Friday, September 5, 2014

Bully For You




I was bullied in school. I'm out about it. But not over it.

I'm not surprised that I was bullied, really, since I believed in unicorns for far longer than was seemly, and over my school uniform no matter what the weather, I wore the wool hoodie sweater that my grandmother crocheted for me with the hoodie drawn tight as if to draw her love around me like a shield, and also, invariably, my lunch was something uncool like egg salad.

What surprised me is that no one seemed to notice.

A lot has changed, now. Parents, teachers, even the government have opened their eyes to what throw downs go down on the playground.

As an adult I am still that creature I was at 7-12 when other little girls yanked my hair in the dark of auditorium where we were watching a reel-to-reel on the life cycle of monarch butterflies, or pinched me, or taped a sign to my back saying that my butt smelled, or didn't choose me for intramurals and I would be left standing by the gymnasium wall, wanting to blanche ash, turn the color of the wood floor, to become a board.

I carry the memory of that creature. I have in the hamster wheel of my adult mind, a terrified small mammal in pigtails and a monumentally unfashionable woolen hoodie.

So when my daughter, 7, told me that her hair was being pulled on the playground, and that some little girls were "spying" on her, tormenting her in that girlish way, marking her, that small hamster went apeshit. 

Hulk-smash.

I wanted to march on the playground roaring  The Battle Hymn Of The Republic. I wanted to become a superhero for all the kids who have ever worn their underwear two days in a row, or liked the wrong things.

Instead, I went to the playground and stood there, watching. I'm eagle-eyed, a grown woman now, and not afraid of channeling my grandfather, Hey, you there, you little assholes, get off my lawn. 

As goes the playground, so goes the world.