It's twenty till six on Friday morning. WTF? In case you were wondering, if you need to start your period, GUARANTEED, tell the internet you're feeling yourself up because you can't tell if your boobs are sore or not. Or take a pregnancy test. Works. Every fucking time.
So I'm going to go to work early. Or I'm going to sit here and write some bullshit till it's time to go to work, and then I'll kick my own ass for not taking advantage of the fact that I was up at five till five this morning. Well, if we're being honest, I was up at 4 - I just didn't get out of bed till almost five, when I'd finally gave up on getting back to that dream about ... I can't remember anymore what that dream was about. It was weird, though, and I wanted to see what happened.
I remember what I dreamed about before I woke yesterday morning, though. Heather Donovan. She was this geeky (before geeky was cool) chick who went to middle school with me - The Girls and I were tortuously mean to her. We were in the sixth grade - as I remember it, sixth grade was pretty fucking awful. (Except that I learned the word "fuck" in the sixth grade, so that's kinda cool.) Sixth grade was full of awkwardness and not fitting it - a bunch of hormone-laden kids bouncing off one another and trying to figure out where they fit. We all fell into our individual roles quickly enough - my role was outcast-wannabecoolkid. Heather was like three rungs below me on the social hierarchy scale. She wore blue eye shadow smeared up to her eyebrows. Her hair was thin and she pouffed her bangs into this see-through bird's-nest thing and lacquered it with hairspray so it moved in one giant piece in the wind. (Okay, we all did that, but hers was really bad.) She wore button-up flower-printed blouses, buttoned all the way to the top, that wreaked of her mother's particular sense of (old-lady) style. (Let's not discuss the fact that I discovered jeans for the first time in this same year. For the first half of the school year, my favorite pants were a pair of stirrup pants in some pattern that involved big yellow flowers and purple something- I don't remember what was purple in the pants, but something was, because I always wore them with a long purple shirt that I thought made me look awesome, and I never would've worn a purple shirt with those pants unless there was purple in them somewhere.)
Anyhow, back to Heather. She showed up in my dream yesterday morning. We were maybe at a party or something? There was a big open room, people mingling, and then she walked through the door. I was startled by her presence - she looked, in her face, exactly the same as the last time I saw her, but without the crunchy bangs and coke-bottle glasses. Her hair was sleek and smooth, and her skin was clear. Her eyes were free of the magnification of the glasses that always made her look a little googly-eyed...and they weren't held down by a gram of blue powder, either. She was pretty.
We didn't talk beyond a "hey, good to see you" because my alarm sounded. But in the shower, I thought of things I'd say to her if I saw her now:
"I'm sorry we were so mean to you."
"I'm sorry we put Ex-lax in that caramel cookie bar and then let you eat it."
"I'm sorry we made fun of you."
"I'm sorry we thought we were better than you." I mean, there was a reason she was sitting at our lunch table, people; it's not like there were assigned seats.
"I hope we didn't cause any lasting damage."
Kids are mean. We were mean. Brutal. I hope she's doing alright.
"Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever forgive myself for the sins I committed as a child." I said that to Stacy not too long ago; I told her if I ever write a book, it'll be the first line. Today, right now, I feel like I'm a pretty good person. I try to leave a good impact wherever I go, even if it's just a smile or a few coins. I've been a bitch, though; I've been a mean asshole, I've been cruel and vindictive. For fuck's sake, I once convinced my 2-year old brother that he was adopted and mom and dad were going to take him back because they decided they didn't like him anymore. When I say convinced, I mean, I only retracted my story when he started crying.
God, that brought tears to my eyes. See what I mean? I hate myself for that memory. I hope Brother doesn't remember it. Of course, is that better or worse? That it could be seared into his psyche that he's unloved because his sister was an evil 11 year old? Maybe it's all my fault he was all fucked up.
Stacy, too. She and I are only 18 months apart; I treated her as if she were my minion, there for my personal enjoyment and entertainment. About 10 years ago, she told me she'd always admired me and looked up to me; I've never been so ashamed or felt so low in my life. I don't deserve her kindness, and sometimes, even now, I'm surprised that she wants to hang out with me or listens to my advice.
But people change. We grow up and we figure out that our actions have consequences and we learn what empathy is and we start to not be assholes all the time. I think Stacy and Brother have forgiven me; I imagine Heather Donovan thinks nothing of me at all.
I am my own worst critic, because I remember.
Everyone has done things they're ashamed of now. All you can do is learn from it and rein yourself in when you feel yourself heading down that bitchy path (which is successful for me approximately 40% of the time).ReplyDelete
And kids are cruel by nature. Really they're like small pyschopaths that we have to train into normal people. It's sad to look back on now, but again I think most people remember exhibiting some pretty brutal behaviour in their pre-adult years.
We have all been cruel at some point in our pre-teen/teen years. It maybe the combination of hormones and wanting to belong. And being a bitch is something that is in our DNA. With me, I am pretty easy going until I am pushed emotionally. That is when the bitchiness comes out and that is when I am the meanest.ReplyDelete
Like you said, we do change for the better.
I had lunch with Heather Donovan yesterday, she told me to make sure I punch you in the baby maker next time I see you. She hasn't forgotten.ReplyDelete
Seriously, don't beat yourself up! The very fact that you feel badly about these things proves that you're a kind person. Mean people don't do naughty things and feel bad about them afterwards, the never feel bad about them.
Like one time when I was in 2nd grade I kicked some poor kid in the balls as hard as I could and left him sobbing in a puddle of his own urine and I don't feel bad about it at all... because I'm a total bitch!!
The fact that you remember and care about it is important. I reconnected with one of my former tormentors through facebook and he actually apologized which was unexpected and wonderful.ReplyDelete
We were ALL mean to someone. And hopefully someone was mean to us so we could empathize and not be so mean to that other person next time.ReplyDelete
And I agree with the other comments. We're all a little skewampy in the head during those years. Our brains haven't fully developed so we can hardly be totally blamed. The important thing is that you're obviously trying to be the best you can be now.
No, that didn't mean to sound like you should go join the army.