the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

Wayback Machine Pt. 2!

Bee ButlerComment

Another post from 2010, this one a little closer to my current writing style. 
This is a sad story, but it's a very big deal.


Girls can be so incredibly horrible to each other.

When I was in sixth grade, I attended a Christian private school. I had two best friends, and we called ourselves ABC, because all of our first names started with As, and our last names started with A, then B, then C. We thought we were clever.

I spent that summer hanging out with friends, so ready to enter “middle school” even though I was just a sixth grader (my school included sixth grade in the building with 7th and 8th). When the first day came, I was overjoyed, spending time with my two friends, loving my classes. My only regret was that our classes didn’t really change... each class rotated classrooms. I had all my classes with the same 20-something kids. There were two other groups, and they rotated as well. My two friends got put in one together, and I was in one somewhat alone.

By homecoming that year (private school... pre-kindergarten through 12th grade... homecoming was a HUGE deal) I felt things were going really smoothly. But on that Friday afternoon, I found a note in my locker saying that my two best friends no longer liked me. They had written a “dictionary”, and each word was something that was wrong with me. They also informed me that they were going to tell people all my secrets, and that I was never allowed to talk to them again. It was signed by the leader of our threesome, Anna.

I have hated Anna since that day.

The rest of the fall semester continued in the same way. They talked behind my back, tripped me on purpose, wrote hurtful notes, spread rumors, and once Anny even accused me of slamming her into a door and hurting her after SHE had just done it to ME. I was too scared to report it, and she knew that, so she went in and told them what had happened in reverse. I got in a lot of trouble, and when I tried to tell my side I was reprimanded and asked what made me think they’d believe Anna would lie.

By the spring I was throwing up after every meal. I felt fat and ugly, two words used commonly to describe me by Anna and the clique of popular girls that ruled our grade. I tried everything. I used my mom’s makeup, I wore my hair the way they did with a ribbon in it. I tried everything. Eventually no one would sit with me at lunch, so I hid in the bathroom and cried/purged until it was time to go back to class.

My mother was the choir teacher at the school, and in class she punished a girl with detention for talking back and disrupting class. The girl’s parents gave a lot of money to the school. She went to the principal of the junior high and said my mother was harassing her and all of her friends went with her and agreed. The very same girls who were currently making my life a living hell. The principal informed my mother that she was not ALLOWED to punish the girl because of her family. She was fired at the end of the year.

By April I was down to less than 60 pounds (I was tiny to begin with, but a 12 year old should NOT weigh that little). My parents made the executive decision to move me back to my old elementary school. I flourished there, was popular, had tons of friends. I moved on to a new junior high in a different zone of our district because my parents felt I’d get a better education there.

In 8th grade, Anna moved to the same school.

The tormenting began again. The lies, the rumors. She had one of her friends threaten to kill me. She mocked me endlessly, hit me or tripped me or slapped me just hard enough to sting, but not enough to leave a mark. The last day before Christmas break while I was passing out presents, I discovered that she had turned my close group of friends against me. None of them accepted my presents, the ones I’d lovingly picked out and wrapped.

Anna made me miserable.

Freshman year I had art class with her (which was where, the previous year, she had started her rampage against me) again. She giggled and pointed and had the other girls in the class room in stitches with her stories of my pathetic past. All kinds of ridiculous rumors got spread.

My junior year, I left that school and moved to the high school in my own school zone, with the kids I’d originally gone to elementary school with. I had a great year after that.

Anna occasionally attempts to add me on Facebook. After several denied requests, I realized it would be smarter just to block her. And now, now that I’m stronger and wiser, if I were to run across Anna again, I could laugh at any bitchy remark she’d think to throw. I also wouldn’t hesitate to punch her right in her smug little mouth, and for that reason I make a point of hanging out with a different crowd than she does.

Her words caused so much damage in my life. I still struggle with an eating disorder today, although it I no longer purge. Somewhere in high school I discoverd that starving was easier, and its an urge I constantly have to fight.

I hate her for what she did to me. I want so badly to forgive her, and I’m working on it. But after all she put me through, I can’t seem to find the strength to completely let go.

Today I sang alto in chapel in front of most of the students at ACU. I felt great about my “performance”, if you can call it that, and my friends and acquaintances said I did a great job.

Then a thoughtless, insensitive remark was made on facebook by someone I used to be friends with about how horrible the female singers in chapel were today. How we both needed to take lessons from someone who knew what they were doing. How we ruined her experience and how impossible it was to sing along.

My heart ached.

I was devastated. Those words hit me like a ton of bricks.

My friends stood up for me and made it known that she shouldn’t say or write things like that unless she was a) prepared to deal with the backlash and b) capable of saying it to the face of the person she was bashing.

I am still angry with her.
My confidence is shakier in this moment than it was before she said it.

Girls are so incredibly cruel.
I vow to teach my daughter respect for her fellow woman, and I promise to watch what I say and do in regards to the feelings of others.

I just wish Anna’s mother had taught her the same lesson.

Check back for more soon.