When I was a little girl, I felt as though everyone loved me. I never questioned it.
I didn’t have a ‘word’ for what I felt at the time, but now I remember feeling very open, and confident, and happy to be surrounded by all of the people that interacted with me in a wonderful way. The word is LOVE.
My grandfather was largely responsible for this- his adoration was epic.
I was his first grandchild, the child of his only child, my father.
From what I experienced as the years went by, he and my father didn’t get along very well. I don’t really have any earth shattering revelations about this- they just disappointed each other.
I was sad for my grandfather, seeing how he would bristle when my father came into a room and the way my father would dismiss him. (*Note: I was never sad for my own father. I figured, even then, he deserved it. Interesting.)
I wanted Grandpa to feel the way I did- happy all the time, covered with love.
My first memory was waking in my crib and wanting my mother.
My second memory was bouncing in the arms of my Grandpa, both of us laughing.
And so it went. For many years.
Then, I entered fifth grade and met the ‘Mean Girls’.
There was one in particular. I’ll call her Sue. She was a mind-blow.
I had never observed such calculated willful nasty.
She, somehow (and I still can’t make sense of it) had such power over the other seemingly nice kind pleasant girls, that she could control the playground. On more then one occasion, I was without anyone to play with- on her orders.
Time went by and I found my niche in art and choir and cheerleading (that’s right- I was a cheerleader), and as Boys became more important, I developed the boobs that she could not.
And so, I got my revenge, through evolution, and she was left in the dust.
But she wasn’t the last, oh no.
In High School, there was this covert initiation, that bordered on a pathology that shall remain nameless (sociopathic).
An Upper Class girl would choose an incoming freshman to make life a living hell for.
My short straw was picked by a real slice of heaven I’ll call Laurie.
She proceeded to push me, try to cut my hair, bump my lunch off of the cafeteria tray, physically prevent me from getting to class on time, trip me going down stairs, start rumors, etc, etc.
This all ended when I, 1) decided to remember my Grandfather’s love, and 2) went looking for her, found her in an empty hallway, grabbed her arms, twisted them to her back, and with my right knee pushed her fat ass into an empty locker, slammed it shut, and locked it.
When questioned about this later, I feigned innocence, and found a quick reprieve from our Vice Principal, who I’ll call Mr. Richmond (because that’s his name) with whom I had forged an excellent grandfatherly relationship with.
She never bothered me again.
Sadly, this bullshit started to trickle down into the Middle School and my sister found herself the victim of a bully.
She cried at night.
I hatched a little plan that included my best male friend, who I’ll call Reggie, whereby he and I would leave our High School campus a little early, on his Hog, and pay a visit to my sister’s Middle School playground at dismissal.
He was to wear his Leathers. I was was to wear a smile.
Let’s just say Reggie had a ‘talk’ with the aforementioned bully.
I remember hearing him say, “If I have to come back again, our talk will be longer.”
So I find it very disappointing that I have, yet again, found a kind of metaphorical bullying, among blogging groups.
Here’s how it usually plays out: An Online presence is trying to grow their following. They…
‘Reach-out’ and ask for submissions.
Your piece is accepted, and published.
They ask again.
Again- accepted and published.
This seems like a marriage made in a kind of Heaven only a writer could imagine- but it’s not.
It’s more like the ‘Mean Girls’ are still controlling the playground, and we’re letting them.
I’m talking Compensation, Ladies- either in the form of money or credit.
We are, instead, convinced (by them) that the possibility of additional readers is compensation enough.
In the meantime, the Online presence is raking in paid endorsements, paid speaking engagements, interviews, and any other form of ‘raking’ they can finagle.
And we are letting them.
I know that writers want to be read.
I know that writing have never, historically, been a high paying field.
I know that we all wanna ‘feel the love’, but our voices, and experiences, and wisdom, and craft, have a VALUE over and above the breadcrumbs that are scattered about to our poor little anti-confrontational demure peace loving Spanx clad bodies.
And ya know what really pisses me off?
The bread that those crumbs are being gathered from is more and more being baked, and distributed, by other women.
Could it be that this is just another form of playground bullying?
That using someone for your own advantage is still wrong?
I hope so.
As one of thousands of middle-aged women who are trying to find, yet again, another voice, to reinvent themselves, after raising the kids, and getting the meals on the table, and working at a job that didn’t fulfill their little girl dreams, because they grew-up in the loving arms of an adoring Grandfather, and have been too scared to shove anyone in a locker…
|Telling him a secret…
“I think I’m going to grow up and not take any shit from anyone.
|Learning how to be confident
in the lap of my Champion.
|I have decided to wash the car and paint the house.
He decided to assist me, instead of telling me NO.Later that day, we bought and traded stocks, and I got a driver’s license.
|Even at Grown-up dinner parties
I was at the head of the table- with him.