I had always wanted to be a Girl Scout. In my earliest memories, I was wanting to join clubs, sports, and general extracurricular activities. (Except for the Science Fair. Screw them and their stupid board displays and judges!) And I clearly remember seeing the older girls in their green vests and sashes. One girl was working on a freakin' Ferris wheel made of straws! I am not kidding. There were all working on some cool project or chasing each other around the room. It looked like paradise to me. My eyes must have shone from beneath my crooked bangs.
However, no one would help my mother pay the dues. Which isn't much. Frankly, it should not have been a problem. But my interests led me to a dance group at church, choirs and playing basketball. These gave me some of my most cherished memories in life. In contrast, most of my schooling from this time is remembered as one long sitting session.
I was threatened by my father to move in with him. He claimed that if I did not immediately do so, that my brother would be asked instead and I would never be allowed to again. That had made me uncomfortable and even to a twelve-year-old, this sounded ridiculous. Foolishly, I overlooked my better instinct and trusted him to do no harm. Looking back, I feel that I was Red Riding Hood talking to the big, bad wolf. It's about as hopeless as yelling at the illustration in a fairy tale book, "Bitch-You about to be eaten!"
However, as the Yin and Yang will demonstrate, there is a little good within the bad. The spot of goodness from this experience was that I got to join the Girl Scouts. It was exciting! Something I had always wanted to do. I was a blossoming feminist and loved that programs that encouraged female empowerment. The bad was that our troop was not large. And I was the only teenager. And I did not get to go to many events or meetings due to the restriction of my narcissistic step-mom. But hey, at least I had the handbook and vest, right?
Well, this was until I made a lesbian friend and her and I messaged each other on Facebook. For whatever reason, I was not allowed to use the phone. I made the decision to call her while my parents were out anyway. We talked about four-wheelers and an activity called "muddin'," which I knew nothing about. Living under the tyranny of my parents, I very rarely was allowed to visit friends outside of school. My friend invited me to go out with the group to going riding and mudding. When my parents came home, I stayed on the phone. And why shouldn't I? I wasn't going to just hang up on her; I was doing nothing wrong.
That evening, I was called to the kitchen table by my step-mother. She outright asked if I was a lesbian. I felt dizzy. I had not told them anything about what has transpired between me and my friend. I realized that they had been reading through my Facebook messages.
I said that I was bisexual and my father and step-mother laughed at me, said I was "just horny," and went on this whole spiel about how they would maybe except me if I was a lesbian but would not since I had said I was bisexual. I was forbidden from going to anyone's houses now. Their justification was that if I was bisexual, I would just fuck anyone I was with.
Then my step-mother said snidely, "What if I were to tell the troop leader?" She said it as if it was something to be ashamed of. "What if they said, Sorry, this is a Christian organization and we don't trust perverts like you to be around little girls."
It hurt. I stopped caring altogether. Currently, I am looking for a troop to volunteer with. I love all of the great things that Girl Scouts does. And you know what? They are an open-minded community of progressive women who would have never turned me away. I mourn what I missed out on, but I celebrate what I was able to accomplish despite the abuse and the other erroneous shit that my parents threw at me.
In the end, the only thing my step-mother accomplished was to bully a trusting teenage girl and further alienate herself from ever finding true happiness. In short, I won.