In my recent attempts to understand the culture of women, trust, anger, and fear, I have started to read Mean Girls All Grown Up by Hayley DiMarco. I have had it on my bookshelf for some time, but I have finally begun to approach it. I have started my study with it knowing that as a student, I was bullied. However, I was never the target of girls in my school as displayed by many nonfiction books (Queen Bees and Wanna Bee’s, Odd Girl Out, etc.) and in film, Mean Girls (based on QB&WB). I was actually bullied by boys in school, which creates an odd circumstance for now, where I navigate the waters of trust and authenticity in friendships and “enemiships” with women.
So far, I have found the book to be very interesting in how to scripturally deal with women in our lives who cause us hurt, mistrust, or anger through their actions or words. It is so often not about our action but our reaction that will cause us to be in pain. It is through our perpetuation of the negative attention that it will continue.
I find this was definitely the case in high school with my bullies. My reactions of tears or pleas for help just increased the fuel to their fire. In the end, it was graduation and a dedicated approach to ignoring their taunts well into college that enabled me to let go and encouraged them to stop.
I am so desperately saddened though, that we, in our adult years, even need books like this. I have this fictional notion of the way women should unite together, build each other up, and support one another that simply does not exist. Of course, in my close personal friendships, these things exist and thrive, but within a culture of greater “sisterhood”, I can’t seem to find unity.
Superchick has many amazing songs about being bullied, hurt, suffering, and various other adolescent and young adult type strife issues. But in particular, they have a song called High School. This song is the definition of what I have experienced lately. Somehow, some of us have never left the arena where we had to compete against things that are purely physical and/or materialistic. We continue, in our adulthood, to lift up ourselves through the abuse of others. It makes me so tremendously sad. In any efforts I have made to avoid these situations, it ends up appearing as I am something I am not. I cannot fully articulate what is perceived about me, I can only whisper, speak, and shout all of the things I am trying to be, regardless of their perception.
Sometimes it all feels more stressful than is worth. The vast amount of energy trying to define myself and my intentions to those who do not understand me seems so often moot. As a pleaser, I find myself digging a deeper and deeper whole trying to build a bridge that continues to be burnt down. At what point do I say to the arsonist, “enough. i have tried to please you, to understand you, to help you, to befriend you, and I have failed. I surrender.”
I am hoping that through this surrender that God will help me to see the value in letting go. Obviously not my best attribute but a very clear solution to my days, months, and years worth of trying to fix, when the solution is not to fix but to forget.