“They say you can’t turn a bad girl good, but once a good girl’s gone bad, she’s gone forever.” – Jay-Z, “Song Cry”
Five years ago, when I first used this quote for my former blog, I wrote about my relationships with the opposite sex, and pondered whether the adversities of the ones I’d met and dated left them bitter to any man. I was a “nice guy” then, and didn’t care too much about hearing about baggage, preferring to implicitly pontificate about letting all that go and giving a nice guy a chance. In my myopic view, I only saw these complaints as self-defeating, hallow, and trite. Even after witnessing the struggles my mother had with certain men in her life, I turned callous to some women’s predicaments.
Nowadays, after my experiences in education, I quickly grew to see the vile nature of relationships between boys and girls, and their older counterparts. The rampant “playing around,” teasing, and the lack of consequences on many parties’ ends develops into dangerous relationships in the future. People say that it makes girls stronger to deal with certain crap, but it makes them emotionally debilitated.
We need less of that.
I have a couple of girls in my class whose attitudes simply reek. For many, their auras give off poison and no one even wants to speak in their general direction, much less have conversation with them. One of them I’ve known for three years, and the other for two, and for both, there’s a sense that they’re both on a downward spiral into a place where there is no reproach for them. The sweet, hard-working girls I knew at glimpses of their lives became embroiled in mess after desensitizing mess. It pains me that they neither wish to have anyone reach out to them or have any real ambitions for anything besides making it to the next day.
Upon reflecting on this, and my long day with the two girls who’ve found tranquility in reading books in the back of my classroom (in my math class), I spotted one of them getting on the train. As a fellow teacher and I tried to encourage her in a setting where she had no one around her, she sounded (relatively) rational, and she had an even temper. She almost looked like the girl who I always believed was in there, but a big part of me saw that I wouldn’t get this version of her under normal circumstances.
It dawned on me then that at this stage in her life, she’s not receptive to anyone, even as they’re trying to help her. She respects our efforts, but she fully recognizes that the time and place she’s at now doesn’t fit with what I can provide as her teacher. Moments like this make me grimace as I type this. It’s not that she’s a bad girl or a good girl; it’s that she’s simply not ready, and when she is, she will.
Now, I think about the women who I once pontificated about, and am immediately humbled. Time and place are ingredients we don’t always have control over, and that’s what makes life bittersweet.
Mr. Vilson, whose chin gets checked whenever ego is involved …