Mean Girls at Any Age

I was working on a blog post about the dark night of the soul but I put that serious subject on the back burner so I can vent a bit.

Better to vent with words than to do what my initial reaction was, that’s for sure.

OK, here’s the deets…

I planned to go to a turbo kickboxing class at my gym. It’s one of my faves cos it’s super cardio and focuses on core strength and I’ve got some FIERCE kicking ability from all those years of ballet training.

It starts at 9:30 a.m. which isn’t the most ideal time because I like to work out earlier and get it out of the way so my day is free. However, the instructor is awesome, so I make a point to attend her class.

I arrived at 9:10. There was a sort of loosely constructed line outside the Group X room as there was a spin class in progress. I was the third person in “line”. When it was time to go in, I made a beeline for the spot I like. The girl (in her 40s, not really a GIRL per se) put her bag down and I moved to the right of it. She said, “That’s my spot.” I said, “What?” Like I swear, I couldn’t believe she said what she said. She said, “I put my bag down for my friend. I’m right here” She pointed to where I was standing. I said to myself, ‘whatever” and moved a few inches to the right.

OK, wait, that’s not what pissed me off. Bear with me, the rest of the story is coming up…

As I moved ever so slightly to the right, ANOTHER girl (again, not a girl, prob in her late 30s) said to me, “You’re going to get kicked.” I assume she was referring to the part of the class in the title: kickboxing, but as it turns out, I believe it was more of a physical threat.

I said nothing but didn’t move. She then said in a really nasty tone, “I was here first, you need to move.”

OH NO SHE DINT.

wonder-woman-Oh-no-you-didnt.jpg

I could feel my hackles rising. GURL, you do not want to go there. Trust me.

As she was most definitely NOT THERE FIRST, I said, “No you really weren’t. I was here first.”

She proceeded with some blah blah blah bs crap about how she had put her stuff down (not true) and I said, “Are we back in high school?” and stood my ground. Literally.

She didn’t move and I didn’t move. Picture this. I’m 5ft and 92.4 pounds with all my clothes on, including shoes. She’s about 5’7″ and outweighs me by about 50-60 pounds. AT LEAST. I still wasn’t planning to move cos right is right and all that, you know? And why should I?

The girl on my left who had initially asked me to move cos she had “saved” a spot decided to chime in and join her friend in bullying me by lying and saying, “Yes, she was here first. You were messing around with being in my spot.”

OH FOR FUCKS SAKE, YOU STUPID BITCHES. They have no idea the level of rage I have stored up inside of me right now.

It’s kind of funny if you think about it.

When that thing inside me finally blows up, it’ll be like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey got married and the Mexico earthquakes were their babies.

There I was, one on either side of me. Entitled Southern California bitches who picked on the wrong chica.

I’ll back up and mention this is not the first time they’ve played these high school games, trying to intimidate me into moving. In fact, I had a discussion with the instructor about it a couple weeks ago, and she shared her own gym mean girl stories, so just letting y’all know this is a REAL THING.

What do you think I did? 

Kick the living shit out of her? Unleash my really really foul mouth full of nasty commentary?

Nope. Not this time, anyway.

I channeled my friend, the Dalai Lama, and simply picked up my workout gear and handbag, told her, “I’m not dealing with your neggy shit” and walked out of the room.

THEY LAUGHED AT ME AS I WALKED AWAY. THEY LAUGHED AT ME. Okie dokie. Noted. No worries. I got this. I almost stopped, turned around, and was going to give her a piece of my mind, but I thought to myself, I’m too old for this shit, and kept my self respect and a certain amount of Zen. She wasn’t worth my sarcasm or a stroke from rising blood pressure.

While it’s true that I got all dressed and ready to exercise and all that, the atmosphere was so hostile and negative that I wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway, as they throw shade constantly.

I left in order to diffuse the situation instead of igniting it further, which would have only been satisfying for a moment or two. I wasn’t about to demean myself by lowering my vibrations to her level.

What I did was to locate the manager and tell him why I left, declined to make a formal complaint, but gave him a description of who it was and he said he’d check her out ‘cos even without a formal complaint, if it happened again, he’d kick her ass out. And he would talk to the instructor, whom I told him was well aware of these specific mean girls and their nasty little girl games.

I was actually proud of myself for handling it in a non-violent manner especially since she was ITCHING for a fight. She just wasn’t worth it.

As a former ballet dancer, I am just as much in love with the mirror as anyone else, but I won’t engage in World War Three over it.

What would YOU have done?  

Before you reply, moving to another spot was not an option for me, because she was a bully and a liar and no one should be allowed to get away with that. At any age. And why should I do what she says? She’s certainly not the boss of me and she doesn’t work for 24 Hour Fitness in the capacity of policing the virtual floor space.

I’ll go to another class this evening where I won’t be attacked, but because I had that unexpected extra time, I felt like retail therapy was just what I needed, so I bought Angel Boy 2.0 the most adorable chair and boy doll for his next visit. Yes, it’s an elephant chair!! And the boy doll, while not anatomically correct (which is what I’d been looking for), sports working zippers and buttons and and other cool stuff.

IMG_3410

WHEW! I feel better now. Thanks for allowing me space to vent!

The macro view of this issue is that in this current world climate, people are generally not kind to one another; there’s an undercurrent of meanness and aggression and hostility by women toward other women that is really ugly and so sad to witness it and to also be the target of it. Yes, their behavior was atrocious, but what is equally as upsetting is the sheep mentality of those that were observing; not ONE person spoke up. Very much a sign of the times, I’m sad to report.

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Confession: I Was a Bully in Elementary School

1000-Voices-SpeakAlthough I wrote this post a while ago, it’s suitable for this month’s topic of Building from Bullying for the link up #1000 Speak for Compassion.


I Was a Bully in Elementary School

Well, sort of.

In the fifth grade at McCulloch Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan, I was accused of targeting another student in my class and being mean to her.

Back then, I wasn’t the assertive (read mouthy) b-yatch that I am now.

When another student pointed the finger at me and said I was the one who was spreading rumors and excluding another girl and generally being a total “mean girl”, I was pretty clueless.

I usually kept to myself; went to school, came home, attended my beloved ballet class which was all I really cared about, and never joined any of the “cliques”, not in any grade, even all the way through high school with the Frats or Greasers.

I mean, I was always the one who was made fun of ‘cos I wore glasses and for doing ballet and for my last name that rhymes with Frankenstein (I’ve heard that plenty of times), and because I was quiet and small and easy to push around (then, not now, that’s for sure).

I remember being sent to the principal’s office where I was subjected to a speech about how smart I was and how I shouldn’t use my quick wit to pick on other kids who didn’t have the same level of verbal skills that I had.

I tried to explain that I didn’t know what she was talking about and I don’t think I had done that for which I was being accused, but she mostly wanted to hear herself go on and on and when it was time for me to insert an apology and an “I won’t do it again”, I did.

I did and I shouldn’t have. I caved. It was pretty easy in those days to bully ME. I hated confrontations of any sort.

Not only did I not know how to stick up for myself, but the real bullies were the girls who falsely accused me.

I still don’t know why the real victim never told the truth about who her tormenters were.

I guess it was easier all around to paint me as the villain.

But I learned a valuable lesson or two from that incident.

Those feelings stayed with me all these years, and if I even ever thought that I was going to be mean to someone (less smart, less agile, less whatever) I thought of what the principal said to me, and not only did I hold my tongue and not be mean, I became an advocate for the less fortunate, those victims of circumstances beyond their control.

I stood up for the kids who were being ridiculed. I spoke out. I still do.

That clueless principal was deffo right about one thing; I do have a very sarcastic, witty side but I try not to use it to hurt, only to be funny.

Another life lesson that stayed with me to this day was to teach my son to have compassion; for the elderly, for the disadvantaged, for anyone mentally or physically challenged.

I told him that all his brains and academic accomplishments pale in comparison to being kind to those less advantaged than he is, and of course, to always love animals…and to defend himself vigorously if he was ever accused of something he didn’t do.

Bullying is horrible and should not be tolerated. I’m glad that I didn’t actually do it, ‘cos I’d be terribly ashamed of myself.

Oh, and the most important lesson I learned was to stick up for MYSELF.

Nobody’s EVER falsely accused me again, you can be sure of that!

#1000Speak

Confession: I Was a Bully in Elementary School

Well, sort of.

In the fifth grade at McCulloch Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan, I was accused of targeting another student in my class and being mean to her.

Back then, I wasn’t the assertive (read mouthy) b-yatch that I am now.

When another student pointed the finger at me and said I was the one who was spreading rumors and excluding another girl and generally being a total “mean girl”, I was pretty clueless.

I usually kept to myself; went to school, came home, attended my beloved ballet class which was all I really cared about, and never joined any of the “cliques”, not in any grade, even all the way through high school with the Frats or Greasers.

I mean, I was always the one who was made fun of ‘cos I wore glasses and for doing ballet and for my last name that rhymes with Frankenstein (I’ve heard that plenty of times), and because I was quiet and small and easy to push around (then, not now, that’s for sure).

What I remember is being sent to the principal’s office and I got a speech about how smart I was and how I should not use my quick wit to pick on other kids who didn’t have the same verbal skills I had.

I tried to explain that I didn’t know what she was talking about and I don’t think I had done that for which I was accused, but she mostly wanted to hear herself go on and on and when it was time for me to insert an apology and an “I won’t do it again”, I did.

Not only did I not know how to stick up for myself, the real bullies were the girls who falsely accused me. I still don’t know why the real victim never told the truth about who her tormenters were.

I guess it was easier all around to paint me as the villain.

What I did learn from that encounter stayed with me all these years, and if I even ever thought that I was going to be mean to someone (less smart, less agile, less whatever) I thought of what the principal said to me, and not only did I hold my tongue and not be mean, I became an advocate for the less fortunate, those victims of circumstances beyond their control.

I stood up for the kids who were being ridiculed. I spoke out. I still do.

She was def right about one thing; I do have a very sarcastic, witty side but I try not to use it to hurt, only to be funny.

Another life lesson that stayed with me to this day was to teach my son to have compassion; for the elderly, for the disadvantaged, for anyone mentally or physically challenged.

I told him that all his brains and academic accomplishments pale in comparison to being kind to those less advantaged than he is, and of course, to always love animals…and to defend himself vigorously if he was ever accused of something he didn’t do.

Bullying is horrible and should not be tolerated. I’m glad that I didn’t actually do it, ‘cos I’d be terribly ashamed of myself.

Polka dots and butterflies and mean girls

planets aligned

The planets may have been out of alignment for me today; things did not start out right.

Like I do most days, I went to the gym for an early morning Boot Camp class.  It turned out that a lot of the people from the prior weightlifting classindoor-fitness-boot-camp-classes-now-forming stayed for Boot Camp, so there was less available floor space for us to mark our territory with steps and risers, not to mention the mad feeding-frenzy dash for weights.

I have my favorite spot, just like everyone else does, and I saw that two very aggressive girls had taken “my” spot.

I like the right front corner location, which I figure eliminates people and their germs if no one is in front or to the right of me. And I like to be in front ‘cos I’m only 5ft tall.

Well, these girls had an attitude about sharing space.

I swear, if you were a mean girl in school you must never really outgrow it.

So, because I didn’t like the lay of the land and in order to avoid unnecessary confrontation, I left the gym. It was not going to be worth it to fight for a spot anywhere in the room as it was very crowded. It just was not meant to be, whatever.

I decided to do some grocery shopping and then headed over to the Nordstrom Rack.

I was minding my own business, looking for a new pair of white skinny jeans (which I didn’t find), and I strolled over to the sleepwear section cos I always like to have a couple of cute new sleepwear outfits for my tugboat man’s return.

I had just started exploring one of the racks, totally in a Zen mindset, not bothering anyone, in my own little world of polka dots and butterflies (which I got) and I heard a voice say,

“Do you ever give any thought to how your actions affect others?”

I looked around, thinking it was a random rhetorical question, did not know to whom it was directed or if it was just a philosophical thought I had overheard in someone’s conversation.

It registered in some part of my mind that the voice was attached to a giant-bellied post-menopausal gray-haired polyester-wearing troll. I thought to myself, “hmm, that was a very profound question for a shopping excursion.”

The next thing I knew, she bellowed, “Well, I’ll show YOU” and shoved the rack of clothes violently in my direction.

Oh, OK, I get it; a crazy person, a lunatic. Well, she WAS in the XL size which was to the left of the XS sizes where I was looking; perhaps that huge post-menopausal giant belly leached out all of the remaining estrogen from her body and caused her to have a lack of oxygen in her few remaining brain cells, because there was no way that I had interfered with her search for a pair of pajamas that could stretch wide enough to cover that fat ass.

No way at all.

Prior to that, I was in a very peaceful place– for me, shopping is a very serene occupation; feeling the texture of the fabric, enjoying the colors…so, what did I do?

butterfies

I did not take the bait and exchange ugly words because she would have been no match for me and my sharp wit, and although it would have been satisfying for her because she was obvs itching for a fight, I chose to continue to ignore her and found one of the many helpful Nordstrom employees and told her what the mean lady did and the manager guarded over me to make sure I continued to have a lovely experience.

Which I did.  Cute, right? The polka dots don’t show up very good, but it’s really pretty.

 

And since I did not work out at the gym, later in the day just before sunset, I walked to the beach and back from home (a six-mile round trip), stopped at Rite-Aid, bought a Elin Hilderbrand novel, summer people, and a 6-pack of Oreo Cookies for dinner.

It’s all about portion control…

oreo cookies