Bully

High school.  Senior year.  Everything was set.  Friend groups, cliques, who was cool, who was not.  The order of things was already in place.

I trusted you.  With my friendship, with my secrets, with my heart.  That must have made it so easy.

No warning; complete blindside.  One morning: silence.  From all three of you, simultaneously.  I was invisible.  I was not even worthy of an explanation.  I was now outside the circle.  I had no idea why.

I had to cover; save face.  I couldn’t react, not in public.  I cried in private instead.  I kept my head up.  Came to school every day.  Pretended I could cope.  Eventually, found a new order of things to exist in.

Little did I know you weren’t done yet; the silence was only the beginning.  Then came the side glances followed by whispers and laughter.  The prank calls.  The crude writing on the side of my car — at my work.  Eventually, it stopped.  But not until you’d left your mark.

It was one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me.  Damaged me then, damaged me later.

To this day, I still don’t know the reason why you did it.  I do know that I don’t trust women easily, even now.  I can count on one hand the number of female friends I have actually let in.  I am cautious with my heart, with my secrets, with my friendship.  I learned.

I learned to protect myself.  I learned to keep my head up.  I learned to rely solely on my own power of will that I could make it through the next hour.  The next day.  The next week.  I learned to be strong.

You did not break me.  You did not win.

What Do You Do?

What do you do — when your child is hurting, but you don’t know why, or how to help?

What do you do — when her eyes plead “help me“, but her mouth screams “GET AWAY! DON’T TALK TO ME! LEAVE ME ALONE!

What do you do — when the girl you carried is now taller and stronger than you may ever be?

What do you do — when your solutions fail you, when your words are not enough, when you feel like an impostor in maternal skin?

What do you do — when the path is unclear, when the road signs vanish, when you both are so lost and can’t find your way out?

Love.  You love.  That is what you do.  You love, and try, and fall, and get back up, and love, and try again.