Or, as you learned if you could get through even a single chapter of the Celestine Prophesy without your eyes bleeding from the horror of James Redfield’s writing: There are no coincidences.
Here I am, so excited to go to BlogHer Thursday. I’m thinking about all the great new connections I’m about to make, finally meeting women who have pushed me professionally, comforted me personally, cracked my sometimes self-pitying self daily for the past six months. I’m feeling good about myself, and my new camera which only takes picture of people’s asses. (Kidding! Geez.)
And then, an email comes addressed to Mom101.
The sender asks who I am and whether I actually went to the sleepaway camp I once mentioned here. This is the the place where I was able to survive eight consecutive weeks of twelve year-old mean girls and their twelve year-old mean girl shit. Where one particular girl who I’ve always remembered in great detail–I’ll call her Marni–took charge of the alpha tweens and made me the object of their annual summer game, Let’s See How Fast We Can Get the New Girl to Go Home.
If I’m not mistaken, there was money on the line.
Yes, I did go there. I remember the camp owners, Tashmoo versus Mohawk color war teams, and mean girls from the South Shore of Long Island. Who are you?
She is Marni’s sister.
It was as if all the memories came back and attacked me at once, like so many ninjas in bad action films. Shaving cream in the hair. Cruel songs with my name in it. Rumors spread at the boys’ camp across the lake. A chocolate cake shared with everyone but me until finally, at a counselor’s insistence, my slice was licked straight up the center by the birthday girl, handed back towards me, and oops, dropped on the cement mess hall floor. Denying a non-Jello dessert to a hungry camper was like denying oxygen to a lung transplant candidate.
I would have been very happy remaining at the gymnastics camp I had attended for four summers. It was my father’s dream to send me to a girl’s camp where I could learn the finer points of waterskiing and horseback riding and campfire songs about loving each other and staying friends friends friends forever la la la la la.
But I wasn’t like my bunkmates. I wasn’t rich, I didn’t get manicures, I didn’t own a pair of Esprit socks in every color. I didn’t even like Esprit, the nerve. I prefered to spend time with the few campers from France than the ones from Long Island. I gravitated to arts and crafts and dance, instead of tennis. I still remember the girls were shocked, shocked that I had never wielded a racket before. After all, some of them had grown up with courts in their backyards.
No doubt I projected an outsider vibe–I was only months away from discovering black lipstick. But still, I didn’t invite the torment that continues to haunt me, just a little, to this day.
After my brief and pleasant email exchange last night with the sister (who I had always recalled as a lovely girl and funny to boot–two traits I like in a gal), three scenarios occurred to me:
1)Marni would send word through her sister that yes, she remembers me, and no, we weren’t the best of friends, while secretly thinking, ugh, that freak? With the frizzy hair? Good lord, she has a blog? I should have suspected as much.
2)Marni would tell her sister horrible things about me which the sister would report back, and all the feelings of twelve-year old inadequacy would fill me again.
3)Marni would send word through her sister that she’s felt terrible for more than two decades and would love to apologize. We’d eventually meet for a drink, confess the sins of our youth, laugh about the past, talk about our kids and promise to stay in touch which we never do.
What never occurred to me was 4)
Hi Liz. Ok so Marni says she remembers your name but nothing else.
Kristen and I discussed the incident and she summed it up in such a funny, astute way, as readers of hers won’t be surprised to hear. She said: If I was a bully I’d repress everything else too. Otherwise my guilt would drive me to drink.
While I moved on years ago, for some reason my chest feels just a little lighter today. And it’s not that my boobs are smaller either.
[find great comments on this post here. One day I’ll figure out how to get them to import over here!)