I admit it: I am afraid.
When I learned this theme I felt cold, hardened, contorted. As a feminist I am totally ashamed that on more than one occasion I have said that I hate girls. It isn’t all true, I don’t hate all girls. I don’t actually hate anybody. But I have some deep-seated anger and resentment for many girls who have passed through my life, who have shaped me into someone less confident than maybe I might have been. And even that much isn’t fair. I can’t blame other people for bad choices I’ve made or behaviors I’ve adopted, but if I’m looking for someone else to blame, that person, those people, are inevitably girls.
And I have so many strong women in my life, and throughout my life I have been surrounded by more than my fair share of truly wonderful girls. I know this. I know that I would be in such a different place without the incredible support system that I have – of girls who get it, who get me, who love me. My hope this week is not to dwell on the negative, but to release it. I hope that maybe, by breathing these hostile memories into the ether, they can dissipate. That I don’t have to hold an unfair resentment against girls.
I am one, after all.
I hope this is the last time I hold these girls responsible for things they probably didn’t even realize they did wrong.
I blame the friend I had in kindergarten, the one who had the most beautiful cotton candy pink dress for dress-up, the one who, when a pretty new french girl wanted to wear it, told me I couldn’t anymore, because it wasn’t for me. The one who never invited me over after she chose the other girl as her best friend instead.
I blame the girl on the bus in second grade who said my fingers were short and stubby.
I blame the girls who were my friends, but only during the week. The ones who, every Friday, when I left lunch early for band practice, started rumors about me, or at any rate told me they did. I cowered in fear until Monday, when we would be friends again.
I blame the girls who made me feel like I was less than them because I didn’t own a pair of penny loafers.
I blame the girl who told the boy I liked that I liked him, all as a way of getting closer to him so that they could go out (again).
I blame the other girl who told a different boy I liked that I liked him, and who then told me that he said I was hideous. He was a jerk – don’t worry, I blame him, too.
I blame all the girls in the boat one day when I was coxswain, who rowed opposite of what I said even though it meant we would end up on a sandbar.
I blame the girl who told me that my sense of style was unique, but hard as I tried I couldn’t bend the meaning into something positive. She didn’t mean it that way. She didn’t.
I blame the girl who caught me singing to myself in the hallway, the one who told me I looked possessed.
I blame the girl who told me not to quit my day job.
The girls who betrayed my confidence.
The girls who stood me up.
The girls who put me last.
The girls who told me I was weird.
The girls who thought that weird was bad.
The girls who talked and laughed until I came into the room, or on the bus, and all was silent, and everyone stared.
The girls who made me feel as though there was a reason for us all to compete against each other.
Even (especially) the girls who don’t remember me.