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Flashback Friday! (My Bully Still Hates Me)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin @ 9:05 AM
Friday, January 24, 2014

Most Fridays, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

This Blog was written in response to an “Open Call” on which called for writers to contact their old bullies, you know, through Facebook or Twitter or Ye Olde Bully Hotlyne, and interview them.

This was my entry:

I reached out to Mary over Facebook recently. I messaged her in a charming, “I’m over it, let’s move on,” kind of a way.

Of course she accepted my friend request, because she’s a professional singer and she needs the fans. But did she deign to respond to my message? Did she apologize for the years she tortured me in elementary school? Did she even acknowledge the anguish she and her goons caused me, so many moons ago?

No. She did not.

It is possible I am still holding a grudge.

Can you blame me? Mary is the primary reason why I got the hell out of Lafayette Elementary School the first chance I got. Oh, there were other reasons too, like the constant head lice, the sub-standard education (my fourth grade teacher once spelled ‘house’ “howse” on our blackboard), the large classes, and – oh yeah, the anti-Semitism…

(My mother insists that my 4th grade crush, Chris Q, once called me a “Kike,” but I’ll never believe her. How could he have done so?? He was so tall and cute, and his eyes were so blue!!)

But I was smart, and I would have been able to thrive with head lice in a large class taught by a stupid teacher while nursing a Hitler Youth crush.

But the bullying – that got to me.

Mary was the worst. Mary was in 6th grade when I was in 4th. She had the best (and loudest) singing voice in the school, and would always get cast as the lead in every musical. She was popular, pretty, and for some reason, she didn’t like me. She used to run after me with her girlfriends in close second position.

When they caught me, they’d call me names, tease me, and pull up my skirt or down, depending on the waistline (elastic or buttoned/zipped – you other bullied kids know what I’m talking about). I think she used to slap me and give me wedgies too, but lucky for me, my memory is awesome at erasing experiences with extreme pain and suffering, so who really knows.

Mary teased me because I was too tall, too skinny, too geeky, or maybe just because I cared too much about being liked. When I would cry to the guidance counselor, Mary would rush over and interrupt us, then proceed to argue very convincingly that I had instigated the whole thing, that I had been teasing and taunting them, that I was to blame.

Ugh. It’s not just in the movies where the teachers so dumb they don’t know which kid to believe.

Lucky for my self-esteem, my parents decided (and were financially able) to take me out of the DC public school system forever (which at the time was lorded over by our crack-smoking mayor Marion Barry, who did little between his hooker visits in lockup to avert the several drive-by shootings on and around our campus), and bring me to a private school where I could start over and reinvent myself.

Lucky for Mary, she grew up to be a semi-famous singer who wrote an off-Broadway play about head lice, starring an Academy Award winning actor.

Head lice. Some people are SO stuck in the past.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Rapt fans at one of Mary's concerts. But would they be so ecstatic to know she used to torture little girls two years young than her? Sadly... yes, they probably would be.

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