When I was in 6th grade, assumingely like most kids at that age, I was horribly bullied. I was scared to go to school. I was awkward with bangs and braces and my awkward stage lasted far longer than most. I was chased home while kids threw rocks at me and I ate my lunch in bathroom stalls so I didn’t have to be around the mean girls. You know the type; the ones that had their boobs show up at 12 and were pretty and glowed up far too prematurely.
Nearing the end of the year, I was elated to have one of them seemingly befriend me. She came over to my house and I did everything I could to please her. Just to make her like me. And it seemed to work. For about 2 weeks, I sat with these girls at lunch. Traded notes with jelly pens during class. They told me what to wear the next day to school so we’d all match. We even had matching screennames. If anyone makes fun of me for this I’ll find you: Luvthatcutie05.... I know..... Moving on. They all welcomed me because it only took one girl to get you to that elite, royal group. I felt like things were going to be okay. I wasn’t chased home. I was talked to by the popular boys. I was on cloud nine. Couldn’t tell me anything. Until it ended.
One of the girls in the group told the one that was my “friend” that I was talking about her behind her back, and then shit spiraled. I was ostracized. I was heartbroken. What did I do!? I certainly didn’t do what they said, as I knew I had to walk on eggshells to not get “kicked out” of my new scenic view up top. I was devastated. The bullying picked back up. Drastically. They poured milk into my locker. They made me cry in classes and then made even more fun of me for crying. I didn’t understand. I never wanted to go to school. I held it back and held it in from my parents because it would’ve just made it worse if mom and dad came to school. No thanks.
The emotional pain never really goes away but in turn it yields resiliency. I also figured it out and it took me about 15 years to do so. That girl that told “my friend” that, was originally her best friend. And then bam, there’s Sam. A new girl. A threat. Seemingly stole her from her in the eyes of a 13 year old girl. I took her shine. So she demolished and eradicated mine. Real hard. Putting down others to make you feel better about yourself is the most fucked up concept, and sadly, decades later, it’s still the way life is.
I wrote this for the women. The strong, tenacious and unrelentingly confident women that don’t need to put down other women to get ahead. As I’ve stated in a prior blog, social media has immense advantages (connections, marketing, friendships), but there are obviously disadvantages. Especially when you’re a woman, and a passionate sports fan.
Basketball is a huge part of my life. Obviously. It’s been imbedded into my lifestyle and into my arm 🙃. It’s a religion. It’s gotten me through the hardest parts of my life. Like the bullying. Deaths. Breakups. Every thing I go through that’s trying and difficult, I know that at least I’ll find solace and consolation in the Celtics and basketball. I’ve had the pleasure in meeting so many genuinely passionate fans like me through social media. From all over the world. I have built relationships with people I can’t imagine my life without, because of “NBA Twitter” and my predominantly Celtics / basketball “themed” Instagram. They share the same immeasurable and extensive love of basketball, for differentiating reasons. But nonetheless, they can empathize with me. And that’s vastly unifying.
Then there’s the other side. I appreciate that I’ve been able to grow my social media to a relatively large audience so I in turn can utilize it for good. No point in having so many followers unless I didn’t take positive advantage of it, right? For instance, I couldn’t have created Boston Speaks and hosted an entire basketball day camp for children with special needs, without having attained the resources found in those followers. But with a large audience, yields hateful people, too.
If I had a dollar for every time I tweeted a basketball opinion and was told to go to the kitchen, I would’ve been able to retire a decade ago. Being a woman sports fan, you’re automatically deduced to a lesser level of knowledge in the sport you’re a fan of; solely because you have a vagina. It’s lovely. Some “men” can’t handle the fact that a woman might maybe know what she’s talking about, or maybe even more than you about sports. It’s pathetic, disgusting and concerning. It’s not cool to be a sexist, chauvinistic asshole. Don’t be like the oompa loompa in the White House.
Let’s come full circle here. As I tend to go off on tangents, so I appreciate your willingness to stick with me through them; as I promise to always find a way back 😅
Any attempts you make to diminish someone’s shine, I promise you, will only diminish yours. Those “popular” girls in 6th grade are all 3 kids deep with several different men as the fathers. And as much as I want to be like, “haha karma”, I can’t. I wish them the best, because I am a woman too. And I understand what it’s like. How society sets us up to get ahead in this world. How we have to use our bodies to sell things and get things we want. How we have to look a certain way to get out of getting a ticket. How we have to adhere to unrealistic, genetically modified body types to be able to attain that “Kardashian life” that looks so glam and perfect. I understand. That’s why we have to support each other. Whole heartedly and genuinely. I wish that all women were as deeply kind as they are when they’re drunk in a bar bathroom. Omg yes, girl, I love your skirt and you’re killing it.
If men and society are going to put us down, the least we can do is support each other. No competition. We’re all in this shit together. Be the kind of woman that fixes another woman’s crown without telling anyone it was crooked. It’s sadly far easier to spread hate in this world than love. It’s a lazy concept though. It sounds so cliche, but right now, more than ever this is what the world desperately needs. Unity. Love. Compassion.