Equal parts hurt, humiliated, and pissed off last week, I’ve been struggling to process something that you, Grown Man Who Called Me Fat While I Was Running, have probably already forgotten. As I ran my first lap around the park, something that I’ve been doing on a regular basis since September, I ran past your yard as I’ve done hundreds of times before. This time, however, as I rounded the turn and started to make my way past the playground full of families on a sunny, warm Sunday afternoon, I heard your voice loud and clear over the shouts and cries of the playground.
It must have been somewhere around the time I was in third grade — when the Disney Channel was something you had to pay for and my parents got it for us for a year — that I fell in love with The Mary Tyler Moore Show. With our Disney Channel subscription, I feel like we also got better cable and therefore access to channels like Nickelodeon, which turned into TV Land at night (the details are fuzzy and could be a story of revisionist history). Regardless of whether it was at night on Disney or at night on TV Land, I remember lying on the couch in our basement family room, waiting for The Mary Tyler Moore Show to come on.
There was something I just loved about it, and looking back, I think it was Mary Richards’ independent nature. My third grade teacher (also favorite teacher and the one who most inspired me to become an educator) was the first I’d had who wasn’t married. She lived in an apartment a few blocks away from my house, and something about Mary Richards reminded me of her. I imagined that her apartment looked just like the one where Mary lived: the 60s-style living room that was a few steps lower than the rest of the apartment surrounding it, a tiny kitchen where she made dinner for herself and a friend who, in my mind, looked exactly like Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper’s free-spirited character).
Over the years, I watched this show any time I saw that it was on. When I got a Hulu subscription a few months ago, I sat and watched seasons at a time. And that’s when it hit me.
Yesterday I wrote about how things need to change. Today I’m back to write about how some things never will (although they still need to). It’s tied in with Easter (to a degree)… and there are pictures. If you think my drawings are ridiculous at best now, you have to see my skills of an artist in second grade.
As my mom and I were decorating for Easter a few weeks ago, we discovered that one of our oldest decorations, a basket shaped like a rabbit that, for years, held eggs, had been damaged by stuff from our roof. Before we threw it out, we cleaned everything out of it. I love finding things from the past, things I’d forgotten all about or never remembered in the first place, so I was pretty pumped to find a letter that I’d written to the Easter Bunny when I was in second grade. Then I read the letter and thought to myself, “Wow. Our society is full of really awful people.” The letter was actually really sad.
I haven’t been good about updating frequently lately. I’m almost through week one of NaNoWriMo and I’m working on the new novel, so my time for blogging isn’t quite as abundant as it has been.
Today on Twitter, #tweetyour16yearoldself has been a trending topic. I was procrastinating earlier and decided to browse through some of them. Some of them were serious, some sarcastic, and some entertaining (my favorite was Lord Voldemort encouraging himself to choose Neville Longbottom instead). Earlier this week, something was really bothering me. Somehow, thinking about when I was sixteen made me think about it. It bothered me then. It bothered me when I was six. It bothered me when I was twenty-six. It’s bothered me for most of my life. It’s also something I don’t typically talk about with people because it makes me feel …. embarrassed? I don’t know if that’s the right word. It makes me feel something unfavorable. But right now I feel like talking about it. There’s no colorful ribbon you can wear for it. There’s no magnet to put on your car. But people need to be aware…….to think about what they say.
When I was in second grade, I remember standing on the playground and watching the kids play. It wasn’t that I couldn’t join them, it was that I was too shy to ask. I’d observed that some kind of weird second grade trend seemed to be for the girls to take the kickballs at recess and sit on them on the playground. One day, lucky enough to snag a kickball before we went outside, I, too, put my ball down on the ground and then sat on it.
“Hey, don’t do that!” yelled a boy in my class, snickering. “You’re too fat to sit on the ball.”
“Yeah,” his sidekick chimed in. “You’ll pop it.”
They laughed and pointed at me while other kids started to look on. Continue reading
Maybe you’ve noticed a lot of your Facebook friends advertising their Formspring accounts lately, especially if you’re friends with high school or college students. By my [completely unresearched] estimation, they seem to be the largest demographic. If you haven’t heard of Formspring and don’t know what it’s all about, suffice it to say that it’s a social media forum through which people ask each other questions. If you’d like a more thorough description of its services, feel free to check it out.
In an age where we have so many different resources available to ask people questions, I’m not totally sure why a service like this is even necessary. If you want to know what your friend’s favorite movie is, why not just ask in person? Ask on Facebook. Ask on Twitter. Ask on AIM. Pick up the phone and call or text. This seems to be billed as a “getting-to-know-you” kind of service, allowing people to ask questions in order to, well, get to know someone better. In that respect, it seems like Internet speed-dating. Remember back in the ’90s when everyone warned us not to meet up in “real life” with anyone we met in AOL chat rooms? Then all of a sudden online dating services started encouraging us to do just that. Did people suddenly become much more honest and trustworthy? Doubtful. But I digress. Formspring also advertises this site as a way for people to ask questions of their favorite authors and celebrities (something that many of them already do on Twitter. I see public figures advertising their Twitter accounts all the time. I’ve yet to see one advertise a Formspring). Continue reading