So tonight I find myself alone and in bed as usual and maybe I have had a little too much wine with my Lay's potato chips and chick flick.
I am not one to wax on all nostalgic about high school, ever. As High school for me was horribly traumatic. But for some reason these last few months I find myself thinking about it. And the fact that some people never really escape it. They will forever be the head cheerleader or the prom queen or the jock. Or maybe even the nerd. I have tried so hard to change the person I was then, the one who let people hurt me and use me and mistreat me. The one who never told what was happening, or the one who tried desperately to make friends at all costs. And most days I really think I have. But today I realised that maybe I have not changed near as much as I tell myself.
Today my son was playing in his weekly soccer game. And while I sat on the chilly ground holding my 3 yr old and cheering like mad for a bunch of 8-10 yr old kids, I happened to over hear a conversation that I wish I never had. A man I did not recognise as one of our regular soccer dads began to say some really rude things about my son and his playing skills. And while he shut up after my son made an extraordinary kick, I never said anything to him regarding the way he had spoken of my son. I quietly ate my rage and didn't make a sound. Never once even letting on that I was the boy in question's mom. And now I realise that I should have said something, because my rage and inability to stand up to this jerk cost me a video of my son making a beautiful soccer kick and a little piece of my dignity.
I tend to come across as a really big witch sometimes. But I guess really in the end I am no different now than I was then, which is apparently that I am incapable of taking up for myself or even my son. My silly fear of offending all of the other parents I have to see three times a week or that I would become so mad as to make a large scene was just silly. I told myself I was taking the high road, just as I have always tried to do. But really I suppose I am just spineless. I have spent the better part of my life getting knocked down, by one bully or another. And not once in all my years at school did I ever stand up for myself or even tell in most cases.
And just to give you an idea of what my experience was in high school I want you to picture the movies Never been Kissed (starring Drew Barrymore) and Carrie (starring Sissy Spacek) and then throw in every demented 80's comedy about the high school underdog. It was horrific to say the least. I was tortured for the way I spoke or dressed. I was tied to chairs , teased to the point of understanding why the Columbine shooters did what they did. I was the outcast and the reject. The one that if you spoke to me you were basically committing social suicide. So I did not really have any friends at all. I was also naive in that I believed people could look past what others thought and might see the real me, only to be humiliated in the middle of a crowded homeroom as the boy of my dreams informed me I would have to be crazy to think he really liked me and that I should have just known he was playing a joke on me. I spent so many nights in high school praying for a break and crying for what had already happened.
However I now see that what happens to us then shapes who we are now. And even though I did not jump up today and defend my son to that perfectly idiotic stranger, I am a better person for what has happened in my past and for taking the high road. Maybe it seems uncharacteristically weak for me but I was just so shocked that I could not find the right words.
And after the summer I have had, I have seen how some ladies never made it very far out of high school at all. I am glad for the fact I have changed enough to realise I do not need friends like that. Period. But also that maybe I do still need to work on standing up to jerks. Like I do in my dreams.
In my dreams I am a major force to be reckoned with, capable of laying the smack down on anyone who messes with me. I sometimes dream I am back in high school except this time I don't take any of the crap that flies my way, instead I find myself freakishly strong and quick witted. And while I find this dream always entertaining and empowering...I also know its unrealistic. So all I need now is a way to bridge the gap between hulk Mandie and super wuss. Maybe along the lines of Jerry the mouse, the perfect mix of quiet and cunning.
But hey we all need things to work on. And things to get over. These are mine. And maybe the next time someone insults my kid I will manage to say something tactful yet menacing. Or at the very least stick my tongue out when he is not looking. LOL.