I was really hoping it wouldn’t come to this. But, you have made me do it. Today, for the first time, I saw a tiny crack in my little girl’s armor—a crack you caused, in the armor you have forced her to wear.
Since you don’t have a choice, I am going to tell you a very important story; one I had to tell my own daughter tonight thanks to you.
A long time ago there was a 13 year-old girl who lived in a not-so-nice house in the not-so-nice part of town. She wore the same outfit twice in one week and sometimes her shoes had holes in them. At lunch, she had to sit alone and read books. She wore the worst, thickest glasses and almost never smiled. You probably would never have noticed her. Unfortunately, Rhonda and Linda in her home room did notice her…and torture her…and make her life a living hell for all of high school.
Now, thirty years later, that nobody girl has a pretty awesome life. She actually spends her days trying to make people feel better. She does not miss the boyfriend she never had because she married her best friend in the world. Not only does she smile, she laughs– a lot. She now has the best clothes, the best shoes, and is surrounded by tons of people that love her. In fact, she sometimes prays for a minute to sit alone and read a book.
And yet, deep down, she is still that same scared, lonely girl that Rhonda and Linda tormented. Those mean girls almost ruined her life.
I will not let you do that to my daughter. She lives in a very nice house in a very nice part of town. She only wears the same outfits to torture her mother and the holes in her shoes were paid for…to torture her mother. Her glasses are the loudest, most noticeable things in the store and she wears them with pride. When she sits alone to read her books, it is not because she has to, it’s because she WANTS to.
Tonight she brushed off your words with such ease it broke my heart. She tells me that she is going to keep working and reading and not listening. That you don’t matter to her.
But, here is my problem. You do. Because even as she said those words, her shoulders slumped the littlest bit.
She has not asked anything of you. She does not want, need, nor expect your approval.
She is smart, and beautiful, and funny, and so talented. But do you know what the best thing about her is? She would not hurt a soul. As a matter of fact, I guarantee that if she saw one of you crying in the bathroom, she would put her books down and sit down on the floor next to you. Her arms around your shoulders would not be a sign that she was seeking your approval. They would be a sign that she doesn’t want to see ANYONE hurting.
When I was very green at doctoring and thought a bit too much of myself, a wise doctor said to me
“…they may never remember the hundreds of times you were nice, but they will never forget the one time you were mean.”
Those words are permanently engraved in my brain and I go to them several times a day when my tongue is about to get the better of me.
Please, read this story to your parents. I am pretty sure they are going to shake their heads and smile a little. They will feel badly. They will thank goodness that their own little girl is neither tormented nor the tormentor. If they knew how you behaved today, they would be ashamed of you.
I won’t tell if you won’t. Just promise me to end it right here. You don’t have to go out of your way to be nice to my M or any other girl you don’t find “worthy” of your time, just don’t be a mean girl—deep down, I know you are not.