We sat down tonight to make necklaces for Hopper and her friend she adores the most of all of her friends, JuJu. Her friend who we have plans to see this weekend. Her friend who she misses even though they go to the same school because they are in different classes and the other girls treat JuJu like a commodity.
We sat around the table beading, my heart breaking as Hopper told me how she tries to play with JuJu at school and other girls, one in particular these days, physically drags JuJu away. JuJu, the beautiful, soft, open hearted peacemaker doesn’t know how to use her voice. Hopper doesn’t play tug of war, she doesn’t pressure JuJu, she doesn’t insert herself into the drama. Instead she walks away hurt and confused and missing her friend.
While I texted JuJu’s mother to make arrangements. Hopper and I did and undid the necklaces a couple times until we found just the right pattern of colors – colors both JuJu and Hopper will love. Hopper picked out charms, an A for her (real) first name, a J for JuJu’s (real) first name.
I let JuJu’s mom know bits and pieces of what Hopper was telling me, and felt her heart breaking, too. She had no idea. I wanted to scoop them up in my arms, both her and JuJu.
Is this how it starts, is this how girls become property, on the playground, other girls dragging them too and fro? Sweet girls, like JuJu and my Hopper, who want calm and peace and don’t want to make fusses, so they go along to get along, to avoid the threats (both direct and assumed) of conflict, of ostracization, of not belonging.
What happens when they’re older and it’s their partners or boyfriends telling what they can and can’t do, what then?
It’s not too late. When I see JuJu’s mom this weekend, I’m going to rally. We’re going to take this on. I can’t let our girls suffer the loss of their friendship for this. I can’t let them continue to be victims of bullies – bullies who live in the bodies of 9 year old girls and who wear costumes of friendship… little wolves in sheeps clothing.