind their back, to their “other” friends. Oh, some women just never grew up I guess.
I’ve never understood their primal urge to verbally bash the brains out of every female they think threatens their power, or control, over men. And not even THEIR man, but every man within their vicinity.
I say grow up, but maybe I should say EVOLVE BE-YA-TCHs.
Interesting how I didn’t even know what the heck had got their knickers in a ruddy knot till after I graduated. Took Lex being asked by the senior guys to turn around and show them her butt, and to be told of its resemblance to her older sisters arse. oh, the intangible value of posthumous fame.
I just shook my head and thought, my Mother told me so. Yes, you certainly did. You told me that they were just jealous, but I was just a little skeptical of that wisdom, cause all I could think of is…
Well, I guess it was just my shy and reserved nature. My introverted personality just was not fully developed, and I cringed at social interaction as I felt so self-aware, and hated any sort of attention. It made me anxious. But it came off as stuck up bitch who thinks she’s better than the rest of us ( or so I’ve been told).
Yeah, well that’s called armor.
If I’m honest, I never did have much in common with them. So it’s no surprise they were so threatened by my otherness. Yet, its seriously taken me YEARS to embrace that otherness, since for so long I thought it was a flaw. Or, that I was just flawed.
And, certainly, when your young, it is just alot easier to fit in, to go to the parties, to say the right things, wear the right cloths, and do all the right, and IN things. Much, much easier.
For years I let the attractiveness of my face and arse rule my waves. I guess as you get older though, you do have to reconcile yourself to the insignificance of those things. Faces wrinkle, butts eventually sag, yet our spirit, our soul, is always beautiful and untarnished with age. No amount of bullying, nor unkindness of any kind, can ruin that – unless you let it. That I have learned, perhaps the hard way.
It is amazing how difficult it has been to express these memories in some coherent fashion, stripped of petty jabs and such. And, after all these years, admit to the original wound that partly made me who I am today. And, began that slow waltz towards the creative hermit I tend to be. Once bitten, twice shy.
Don’t even ask what brought this all on Mom, couldn’t tell you. But, for the first time, in a long time, I don’t feel flawed or otherwise. I feel, well, I guess I feel vindicated in my current life. Proud of where I am, who I am, where I live, what I do, and even of the exclusive group of people I call friend.
Maybe I should thank those mean girls, eh? Nah, they can kiss my still pert bum.
Love you Mom,