A while back, her Grandma advised that Miss M (Boyf’s eldest) had been having some issues with the girls at school. Nothing too serious, just the usual cattiness that comes with having XX chromosomes. I don’t remember it starting at nine, but heck, they’re starting everything young these days.
When Miss M is at our house, I am usually the go to for the tough questions: “When will Grandma Von die?”
This is a tough one, Great Grandma Von is 88, and you better believe I enjoy that lady, but I don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver with the “not for a very long time”. Shoot, she could fall asleep and wake up in paradise with Grandad Morrie, not that this is what I’m wishing, because I haven’t managed to get her to sign over the reeeedick amethyst ring to me as yet…
So I do the “not one day that you are here on this earth as been promised to you, so make the most of everyday as if it was your last, and every breath as if it was the same” and she looks at me like I’m the wisest human she knows (and by wisest I mean weirdest).
I blame this honesty on my mum, who is not only all about the Worst Case Scenario, she is honest, always. Sanitary pads were to catch dribbles in your knickers and babies came out the hole between your front bottom and your back bottom. The cat didn’t go the farm, the cat got an injection that made his heart stop and he’s buried over the back fence.
Having said that, she took that Santa Claus shit to the next level. The guy in the mall, well he wasn’t Santa, he was a helper because Santa was too busy to be sitting around at Centreplace. Come Christmas Day there were foot prints and cookie crumbs and even reindeer poo in the driveway where he parked his team. When I found out the jolly fat man did not live in the North Pole, employ elves and steer a sleigh around the world, I was distraught (not because I would no longer get a Santa sack – I still get one well into my 30’s), but because she had lied to me. She had betrayed my trust and I was heart broken.
Shit it must have been hard work to have a Cancerian for a child. I was all about saving the world from a young age, why couldn’t we give all the wild cats a home? Why couldn’t we send our leftovers to Africa? What if dad died? Go the fuck to sleep child.
So, I digress. Miss M comes to me and says that the girls at school are being mean, and lucky I’m forewarned, so I’ve got a bit of a speech prepared that doesn’t involve too much honesty, and it’s not “maybe you should find some new friends” because that’s the worst advice you could give anyone who truly believes that the girls at primary school are the only friends they will ever have.
So I said “I know that it makes your heart hurt when people aren’t being nice, but as long as you are nice to yourself, that’s the main thing.”
“But she said that I have a fat bum and that I’m a liar and no one wants to play with me.”
I thought: ‘Hells bells a fat ass? Really? You’re built like a three day old filly, if you got it, flaunt it.’
I said: “Well you don’t have a fat bum and you’re not a liar. Some days it’s OK to play by yourself, it’s good to spend some time alone to remind yourself how much fun you are”.
“But she told so-and-so that I said such-and-such about her and I didn’t”.
I thought: ‘Punch her in the face kid, split her lip and then it will hurt to talk for a while.’
I said: “Well if so-and-so believes that you said such-and-such then that’s a bit silly. What will you tell her when she comes to you and says that so-and-so said such-and-such about you?”
I thought: ‘You will give her an elbow to the temple then bring her face swiftly to meet with your knee and break her nose to remind her that she should keep it out of other people’s business.’
I said: “You will tell her that you don’t think that so-and-so said those things about you, and even if so-and-so did say that, it’s none of your business and it doesn’t matter.”
Then I went back to mixing cement and she went back to painting the concrete pot from the reject pile.
Here’s what I couldn’t bring myself to tell her:
“Sunshine, this is life. I would love to say ‘it gets better’, but you have got a lot of years of this school yard bullshit ahead, and it will get a hell of a lot worse before it gets better.
There will be days when you cry your little heart out because you had no one to sit with at lunch, or because your best frenemy pashed the person you like at a party. On those days your father and I will say “it will be OK” but we’ll be crying our hearts out on the inside, because we’ve been there and we know how it feels. Except the bit about your best frenemy kissing the person you like, because your dad would totally have been the lunch cutter…
You might get a bit of a reprieve when you’re in your tertiary years, because big lecture theatres make it easy to avoid bullies, and there are so many other people to drink terrible, cheap vodka with, that it won’t matter as much. While you’re at uni you might happen across one or two of the girls you went to school with and you’ll feel bad for the times that you were a mean girl by default. For the times when you didn’t stand up to the bullies because you were just relieved that you had someone to eat your yoghurt with that day
There will come a time when you realise that some of the mean girls were just insecure, and sugar, with those legs there will be a lot of insecurity in your fraternity. It’s hard to explain socio-economics and child abuse to you, but you will understand that some of the mean girls came from really unhappy homes and that’s why they’ll push you in the hall way and threaten to bash you and call you an “ugly blonde slut” (no? Just me?).
There are some girls who stay insecure forever, and the hardest thing, when you’re not welcome at their houses or invited to the birthday parties of their children, is to remind yourself that you’re not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s OK, and that you didn’t want to go to the stupid party anyway, and they can all go and get fucked, because you don’t even care! Honestly.
But it’s very important, to remember how that feels, and to not be the person who doesn’t include or accept people because they intimidate you or you don’t like that they use big words, or it annoys you that they laugh too loud, or you think that they think that they are better than you, because who do they think they are walking in here in high heels when it’s clearly a ballet flats party?!?!?
Some mean girls, they’re actually sociopaths. Even as adults these mean girls will lie, and cheat and manipulate and never feel bad about. They will say terrible things about you, and to you, and make you doubt yourself and everything that you’ve worked for.
For the rest of your life you will come across mean girls, and sometimes you will be brave enough and bold enough to laugh at the mean girls and carry on with your day. Sometimes you will fight fire with fire and you will bail that bitch up in the staff room and tell her that you don’t know how she lies straight in bed at night (just don’t put that in an email – ever). Other times your heart will hurt and you will wonder whether this is karma catching up with you because you didn’t tell Ella that it was OK to sit with you even though Ava said she couldn’t. Or maybe it’s because you didn’t tell Isla that she shouldn’t pash Jack because she knows that Mya really likes him.
While it’s nice to be important Miss M, it is more important to be nice, and even though there will be people that you do not like in life, you should try, really try, not be a mean girl.”