In thinking about my daughter, I have been contemplating why I am so frightened of having what I am sure will be a lovely and delightful, if most likely strong-willed, little girl. My life experiences with women, with very few exceptions, have not been very good. And it started early.
When I was in fourth grade (nine years old?) the group of five girlfriends that I had had since 2nd grade, turned on me. One day at lunch, they gathered around me out in the far reaches of the playground, and collectively told me that they no longer wanted to be my friend, and that I was no longer allowed to play with them, ever. Then they ran away from me. The next several months were miserable for me, as I became incredibly solitary and quiet. The sight of people you thought were friends running away from you is not something I would wish on any child.
The next time it happened, I was in seventh grade (did anyone have a good experience in the purgatory called junior high?) and was part of a very popular clique (guess I didn’t learn in 4th grade). One day, all the girls in my social group collectively turned my picture around in their lockers, and pretended that I didn’t exist. Especially cruel, they did not take the picture down, but turned my face over, and left me there as a reminder of me being invisible. Not one person would even look at me, they walked by me, looked the other way, or better yet, right through me. Another year of misery and loneliness and a lot of crying. The lesson was better learned this time, and I became very careful about people, extremely mistrustful, and tried very hard not to offend anyone, about anything.
You might think these were just girlhood traumas, but I carry them deep with me. Friendships have been something I don’t really trust because of these two incidences, and thus have been neurotically careful about opening up to people, always afraid that there was something inherently wrong with me, that once new friends saw, they would leave too. This has carried over into my adult life, and I have very few, but very dear, close friends. So when it happened again, I thought I was going to die.
The year DFM and I got married, I worked for a company in Palo Alto, California, that I had been involved with from start-up. As the VP, I was able to travel to Europe on fabulous business trips, and oversaw the creative division of the company. It was a marvelous job that I loved, and the company was almost entirely run by women. It was there that I found a friend the likes of which I had never had. This was someone that was everything I ever wanted in a friend, and who, over the period of three years, I can to trust very deeply and implicitly. She was divorced and had two kids, but we had a lot in common aside from that- I really loved her. She was the matron-of-honor at my wedding, standing beside DFM and I as we took our vows. About three weeks after DFM and I returned from our honeymoon, I got a letter from her, telling me, in no uncertain terms, that she could not have me in her life anymore. No explanation, no way for me to ask why or what happened, just cut-off. Gone.
Looking back, there might have been things for me to notice had I not been so happy about finally marrying DFM, but they were subtle and I didn’t see it coming. The pain and sadness from this was astounding, and now, seven years later, it still is a tender and sore place inside. From this person, I did learn a lot about how to be a friend, and aside from the bizarre and astoundingly hurtful ending, I do have good memories of her.
So, ya think I’ve got some trust issues? Other than my husband, (the only person I completely trust), I have two friends. Both of them have been in my life, vis-a-vis family connections, since our youth. One lives in Colorado, and the other in California. The only other people I am free and open with are my family. Notice anything? Since they are family, they are tied to me with blood, and they cannot leave me, even if they want to.
So what will I do to help my daughter when some crappy “friend” crushed her little heart? I am not sure I have the self-control to be mature, and I know my heart will wither and die a little when it happens. The desire to crush the little snots will be strong! Boys don’t pull that kind of garbage- at least no boy I ever knew.
This is one of the things I fear for my daughter.