This week, on a very special episode of Blossom...I mean, Dear Crabby. "Bullies are jerkwads."
My daughter is getting bullied at school. I don't know what to do! I feel horrible and don't want to make it worse by punching some tween in her acned faced. What should I do?
Dear Bully Beatdown,
I'm dedicating alllllll of Dear Crabby this week to this question, because it is THAT important. It's also a little relevant because this notorious organization in my high school has filed a petition. I'm told there are typos in said petition, but that's neither here nor there. Just really satisfying to know. From what I can grasp based on my limited research - I can only stomach so much revisiting of past traumas - the group is kind of being unofficially disbanded. Not surprisingly, current and former members of the group are none too pleased about it. Here's the thing: I'm pretty sure this disbanding came, oh, several years too late. At least for my sake.
My high school mascot was the hornet. Natch, the group was called the Hornettes (yes, the "Whore" jokes write themselves...) They were dancers, but didn't compete in anything. They danced at halftime shows and pep rallies. Most of the dance moves were of the high kicks/splits /pelvic thrust variety. And also several of them had zip dancing abilities.
But they were pretty. And SO popular. They had bright white teeth, perfectly tanned skin, zero percent body fat, they were the kinds of girls who everyone wanted to be at one point or another. Everyone knew their names.
But they were mean. Like, REALLY mean.
And okay, caveat, not ALL of them were like this. I knew girls who were otherwise super awesome, but the group as a whole put the girls in Mean Girls to shame. For the most part, mercifully, they ignored me. I was like a great mix of nerd, musician, free spirit, bandie, athlete and class-skipper. I flew mostly under the radar.
At least until I was a sophomore. That year, I was minding my unassuming beezwax, drooling over the senior guys in my yearbook. A group of the Hornettes strolled by and SPIT ON ME. Laughing and laughing, they SPIT on me. Worst of all? They SPIT on the picture of my senior guy crush! RUDE!
It was bad. I knew then that they not only knew who I was, but they were probably not going to join my fan club. I cried and felt HORRIBLE. Jerks. Skinny little tanned jerks. In later years, I would lose friends to the Hornettes who would inform me at my locker that they couldn't be friends with me anymore, because I mean, come on. They were clearly too popular to be seen with the likes of me.
So the group is associated with scarring me for life. I know for a fact they destroyed the self-esteem of some of my dearest friends. And no matter how awful they were, people still joined. They WILLINGLY went through the brutal hazing. There were rumors of girls having to drink until they puked, and then they had to EAT the puke. Some claim that if you were a new girl on the "team" you had to sit there while the veterans circled the fat and imperfections on your body. They could ruin your relationship with you boyfriend if one of them wanted him. And they'd openly spit on super awesome chicks who they didn't even KNOW. They ran the school from their self-appointed, better-than-everyone thrones.
Back to my first point. The group is in "danger" of being disbanded because some people may have figured out that they don't add anything to the strong competitive, musical or academic reputations of the school. Given the fact that it's the group who spawned the wretched, brutally mean girls who cast a shadow over many days for me, I hope it happens. I do. To my knowledge, the group is nothing but an elite group of pretty girls who bounce around in sports bras and short shorts during pep fests. As I mentioned, they didn't compete in anything. Except, maybe, hurting outsiders' feelings. There were dance teams and competition cheerleading squads (of which I was a member) and during my time at school, no one really knew WHY the Hornettes existed. Except that they were pretty to look at. But what was the cost of this?
All I wanted was to be liked in high school, and all it took was a few of these Hornettes to briefly shred what little self esteem I had. The fact that the school supported this behavior - or at least looked the other way - made it acceptable. Putting an end to it is something I support.
(Granted, I developed esteem in SPADES in subsequent years because, I mean, I am awesome.)
To the second point, I don't know what to do about bullies. They are nasty people and I don't know what would make them stop being nasty. Hell, I don't know what would make them START being nasty. Luckily, my fellow nerds/soccer team/cheerleaders/band geeks still liked me and I ended up loving a lot of high school.
Bullies are awful. If it helps, though, pretty much everyone gets bullied. Sadly, I'm sure I'm not entirely innocent from bullying at some point. Not all bullies are bad people, I guess. They just don't know any better. But that doesn't help YOU. The younger a kid is when it starts, the worse it can feel I'm sure. I guess my suggestion is to love your daughter, teach her to be nice, and helpfully point out that lots of bullies get fat or have bratty kids eventually. That's what I tell myself, anyway.
P.S. While I am particularly proud of this specific blog, I can't bring myself to post it on my Facebook page, like I normally would do. I have since friended some former Hornettes who may take offense. And while my intention is not to hurt their feelings, all of this is true, to the best of my knowledge. Also, pathetically, I'm still way too concerned with what those girls think of me. If you read this and are a former Hornette, I'm sure you have a different point of view. But, to be blunt, I don't particularly care about your point of view. This is simply MY point of view. And, ta da! It's my blog. Go team!