Hey, you. Guy in the sky. Are you there? Mom says I should pray to you and listen intently for a response.
So. OK. Here’s the deal. BL snapped my bra today as I was walking into school. He was waiting for me, and he did it in front of everybody. He laughed as I turned red and tried to not cry. He picks on me almost every day. Sixth grade is hard enough. Can you please put a pox on him? Not a lethal or fatal one, mind you–just one that would make him leave me alone?
Oh, and while you’re at it, could you please make JB notice me? I’ve had a crush on him since first grade, and I’m getting a little tired of waiting for him to notice me.
And, can you make the other kids stop teasing me as well? I know I am fat. I don’t need them to call me “Minnesota Fats” to remind me. Why did my parents have to name me after a state, anyway? I just know they love my brother better because they gave him a normal first name.
Minna. Who names their kid after a state? That’s just wrong. I get to hear all the derivations.
Minnesota. Minneapolis. Minnehaha. Minnie Mouse. Mini-Apple. Minnetonka.
Those are some of the nicer ones.
I like my sixth grade teacher, Mr. B., but I wish he hadn’t come up with the slogan, Winna with Minna. He went on a riff about it.
What do you call exercising with Minna? Slimma with Minna.
What do you call eating with Minna? Dinna with Minna.
What do you call wrestling with Minna? Pinna with Minna.
I don’t need to tell you, god, do I, what the other kids did with this?
What do you call breaking the law with Minna? Sinna with Minna.
Then, of course, there’s my last name. Hong. Hong Kong. Ching Chong Chinaman.
Then, the generic chink and jap. The pulling of the eyelids while screaming, “Slanty eyes.” Kids telling me to go back to where I came from. Why would they say that, god? I was born here, in MN. I don’t have anywhere to go back to.
Speaking of which, when are you going to answer my prayers and make me blond? I know, I know, it’s a big change, but you’re GOD. You created me. Therefore, you should be able to change the way I look, right? It’s such a small favor to ask in the grander scheme of things. My youth pastor told me that if god doesn’t answer my prayers, it’s because I am not praying hard enough. I pray the same prayer every night before I go to bed. How much more prayer will it take for you to listen?
Are you listening to me? I don’t think you are, if you’re even there. Why can’t you give me a sign–like turn my hair blond? Or make me a boy? Or make me skinny?
No? Ok, then how about this. Can you please make my parents stop fighting all the time? And, make my mom stop crying over my dad. Oh, and I would prefer not to be the recipient of her depression confessions, too. I don’t need to hear about my father’s shortcomings from her; I can see them well enough for myself. Oh, and can you make my dad not get so mad when he’s home? I don’t know why he’s so angry all the time, but I really wish he weren’t. All he does is shout or sit in stony silence when he’s home. Maybe it’s better that he stays out until all hours of the night.
While I have you on the line, do you think you could get the big kids down the street to stop picking on my brother? It’s not fair because there are two of them and only one of him. Plus, they are older and bigger than he is. They should know better, but they don’t. And, my parents aren’t doing anything about it.
Hm. What else? Could you maybe find me a friend in school that I can eat with every day? I hate lunchtime because no one ever wants to sit by me or talk to me. It would be nice not to have to be alone, even when I’m sitting next to the other kids.
It would be nice to have a friend to play with after school as well. I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I can’t seem to connect with the other kids. I don’t know their music or their TV shows or their movies. I don’t know anything about the things they think are important. What’s more, I don’t know how to go about knowing anything about what they think is important.
I’m lonely, god. It’s hard for me to get up every day. OK, that’s partly because I read until after midnight every night after carefully placing a towel under the crack of my door so my parents can’t see the light, but that’s not all there is to it.
Is this it? Is this all there is to life, god? Being alone, teased, and picked on? Watching my parents rip each other apart? Going through life with books as my only real friends?
If so, then I don’t want it, god. I don’t want this thing called life. You can take it back, god. You can take it back right now.
Are you there, god? It’s me, Minna.
I guess you’re not there, god. I don’t think you ever were.
*A riff on the title of a marvelous book by Judy Blume, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. Since I decided that I was twelve today, I channeled my inner Judy Blume and came up with this post.
Obviously, this post is an amalgamation of many things I felt as a young girl over a long period of time. I just chose to squish it together into one ‘prayer’.