Monday Dare: I got your back, kid.

Every Monday, I’m picking from The List of Things to Do, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help, and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Project started, and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: Try to teach Cal a life lesson without using the word “asshole.”

My gift of serial awkwardness makes it tough to say the right words when it really counts. When the people I love are hurting, I’m often at a loss for words. So I say shit a lot and stomp around, just to let my loved ones know I got their back. 

It’s a lot harder to tell your 11-year-old you got her back when the offender is also 11 years old. Somehow, telling Cal to stand up to that trick-ass bitch just doesn’t seem appropriate. Actually, it’s probably pretty appropriate, but I’m working on this whole “be a lady” thing (as you can tell), so I’m thinking of other ways to convey my support and my love.

A bully has been bothering Cal. I’ll get real with you for a second here- when Cal isn’t around and I happen to think of this bully, I cry a lot and say words out loud like whorebag and asshole.

I know what it’s like to be the target of a mean girl. As a kid, I lived across the street from a girl who vacillated between acting like my best friend one minute and then taunting me the next. She believed in friendship tests. Every day, there was something new I had to do if I wanted to be her friend. I finally defied her and told her “no” when she wanted me to walk along the edge of my roof in the rain gutter. I wasn’t a smart kid, but I was pretty sure the gutters wouldn’t hold my weight, and I was going to plummet to the stone below. When I refused, she went home. For the rest of the time I lived on that street, I was the object of her ridicule and gossip.

A few years ago, I went back to my hometown in Texas. As I was exiting a parking garage, the ticket attendant asked if my name was Elizabeth. When I confirmed it, she pointed to herself and asked, “Don’t you remember me? I lived across the street from you as a kid.” She was genuinely happy to see me, as if we were old friends shooting the breeze. It seemed like she wanted to hug it out. I didn’t get out of my car.

She held up the line of cars as she told me about her two other jobs, her two kids, and her absent husband. You would think I would drive away in glee. Was I happy to see my bully, the one I had fantasized for years about stabbing in the eyes, just scraping by and haggard? Not really. Instead, I felt bad for her. Bad for her kids.

That’s the life lesson I want to teach Cal. Stand up for yourself, but don’t turn into a trick-ass bitch like your bully. Because one day, you might need her to make change for you in a parking garage.

Ever been bullied? How did you handle it? Thoughts on how to approach it with Cal?
image via wildemoon shop

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