I originally wrote this post on a blog I no longer use. It was written on the 31st of October 2009, and I was probably crying,hugging a cup of tea and wearing nothing but my fluffy dressing gown when I wrote it, because that’s how I used to write. I have not edited this text in any way except to fix one typo. So now I take a deep breath and publish for the second time something I wrote which is laced with meaning and hope.
OK, I’m gonna start with a story and then launch into random but related crap:
The first time I tried to kill myself I was only ten years old. Not a joke. I tried to hang myself with a skipping rope (that part is a little funny…) but knots were not my strong point, a fact that saved my life. I had two skinned knees to explain to my mother, but I was alive to explain. Now I’m glad, back then I just got pushed into a deeper depression; I’d found something else I’m no good at…
I was very good at creative writing, very good at craft, at art, at singing, at maths, at science and at computer studies. None of those things mattered. They were barely ever encouraged. All that mattered to my teachers was that I had bad handwriting, and didn’t like sport. All that mattered to my peers was that I was bad at sport, spent a lot of time with the year one kids, and had no friends my own age. Children my age had been calling me “ugly” the entire time I was at school, even at preschool, and before that at childcare when I was three. I’d always had no friends my own age and been called ugly. I look at pictures now which were taken at the time, and that isnot an ugly little girl! But when you hear something so often, how can you help but think it’s true? I related this situation to fairy tales. The evil witch is always ugly, scary and mean. Good fairies, good witches and princesses are always beautiful. I “knew” in my heart that if I was ugly, I would live my life hated, because, after all, it’s not like I’m a man and my looks don’t matter… I even thought that maybe I was evil, which is why I’d turned out ugly. I “knew” nobody would ever love me, I’d never get married or have a family, men only want to marry the princess, not the warty old witch! It certainly didn’t help that for almost two years at this point I’d been getting the occasional pimple. I equated them with the witches’ warts and arrived at the conclusion that I was hideous and unlovable. Thank God for bad knots! I stood up, went inside and had a cry. About an hour later my mum made me a cup of tea and brought me a cupcake. I was glad I had my mum, but I didn’t feel any better for years.
I was twelve when a girl in my class at school said to me, “You’ll never get a boyfriend if you don’t act how boys want you to act!” I asked this eleven year old girl what that meant, and she said, “You need to wear shorter skirts, unbutton your skirt, stick your boobs out when you walk and wear lots of make up, like me.” I looked at her, saw Barbie, and felt sick in case it was true. I interrupt this post to bring you my list of things I see/hear about little girls doing that makes me sick:
- Wearing string bikinis (outside of dress-ups)
- Wearing high heel shoes (outside of dress-ups)
- Talking about kissing boys and making their friends who haven’t been kissed feel inferior (have seen this in four-year-olds)
- Calling each other ugly
- Calling each other sluts (have seen this with year two kids!)
- Using “bitch” as a term of endearment.
- Teasing friends who aren’t allowed to wear make-up
Anyway, I’m basically bothered in a big way by anything that makes out that girls and women aren’t allowed to be smart else nobody will love them, or if they’re pretty they must be stupid, or if they enjoy playing or watching sport they’re obviously gay. Other things which irritate me include the phrase “women and children”, indicating that women are somehow below men and need to be sheltered and protected, when people say “men and girls” when they mean “men and women” and being addressed as “bitch”EVER.
Also, I don’t like being asked, especially by men, why I don’t wear make-up. To those men I say, “You first!”. I shouldn’t have to remove every hair below my eyebrows, and some from my eyebrows, cover my face in goo and force my body into all kinds of painful contraptions because I was born with a vagina! Yes, I said “vagina”. I have one of those and a brain at the same time.
I was thirteen and really wanted to get a job as a trolley collector at Coles (please don’t laugh. I just really like shopping trolleys). I told my dad and he said, “I’ve noticed something about all the trolley girls in Maryborough; they’re all boys.” I then stopped talking to him completely for two weeks while mum and I looked around for trolley girls. We found several, I then spoke to dad to point this out to him and he said, without ever meeting those girls, “Yes, but they’re not smart! Most girls aren’t smart like you! You can get a nice inside job behind a cash register!” So, that’s what intelligent women have to aspire to, eh dad? Checkout chick. Great. Alert the Nobel people.
As a child I played with an equal mix of “boy” things and “girl” things; my Barbie really loved her monster truck. My dad drew the line, though, when I had my heart set on a skate board. He said they were only for boys and lesbians. He actually told his seven-year-old she couldn’t have a skateboard because he didn’t want her to turn gay. Yes dad. That’s what’ll do it. A skateboard.
I’ve still to this day never ridden a skateboard.
If anyone has similar stories to anything outlined above, I’d love to hear from you!
Signed with so much love,
The Pretty Kitty.