Today, a short boy wearing an Ed Hardy t-shirt called you Godzilla. The hallway was empty except for you and your friend and him and his friend. As you passed each other, he gave you the quintessential “that girl could rampage Tokyo” look. You ignored him and continued on, but then he said it.
“I didn’t know we went to school with Godzilla.”
Looking back on it, that is 100% pure comedic gold: the short boy calling the tall girl Godzilla because of his obvious size insecurities. If you enjoyed public confrontation, if you were more of an extrovert, and if this was the first time you’d heard something like that, you’d probably have turned around and destroyed that kid with your atomic breath. But you don’t, you’re not, and it wasn’t.
In fact, this wasn’t even remotely the first time something like this has happened. You’ve never been one of those kids who gets picked on mercilessly by everyone–let’s face it, you’re too intimidating for that–but being a six-foot-tall, 200-pound, poorly-dressed, socially-awkward girl doesn’t help you stay under the radar. Oh, and the lazy eye. There’s always some random stranger around to remind you that your eyes don’t look in the same direction and ha ha ha isn’t that so strange and do you have weird peripheral lizard-vision?
Before Ed Hardy kid, there were the older boys at that sports awards who turned around in their seats and asked you where you were from, and when you said “Wanamaker,” they mimicked you in accents so strong it was as if they thought you came from Deliverance instead of Central Indiana. Then there were the girls on the bus who looked at your basketball shorts and t-shirt and asked if you wore those clothes every day, or if you had more than one pair. And there were so many more after that. The kids who said you were only on the basketball team because you were tall. Your teammates who said you were only on the basketball team because you were tall. The kids who acted like you couldn’t see them because of your eye. That one guy who crept behind you at the concession stand and tried to pick you up, because the first thing you do when you see a big girl is try to lift her. The kid on the bus who said your voice was too deep for a girl. Then, of course, there were all the times a boy came up to you and said their friend liked you, and then their friend freaked out because they actually didn’t, and then everyone had a big ol’ laugh about it because who in their right minds would want to be your boyfriend?
The worst part about all of this is not knowing where or when or how someone is going to strike. It’s like the universe dropped you in the middle of a battlefield but forgot to give you a weapon.
Let me tell you something about that. Come closer. (Yes, I know you don’t like people in your space, but I’m you and I still don’t like that, so come closer anyway.) Listen to me.
In a few years, you’re going to find out that all those things that people made fun of you for–your size, your voice, and yes, even your eye–are going to be what set you apart. When you go to compete for that full-ride scholarship to college, the board of professors judging you aren’t going to see Godzilla Girl and her Fantastic Flooding Jeans. They’re just going to see your head above all the other girls (and most of the guys) in the room. They’ll know who you are before you ever open your mouth.
People around campus may not know your name, but they’ll recognize you by the way you walk–back straight, chin up, legs fully extended, so it’s perfectly clear that you won’t be held responsible for injuries suffered by those who cross your path.
You’ll actually end up doing a voiceover for the school website. Suck it, kid from the bus.
Oh, and the eye–you get the eye fixed. Sort of. Don’t worry about it. You’ll love your glasses. Just be glad that you can see, okay?
I’m sorry to say you’ll never quite believe people when they tell you that you look nice, or that your smile is pretty, etc, etc, but most of the time you just won’t care. Like 99% of the time you won’t care. It’s actually really great, not caring about that stuff. Leaves you more room to care about things that matter, like when the latest season of Parks & Recwill be on Netflix.
Look. Things are never going to be totally smooth sailing. There is no mystical land over the rainbow, no social position you can be in where people won’t judge you or criticize you or generally be jerks to you. But you can choose what judgment and criticism to accept, and who to accept it from.
And once you realize that, it’s kind of like finding out you had a battle axe all along.
P.S. You’re thinking about trying to get a book published. BEST IDEA YOU’VE EVER HAD. A++++++
I pledge to take a stand against bullying each and every day. #OneVoice