Remember the mean kids on the blacktop at recess? The kids that look for the slightest tiny hair out of place.. the one thing that made a kid different than the rest…only to assign a rhyme to it and sing it out loud over and over again causing the kid, who only knew love and confidence from their parents, to run into the bathroom in tears.
We hate them. The finger pointers. It isn’t okay to pick someone apart and pick on them.. call them names. Right?
The media has become the finger pointers. This flashy entertainment magazine style ‘news’ (I cough) is causing clamming up in America.
NO more Clamming up America!
A candidate for president repeated the question for the audience. She used the exact words of the audience. Watching the entire segment, it is clear she used the words and then laughed with the audience at the connotation.
The media pounced on this issue and showed the segment over and over with out the repeating of the question. The candidate handled it perfectly- when asked about the situation 4 times in a press conference, she said in a relaxed voice, “You tell me to be funny, lighten up… I do and now I am psychoanalyzed.
When the buzzards are circling.. waiting for the slightest mistake… own it. Do not back down. Confidence and pushing individuality forward, without apology, makes the finger pointers lose their steam.
When I was 19 years old I went on a Mazatlan 1A train ride. I was super excited to got on a train to Mexico with 150 other college students. It was the hormone express and the first time a skinny 5-foot kid, I looked 12, ever got male attention. I had a great week and, yes, with a little alcohol involved I kissed a few boys with my mouth open.
Here is the part I hesitate to tell you. I was an abstinence girl. Yes, I was also Republican. (My parents were hippies, I had to rebel somehow) One of the boys I kissed, was really annoyed that I was not willing to ‘make his night’ so to speak. Of course, I did not admit my inexperience in that area, it was the 80’s and not cool- I just went back to my room.
When I got back to my room, my roommates were having a party. There was this super cutie named Jose Luis (local) who didn’t speak much English. (He knew words like hug me, kiss me, you are beautiful, I love you) Basically a RED FLAG to any bright eyed inexperience virgin from Sacramento.
There I was alone with this operator. I was romanced, I admit. My friends had left with their ‘dates’ to find darker corners. I finally admitted to Jose Luis my situation (I spoke Spanish.) He couldn’t believe it. An American girl? He actually bowed, kissed my hand, hugged me and left. Clearly holding me in a new esteem.
The next morning, I am getting ready to meet my friends. They had already left the room. I am wearing my dad’s long sleeve dress shirt (I slept in it.) There is a knock on the door. I open the door and there is Jose Luis with a red rose. I went to hug him and the door slammed shut. I am locked out.
I am in a dress shirt and nothing else. Luckily it is long. I walk with Jose Luis to get an extra key at the front desk so i can get back in. We are talking and he is holding my hand. (I should have told him to wait… whoops.)
Well. When we get in the elevator… who do you think is in the elevator? The Greek guy from the night before who I had kissed and left. He got REALLY mad as the elevator descended and called me a SLUT as he left the elevator.
Yikes. I realized how bad it looked.. oh well. What can I do? I know the truth.
The story doesn’t end there. The Greek Guy and his friends made up a song about me. The started singing it at the top of their lungs every time they saw me. It went something like this, “I kissed her in the elevator, she told me that she had to go, the next time that I saw her, she was with Pedro.” It gets worse…talking about sexual acts etc. Slut. Whore. Tease. All those horrible things that with my chastity, I certainly was not.
Why am I telling you this personal story? It hasn’t ended yet and you are still reading! There is a point and I am forcing myself the exposure and embarrassment I am experiencing, and maybe you too, reading this.
Imagine for a minute, a train full of 150 college students and 1/2 of them have learned the singing rhyme. For 8 hours it is all I heard. It became their drinking song. I was horrified. I was pointed at, laughed at.
Then my roommates learned I was a virgin. That in fact I had never had any contact with the body part they were singing about. We devised a plan. I went out into the hall and started singing the song with them. LOUDER and HAPPIER and I even created new lyrics. Some of the kids actually stopped singing… it really changed the way folks dealt with me. With me singing, it took all the wind out of their sails.
Meanwhile, my roommates found a few of their “guy” friends and explained the situation. TOld what really happened. Meanwhile, I am out there whooping it up- right there with them. The issue seemed to go away, almost immediately. No more singing, the guys told a few of their friends the real situation. Ah, they will pick on someone else.
In the line to get back into the United States. We are all standing there and the song starts again. Just a few people at first, then 138 people start singing. My roommates aren’t singing. Their dates are singing. And the guy who started the whole thing- is looking at me with this look of absolute sadness- he is not singing. He had been told what really happened and he felt horrible. He started trying to get everyone to stop singing- they wouldn’t.
He came up to me and said he was sorry. He offered me a bottle of tequila as a gift (Huh? I do not know why) I held it for a second and dropped it on the ground- with relish. Looking him in the eye. Everyone stopped singing. Shocked.
I walked around him. I sang LOUD…. I changed the lyrics to,
“I kissed him in the elevator. I told him that i had to go, the next time that I saw him, he was still BILBO!” (Everyone LAUGHED.. Bilbo is Bilbo Baggins a troll from the Hobbit.
I swallowed hard and sang my next verse, everyone listening. “He begged for what he wanted, I repeatedly said no, It is MY hymen and NO means NO!”
The entire room was shocked. They couldn’t believe what they had just heard. I cannot adequately describe what that moment felt like- the entire room shifted into apology.
I learned in that moment the power of the individual. No cowering. Face it. Be bold. Take the energy back, to use a California term. When we are so steeped in WHO WE ARE and we do not shy away from conflict, we shift the situation.
Politics are tough. Gore and Kerry lost because they shy-ed away from conflict. Imagine for a moment if John Kerry had looked in the television camera and said in an indignant conflict-oriented tone, “I am sorry I was shot in the wrong way. (said sarcastically) Let me tell you what it was like on the first day in Vietnam as a 19 year old kid who CHOSE to be there….. ” He would have made the Bush-ites look like 150-college kids on a train. We would not have had 8 more years of Bush.