My heart speeds up. I see a single bead of sweat start to fall down my cheek. Soon that bead of sweat will be a tear, but not quite yet. She is coming. I stand at the bus stop waiting to go to school and she is coming. I am in the 5th grade, alternately known as hell – thanks entirely to her. Today we are in for a special treat. Her mother is a nurse and she has stolen a needle from her. As she plunges it into the skin of my arm over and over and over again, I know I can’t do this anymore. So the next morning I force my little brother to walk to school with me, even though I have been told that I can not. It is not safe where we live. We walk under the freeway overpass where in the future weeks a drunken man will grab me by the ankle. We walk and we walk and we walk, morning after morning, because whatever dangers are out there, even the rapist they keep talking about on the radio, they don’t compare to the dangers that wait for me every morning at the bus stop. Nothing is more dangerous than her festering hatred, and I don’t even know how I earned it. Thank God that because of my parent’s divorce, I get to go to a different school next year. I hope I can make it that long.
5th grade sucked for me. Truly and to its core. There would be some other bad years, but nothing that compared to that one. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child and The Mr. and I went to find out the sex of our baby, I wanted desperately for it to be a boy because I knew first hand how hard this world is for girls, and sadly it is often other girls making it that way. We have two little girls. Last night the tween cried because the girl assigned to sit by her on the bus every day refuses to do so because she thinks the tween is “weird”. Ahhhh, the glory of Girls Against Girls. Sometimes I wonder, is there anything worse than being a teenage girl?
Girls Against Girls by Bonnie Burton is a nonfiction title from Zest Books that really challenges girls to think about why they do the things they do to one another and ways to end the cycle of girl against girl violence, which is primarily emotional and psychological but can get physical. We all know what they say about “cat fights”.
Don’t put words up in my mouth,
I didn’t steal your boyfriend”
Final thoughts: As my tween saw me reading this book she asked me, “We’re all the same, why would we be mean to each other?” Why indeed? (Man I love that girl!)
Bonnie Burton is part of the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club which I discussed earlier. Fun stuff.
Girl Power/Mean Girls Booklist
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
PBS has an empowering booklist for Middle School Girls
Macmillan’s list of Girl Power books
Leave a comment and be entered for your chance to win Girl in a Fix, Girl in a Funk, Girls Against Girls and Regine’s Book from Zest Books. Open to US Residents. Please don’t forget to leave an e-mail or @ for Twitter so I can contact you. Contest runs through Friday, November 23rd.