Attack of the Bitches

A 7th grade science projects involving dog training results in one one girl bullying another, with long-term implications.

Girls Bullying GirlsI was a nice girl, a good girl. I followed the rules. I respected my elders. I was nice to others. I never skipped school, went to parties, smoked or drank. I thought that, for the most part, if I were nice to others, they would be nice to me. But, oh, then in the year of my 7th grade, I was schooled in how horrific girls could be to each other.

I will call her Hagatha. I’ve considered writing to her and letting her know I’m writing this. But really, I want to give her the chance to hear what I’ve had to live with for all these years. Make her realize, now that she has a daughter, what her words did to me. As is usually the case, she will probably wonder why I have held onto it all these years.

Here’s why: Because no matter how old you are, no matter WHO you are, what you say matters. Words hurt. Especially when they are spoken by a bitchy little girl who thinks she’s better than anyone else. But, I digress.

Let me start over.

I was in 7th grade. My adoptive mother had remarried and we had moved to a tiny little town called Edwardsburg, Mi. I loved this town — I could walk everywhere, I had a lot of friends, and people were really nice. I did well in school. In science class we were supposed to come up with science projects. I was thrilled.

I told my science teacher that I was going to do a project on dog behavior, a subject I was really familiar with, as I’d spent years studying it, and had a dog of my own. I could name and identify any dog breed presented to me. I was told I had to be more specific..and then something happened and how it happened, I’m not sure I could tell you.

Out of the blue, Hagatha showed up and said she’ll do the project with me. (Um, I don’t recall asking for any assistance.) So, henceforth, Hagatha and I are teamed up to do a project on Teaching An Old dog New Tricks. Meaning, I would take my “mutt” dog and see if he could go up against a “pedigreed” dog (who, honestly, was as stuck up as her owner) named Muffy or some dumb frou frou name like that, and we would see if my two-year-old dog (whose name was No Name, literally) could learn the same trick Hagatha would be teaching her one-year-old dog. You remember how it went with those school science experiments, with the hypothesis, etc.

I guess I should also say that up to this point, Hagatha and I didn’t run in the same circles. I found her a bit too high maintenance for my tastes. She was uppity, obsessed with clothes, hair and boys. She ran about school all giggly and air headed, and  when she was in the halls, she had a stupid smile on her face that you could tell was just to impress boys. Ugh, did not care for her, or her friends, one bit.

Now, don’t get me wrong, if any of them were to wave and say hi, I’d return the sentiment, but believe me, I was not for calling her up after school for a chat or weekend get together. And I’m sure my tomboyish ways and nature-loving self was a bit too “dirty” for her.

So, there we were, teamed up — and the project started. We had agreed how we’d do the training of our dogs: she would use rewards, I would not. We agreed on the same method to train the dogs, etc. Now, I cannot tell you the time span of this experiment, but somewhere shortly after it started, I got seriously ill with tonsillitis. Those of you who have had that, know how, when you’re a child, you have to have at least four re-occurrences of this before everyone around you wises up and finally removes the damn tonsils. Such was the case with me.

This altered my ability to “actively” participate with Hagatha on this project. I  called her up and told her what was going on and that we would have to write our final reports separately. We both agreed on who would write what. We hung up and life went on.

Well, somewhere along the line, Hagatha got all pissed off at me, and did that “freezing out” thing. You women know what I’m talking about. That shit where one girl decides you are the scum of the earth and makes other girls stop talking to you, and they all act like a you have some kind of flesh-eating disease and practically run from you — but they never tell you what’s wrong, even though you ask them.

Bully Girls

I’d had enough of that and called her up on the phone. She let loose with this tirade about how she had to do this whole project herself and she should just let me fail, but because she was such a good person she wouldn’t do that and I’d had better be grateful to her. I remember looking at the phone, incredulous, and wondering what she was talking about.

I had done what we’d agreed for the paper part. But she was mad, and she was yelling at me like she was my mother. I shrank under her anger and bitterness, and I submitted to her. I had done nothing wrong, but I slunk into that gym for our presentation as if I had. During the presentation, she was cordial enough but kept giving me dirty looks when other people weren’t around. I felt about an inch tall, and still didn’t know what went wrong. That science project and presentation ended, but her silent torment didn’t.

We were still in the same science class, so she took every opportunity to run me to the ground. When I would raise my hand and answer a question, she’d sigh as loudly and as obnoxiously as she could, and her friends would laugh. She’d make little snide comments when I was done, and then anytime I’d say anything she’d make a point to roll her eyes disgustedly.

It really pissed me off, but no one else around us said anything. The teacher never corrected her. He never addressed our little “tiff”, and I took this as a sign that she had told him her side of it, and he believed her. I kept out of her way for the rest of the school year, not because she was right, but because even that young, I knew she was not an honest person.

By the time we got into high school, we were not on each other’s radar at all.  In our senior year, she said something to me, trying to make nice, and I blew her off.

It wouldn’t be until years later that I’d realize that ONE girl had changed the way I would view and have relationships with other females. It was something so subconscious that I wouldn’t even be aware of it until a therapist pointed it out. The therapist said to me, “Mary, you don’t trust women. You are cautious of men, but you really don’t trust women.”

Up to that moment, I had not even been aware of it, but once I pondered it, I realized how blaringly clear it was. Horrifyingly, I then saw the way I treated other women had been changed as a result of my chastising by Hagatha. I didn’t trust females at all, and when one crossed me, look out, because I went after them, acting, voicing and posturing EXACTLY the way Hagatha had come after me. Once I realized this, I was horrified. I was probably out there blasting poor girls who, like me, didn’t deserve it, or at least didn’t deserve the venomous explosion I’d spewed all over them.

After my realization, I also saw how I never let any female get close to me. If it felt like we were getting too close, I’d take off and go find something else to do. Unfortunately, I sadly see that even now, as an adult, I have done the same thing.  I should also say, not all of this is probably on Hagatha, but it fell into and got mixed up with my feeling of abandonment by my birth mother and my emotional neglect-abuse by my adoptive mother.

As a result, all the other little bumps and bruises a female suffers as a normal part of growing up and interacting with other females, just got blown up and out of proportion when I was skewered by Hagatha.

Hagatha contacted me on Facebook a few months back, wanting to be my friend. I didn’t respond, because what I wanted to responded with was a video of me rolling on the floor laughing so hard, then getting up straight faced and saying: “No way in hell am I going to do that again.”

But there are a few good things that interaction has done for me:

One: I don’t play those girly drama games that are so often a part of female circles. I don’t participate in gossip and I don’t encourage it. If you gossip to me, you’d better be honest enough to already have said it the person you’re talking about.

Two: I don’t play mind games. Be real, be honest, or go find another friend. I don’t have time for that.

Three: If you’re going talk about me behind my back, you’d better tell me to my face. We may fight over it, but at least I know what you’re saying, and at least you’re brave enough to say it TO me.

Four: Don’t ask me anything unless you really want to hear the truth. I’d rather tell you the truth and work through your hurt feelings with you, then lie, lie, lie and then have to eventually explain WHY I lied AND still deal with your hurt feelings.

I pride myself on the fact that I can see something wrong with me and then do whatever I need to do to fix it. So, with this realization, I’ve been trying really hard to let that shell down that has guarded me from having real relationships with females.

I am proud to say that I currently have quite a few close relationships, and even though it gets hard, I am really working on not running away when things get too “touchy, feely.” As a result, I am surrounded by some amazing, strong, like-minded women who accept me for me (and all my quirks). They love and encourage me. And when I mess up, they GENTLY suggest a few personal shifts, rather than shower me with fire and then walk away.

I’m learning, I’m growing, and yep, I’m still human. It’s one of the best things to be.


Photo Credits

“Odd Girl Out” Metrohome

“Bully girls” www.sangrea.net/bully

Recent Mary Black Bonnet Articles:

  • Meeting Lady Liberty
  • Where I’ve Been
  • Do You Understand?
  • Ina’s Dilemma
  • The Wounded Knee Massacre

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