Sometimes as women, we take a lot more flak than we ever deserve to take. The other night, since my daughter was the district “Reading Bee Champ” for 2015, we were invited to Crowley ISD’s school board meeting so that they could honor her.
After the event, Ernie, the man who coordinated the statewide Reading Bee competition for Texas, spoke with my husband and me. He asked us where we grew up and what we did. (Well, he asked my husband what he did. I simply interjected what I did.)
It was becoming apparent that he had no interest in what I had to say or what I did and was, instead, very interested in my husband’s work and background, as he tuned me out and asked specifics about Michael’s job and specifics about where Michael went to high school.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if the next day when we went to Michael’s work Christmas party, if everything I said wasn’t “shushed” or ignored as I sat in the corner feeling like “Oh” from the movie Home. As mothers (specifically stay-at-home moms) we already struggle with losing our sense of self. So to finally have a few hours out with other adults and be ignored the entire time felt…demeaning. Sad.
The thing about me is that I genuinely enjoy other people-and I can’t stand to see another person suffer or think badly about themselves. Sadly, that’s considered a weakness. And not just by the corporate world.
So when I get attacked by another woman for the way I look, I am baffled. If I had 17 piercings and rainbow-colored hair with ironically short bangs, I’d be seen as someone who was deep and thoughtful. Yet, since I have none of those things, I’m seen as some vapid, shallow asshole, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Why do we do this to one another?
The truth is that I have been bullied at school my entire life. At one school it got so bad that it was actual harassment and I had to switch schools. I was called ugly on a daily basis, girls would whisper about me as I walked past and then yell something I’d said while mimicking my accent as I walked down the hallway. I got punched, pushed into lockers, chased across campus while a boy repeatedly called me a “faggot” among so many other things. So when someone insinuates that they know me or know what kind of woman I am within moments of meeting me or speaking to me, of course I’m insulted.
I will be scheduling pieces to run for the next two weeks and e-mailing all of you individually as to when your work will be published. We won’t be running any themes during this time period; but we will start back with themes by the end of January, when we re-open for submissions.
Right now I am open to suggestions–in fact, I kind of want to make a game or contest out of it. I’ll pick six themes for random weeks throughout February, March and April–and I will name that week after the person who thought of the theme.
So far, I’ve gotten one suggestion from Jamie Andrews: Fairy-tales.
E-mail me, DM or tweet me on Twitter at @sicklitmag or @kellycoody to make your suggestions for themed weeks.
Peace and love during your holiday season.
Kelly Fitzharris Coody