I came across this post on Jezebel.com yesterday and it's been haunting me ever since. Apparently the author of the book Queen Bees & Wannabes - the book that inspired the movie Mean Girls - has published an updated version that goes into all of the new, exciting kinds of bullying going on in this day and age with teenage girls. As it turns out, if you're the one who has unfortunately been deemed a "wannabe," it seems you can't escape the bullying. Going home isn't a respite anymore; horrible groups can be formed about you on Facebook, you can be bullied by text and IM, and who the hell knows what else. Reading this post and all of the comments left me with my heart pounding, mouth hanging open and tears in my eyes.
I was truly lucky in middle school and high school. There was every reason I should have been picked on - I was a classic nerd, with the giant 80's glasses and the funked-up teeth that later had braces and retainers, the horribly-permed hair, the sad attempt at looking like my idols Madonna and Cyndi Lauper - I was a hot mess (this was mostly in middle school - I just turned into a grungy metal chick in high school). For some reason, I was lucky enough not to be bullied. I think part of it was that for seventh and eighth grades, I went to a very small private Catholic school. I truly believe if I continued on to public middle school at that point, I would have gotten my ass kicked handily. By the time I went back to public school for ninth grade and beyond, I was looking a little less geeky and a little more...scary, so I assimilated pretty nicely. And my high school (in my town, at the time, high school was only tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades) was sooo huge that you really had to stand out to get picked on.
Now, people could have been ripping me to shreds behind my back, and they probably were. But I feel so fortunate that I'm not left with the scars of a really horrific middle/high school experience. I mean, it wasn't perfect - not by any stretch - but I can look back at those years semi-fondly.
But now I have a daughter. A sweet, funny, adorable, wonderful, perfect daughter. I know she's not all of those things all of the time, but I would do ANYTHING for her, throw myself in front of a bus for her, protect her from things that will harm her. Until I can't anymore. And it's then - when she comes home crying because someone said something mean about her in school (and I fully understand that this happens in elementary school too, and hell, probably preschool), that I really don't know what I'm going to do. Because I don't think it's nice, or really even legal, to punch other kids.
But I think I'm gonna want to. Scratch that - I know I'm gonna want to.
Another blog I read, Mike Adamick's Cry It Out, hit on this same subject, but with far younger children. He does it with humor, but I was crying by the end. Check it out.
Ah, parenting. Such fun!