MARCH 1, 2020: “Fight On Fighter” …

IMG_E9855FIGHT ON, FIGHTER!

I was there on the day that you were changed. You were scared and prepared for the heartbreak. Everything you knew faded out of view. Stole a piece of you. If I could, oh, I would be a hero. Be the one who would take all the arrows. Save you from the pain, carry all the weight. But I know that you’re brave. Fight on, fighter! Don’t let anyone steal your fire. Fight on, fighter! The Spirit is alive inside ya, yeah. There’s a part that you hold that you lock down. Let it breathe, give it wings, set it free now. Time to make ya walk, break the prison bars. Show them who you are. Fight on, fighter!  Don’t let anyone steal your fire. Fight on, fighter! The Spirit is alive inside ya, yeah. Stronger than you than you ever thought. I know you’re stronger. Braver than you were before. You know you’re braver. Oh, no, you don’t have to be afraid. Together we’ll face it. So don’t ever stop no matter what. ‘Cause you’re gonna make it. {for King & Country}

As you may know, long before August 22, 2019 when Zack turned our world upside down with the most egregious exit possible, Gia had been on a downward descent of her own for several years. Someday I will revisit in greater detail that sobering night in November 2018 when during a random a spot check of her phone after she’d gone to sleep, Zack walked into our room with a look of doom, dread, fear and panic on his face like nothing I’d ever seen: He’d found that she had searched “I don’t want to live anymore” and “I think I want to kill myself”. Our world came to a frozen halt.

Gia had been fighting an invisible darkness for so long, which will be revisited down the road. At the heart of the matter was depression, anxiety and PTSD from both the unsettled relationship with “Him” (real dad) and the fallout from the social ostracization His girlfriend and her daughter bestowed upon her. Girlfriend was the nursing student that befriended me the last week of second grade, and long story short, this highly skilled, calculated and manipulative woman truly had an agenda that is seeing it’s way to fruition even as I write this. They did a number Gia, which by the way, is still a source of unrest for her to this day, as not only is he still with her, he’s actually planning to marry her. 

Meanwhile, as I have said, her years at St. Mark’s were spent toggling on the in and  outskirts of a tribe of girls that only perpetuated her deepening depression. “The Squad”, as they called themselves, were (and still are) a cluster of girls banned together to bolster these abhorrent beliefs:

  • That being popular is the only “power” available to them.
  • That said “popularity and power” are directly linked to what society insinuates upon us all: “In order to be popular, and therefore powerful, you must be pretty, thin, the right color of skin, and oh yah, have LOTS of stuff!”
  • That the most desirable and valuable sources of the power they seek are the truly feminine attributes: “The more physically developed, naturally gifted, talented and intelligent another girl is, the more dangerous her threat”. 
  • That being mean, hateful and self-seeking are necessary evils in pursuit of “the power and position” within the hierarchy of their group.
  • That shunning, ostracizing, mocking, and humiliating any female whose naturally powerful attributes pose a threat to their own popularity, power by exposing, via comparison, their LACK of naturally powerful attributes, is the most effective way of reducing the other girl’s power.
  • Finally, that the “lower status” girls are typically the kindest ones, with the most effortless demeanors, and, therefore, most likely to just stand back and be trampled on by a pack of desperate loser TRASH.

LONG TALE VERY SHORT: Gia’s “Squad” could neither stand NOR tolerate her lingering presence, much less allow her to enjoy any security within the group, because her genuine likeability, kind heart, natural beauty, intelligence, effortless athleticism, more developed physique, and “affluence” by virtue of her family were threats to the popularity and power they so desperately craved amongst their bottom-feeding selves. THEY WERE JEALOUS FUCKING BITCHES WHO COULDN’T HANDLE MY DAUGHTER’S SHADOW SO THEY HAD TO FIND A WAY TO EVEN THE PLAYING FIELD BY LEVELING HER AT HER CORE!

Let me stop any of you who may be saying, “Oh, wow, that’s kind of harsh Cat, don’t you think? After all, they’re just young girls who don’t know any better.” NOPE! Wrong answer! BY THIS POINT IN THEIR LIVES THEY MOST CERTAINLY KNOW BETTER AND EXACTLY WHAT THEY’RE DOING! (And PS, many of their mothers actually support, if not instill these “do whatever you must to ascend to the top” mindsets into their daughter’s psyches from a very young age.

BACK TO MY POINT: Yesterday I finally got to the bottom of yet another thing that had been literally eating my daughter’s spirit alive. Turns out her extraordinarily beautiful heart, face and very physically developed physique had become more of a problem for “the Squad” than we’d suspected. You have not lived until you’ve seen your already broken daughter just staring at her plate and fighting her way through that psychological gauntlet that many of us fall prey to: “I’m fucking hungry, but maybe I shouldn’t eat this, because after all, I’m just a huge cow with gigantic legs.” That’s right people, turns out Gia has had a dragon of her own circling her fragile heart.

Luckily, Gia talks to me, some days more than others. Now that I think of it, both my kids talk to me, about everything, always, and eventually I always get to their truths. With each day that passes I’m learning more about the voices she’s been fighting inside her own mind, and as we talked through the conundrum she was having with her breakfast yesterday she finally spilled it  with these very sobering words:

Mom, the thing is, I hate the way I look. I hate my curves and hate being so tall. And Mom, I never told you this, but last summer when I was at a Squad sleepover we were upstairs and Taylor started making fun of how much bigger my legs were than hers. She said, ‘look everyone, two of my legs equals one of Gia’s!’ Then she pointed out how much bigger my legs were than EVERYONE’S and they ALL started laughing. THEN she started talking about my huge chest, and they started laughing even harder, and I felt like dying inside, and wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. They were supposed to be my friends Mom. And NO ONE stood up for me. I wanted to call you to come pick me up, but I didn’t. I HATE MY BODY MOM! Why DO my legs have to be so big? Maybe I just need to eat less. 

And there you have it! What a cruel, heartless, BITCH move for her to say that to my daughter, her “friend”. To imagine Gia surrounded by “her tribe”, the girls who were supposed to stand up for her, not only against the world, but against each other if necessary, in yet another “circle of abuse”. It was her very own “Day Of The Spic And Span“, AND IT WAS UNACCEPTABLE!

I was infuriated beyond comprehension at first, but quickly remembered that I needed to keep calm and control my reaction. So, I took a deep breathe, thought things out for a minute, and this was my response:

Gia, I hear and understand you. I have been where you are, and felt these same feelings, and I’m sorry that happened to you. It was unacceptable, BEYOND untrue, but damaging to you nonetheless. But going forward, if you are to rise above this, you CANNOT worry about other peoples’ opinions. Remember: What other people think of you is none of your business! Any cruel disregard for your heart, emotions and feelings is about THEM, not you, because in all their pathetic weakness those words are ALL they have to slay you with. THEY HURT YOU BECAUSE THEY FEAR YOU! And remember this: You’re a queen too my beautiful little girl – a lioness perched on a hill. You DO NOT and WILL NOT consider the opinions of pitiful, insignificant, irrelevant, herding sheep that laugh at you, mock you, or torment you just to gain power, because you are my daughter, and you are stronger and better than that. We can’t change the past, but we CAN change the future, so here’s what: Finish your breakfast, go get changed, let’s hit the gym today and do the work! Deal? 

And so with that, we WILL keep working towards our soul destinations. My daughter is that fighter who will “keep on fighting on”, because she is mine, and that’s what GOOD queens do. Goodnight everyone!