February 28, 2012

Mean Girls.

Posted in Parenthood tagged , , , at 4:16 am by openendedcomment

I suppose the title says it all…girls can be mean. Some say “are”…I’ve said “are”…and tonight, it hit me. By saying we “are” or they “are”….we are, collectively, excusing it.

There is no excuse for it.

I have a daughter. This means I have a heart that walks around on the outside of my body. Initially, in her younger years, I could deal with the fears of everyday life…my little heart went to daycare and I worried about her physical safety. But I controlled her environment by spending a full third of my then-single-mom-in-my-early-twenties income (read: small) on her said daycare. The best. The one I had gone to, that had, somehow, become the expensive place in the area. She went anyway. It was worth it. She blossomed.

Years passed. I worried about her first sleep-over…I stayed up all night lest she should call and need me. She didn’t.

More years. Sports. School. A little curly-haired angel turned into a darling little girl with a mind of her own. I worried, but I controlled her world. I kept it small. Safe.

She is twelve now…seventh grade. Each day I am forced by the sheer will of puberty and heart to slowly loosen my grip.  To release her.

What frighten me most as she progresses on this journey is not war, not the economy, not what college she will attend, not what she may or may not choose to be someday, not even boys…what frightens me most are mean girls.

When I think back on my life, on the hurts and the heartbreak…the vast majority were caused by those very creatures.  As a child, as a teen and as an adult.  Yes, there were love-sick moments and love-rage moments (I was divorced once, after all…but that is another post for another day) The real pain, the real words that I still hear from time to time when I’m at my most vulnerable…those are the words of mean girls.

I can’t even really vilify them.  I’d love to…but how do you vilify that which you have done?  Been?  I know that I’m not a truly bad offender.  I had my moments though.  And just as I look to where my pain was; I can also easily identify my greatest shames.

Mean Girls.

Being one, knowing some. Trying to impress others.

Hating them, hurting under them, doubting myself as a result of it all.

I don’t want that for her.  I won’t allow that for her.  The day my heart started walking around in this world…the day my heart decided she wanted to grow up…that was the day I vowed she’d never know pain the way I had.  The way I have since.

I can’t stop every girl from saying anything cruel to her.  It’s already happened.  I can’t prevent what is inside of so many from touching my girl.  Their grip has already been felt.

I CAN and I WILL do everything in my power to empower her.  I can teach her how to rise above it…and barring that, how to plow through to the other side.  I can pray that she hears me when I tell her she is better than all of it…that she shouldn’t and couldn’t look herself in the mirror if she were to become one.  That who she is is precious.  That she can’t afford to loose herself in it.  That there is another way.

I can’t change what I’ve done.  But.

I can try to set an example.  I can pray I’m not too late.  I can hope that other Mothers are also willing and ready and able and driven to end this cycle of abuse perpetrated on members of our own sex.  Yes, I said abuse.  After all, it is…abuse.  An abusive cycle of beating each other down only to come back with apologies and wine to begin again the moment that trust is re-earned be it face to face verbal assults or the behind-the-back rumors and secret-letting so many are so adept at .  A cycle of abuse that, for me, ends now.

Maybe, just maybe if we, as women, call it what it is.. stop excusing it as just “mean girls”…maybe then we will be disgusted enough to Knock. It. Off.

To those that I hurt: I apologize.  To those that hurt me: I’m over it.  To all the Mothers: Let’s end this.

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