Mean Girls morph into highly critical women.

English: Crying boy
English: Crying boy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I stress on the word morph, to highlight that there is no change or improvement just a repackaging. I studied in an all girls school, went to an all girl’s college and worked in a women only department, talk about BAD luck. When the female species decides to be good, it is a blessing, like rain on a parched land, it is refreshing. The reverse is also true, with memories that can haunt and sometimes traumatise the victim for years.

Individually they are rendered quite powerless though I have had the greatest misfortune to cross paths with the evilest types (yeah more than one!) who can singlehandedly wreck your life. Now before you roll you eyes and brush aside this post as another emotional rant, read on, it is nothing like that.

I will spare you the details, I see many sigh with relief, what I want to highlight is emotional bullying. As I prepare to send my oldest to school, I was reading upon the school literature aimed at educating parents with children preparing to attend school for the first time. School bullying is a growing epidemic, and even in a peaceful, friendly city like Adelaide, it is becoming a problem.

I was reading upon some articles and instances of bullying, when I realised that many of the emotional side effects mentioned were very similar to what I had experienced. I always thought that I had just crossed paths with some really mean characters, but as I study the type and scope of bullying I realised that I was subjected to emotional bullying which is as bad if not worse than physical bullying. While physical bullying can result in instant public humiliation, harmful gossiping, spreading malicious lies and general defamation in private circles can erode one’s confidence and inflict invisible wounds that fester and infect your very soul.

Before you start feeling sorry for me don’t, like I told my mom, “Don’t worry I am too shallow for these things to affect me!” To which she replied, “Oh thank God!”

Yup, that’s closure in our family, if it hasn’t killed you; it’s good for you. Apart form the whole martyr syndrome that we Catholics tend to love so much; ironically my worst tormentor was catholic and we were studying in a catholic convent, there is a bigger picture.

Before I continue, let me please stress that in no way am I endorsing emotional bullying nor am I negating the pain and trauma, experienced by fellow victims. This is about me and my personal journey of how I have evolved through pain; especially that bone crushing, soul ripping kind tends to either break you or remould you. If you are rigid you break but if you surrender to the mercy of God, it renews your mind and spirit.

For the longest time I ignored dealing with the pain and just ignored it, hence the shallow aspect. As a mother whose child could be either a victim or a perpetrator or hopefully neither, I have been forced to confront my hidden issues, the pain that I had brushed aside has welled up.

In a moment of prayer, a why me moment as I call it, I hit upon a revelation, it was painful and at first I wanted to brush it aside as nonsense. There was a moment of, this is so cruel and I thought God is all love, which finally abated into God knows best. In his wisdom I remain.

I am a fiercely opinionated woman and by my own admission I am rarely wrong. Yeah, you get the hint; I have all the classic makings of a mean girl or critical woman. However, because of the trauma inflicted on me, I know when not to cross the line. Having suffered first hand for thinking different, I now respect different lines of thought and I am more understanding. Being constantly targeted out of sheer jealousy and spite, I can honestly say that I do not experience jealousy, that ugly emotion has no place in my life.

My repeated affliction with girls/women who considered themselves more cultured and intelligent, their constant verbal assault of my happy, giggly nature as immature and childish has led me to appreciate, not just tolerate, women (in their thirties) who like to dress in princess outfits and crowns.

For all of those women who roll their eyes at these happy childlike women and remark, “OMG! She is so fake, it’s annoying!” my message to you, close your eyes or turn away but please keep your comments to yourself. Words hurt so if yours don’t bless then practise silence, after all being cultured and intelligent also means allowing for freedom of expression.

As I sit on the fence, I am grateful I didn’t turn into a mean critical woman, and if experiencing first hand the trauma they inflict was the only way to keep from becoming one, I say, “Bring it on!”

I am not a feminist and it should not bother someone who is.

For all those who are lining up with a bludger in hand to let me know  ‘why’ they oppose my line of thought, how about you make your self a cuppa and have a read?

To be an active soldier means there is a war, which means that there is conflict. No matter how you look at it, conflict exists because two or more parties partake in the argument. To have an argument all parties have to agree on one aspect, to disagree about a particular point sensitive to both.

Let me explain, Henrietta a scientist stationed in Antarctica believes in aliens, Annabel Louise thinks only whackos would entertain such a thought.  Henrietta and Annabel Louise bump into each other at a community get together in their hometown; they have a wonderful time catching up. There is no conflict. Henrietta and Annabel Louise are both aware of each other’s position on Aliens, both feel very strongly about the topic, however it plays no part in their friendship.

They are more than their opinions on a topic, Henrietta is more than an advocate of Aliens, she is a woman, a scientist, a kind person, etc. and so is Annabel Louise. I am not a feminist because I am not a label and no I don’t believe in all things equal. There is a lot more dynamics at play than just one metric as to intelligence or superiority. I am a lousy doctor (I never went to medical school), xyz is a great doctor because xyz actually studied to be a doctor, and it doesn’t mean that I am an inferior person.

We are not created ‘equal’ but we are created ‘unique’. We should celebrate our individuality not lobby for equality. A friend of mine has a child who has Down syndrome, you won’t find my friend lobbying for equality for her daughter but she does try to ‘educate’ everyone about how wonderful her daughter is.

All this ‘fight’ for equality stems from the need to fit in, for recognition, for acknowledgment. You don’t need all that when you are truly liberated. When you are your own person and not ashamed of who you are then the world doesn’t affect you.

I am a scrooge and I love bargains, I actually get a kick out of savings, I am a clearance shopper. My husband is the exact opposite; he loves designer wear, pays top dollar for everything and always disowns me in public when we are out shopping. Do we argue? In the beginning yes, when we tried to win each other over to the other side. Today, we have come to an understanding that we both have a right to exercise our choices (that does not cross certain lines, fidelity, honesty etc.) without needing each other’s approval.

Life shouldn’t be different, the world is not fair and it’s foolhardy to think that you can get somewhere lobbying about it. True change comes from within, it’s a gradual shift, the community has to come together and effect the change. Women play a great role in shaping the future, as mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, carers, teachers etc. If the world is not a better place then perhaps we should begin looking into our own souls?

You who lobby for women’s lib, do you look down on women who don’t ‘agree’ with your line of thinking or support you? Does the top executive look down on the stay at home mom? More importantly does the stay at home mom feel inadequate because she isn’t climbing the corporate ladder?

Inequalities stem from our own ideas of success, as mothers do we secretly hope that our children will become doctors, noble laureates instead of let say, a truck driver? Who are we to judge that a truck driver is any less of a person than a Nobel laureate? Yet it is the unspoken truth, we are always competing and comparing our children. Step into a playground and you can hear the mothers, “Mine is 18 months and already potty trained!” “My baby has spoken her first word, and she is only 7 months!”

Do you really think your kids don’t hear you?  So early in life they are absorbing this competitive spirit, they are developing this need for approval and public admiration?

So no, I’m not a feminist; I am a woman, ordinary and proud of it. Ordinary to the world but so special to my family and you know what? That’s all that matters.