I grew up with boys. I had a brother 18 months younger than I and all my cousins were boys. When I started Drummond School there were two girls in my class – counting me, and eleven boys. By the time I was ten no tree was unable to be climbed, opinions were voiced and discarded with momentary loss of face and I thought that was the way life was supposed to be. Naturally I had to make adjustments when I realized my mates were creating strange ripples that definitely affected my ability to sit beside them on the bus. High school knocked away some of the ‘tell it like it is’. I don’t think I ever fully understood the manipulations of groups of girls and now, that I am on a committee surrounded by women who have obviously lived interesting and challenging lives, I find myself starting high school all over again. Someone on this committee has gone rogue. Did she? Is she? How could she? flies around the meeting room like missiles in the hands of children and as soon as the miscreant walks in – silence. I mean, really? It reminded me of meetings at work. A group of women would decide – this was it. Yes, definitely. We’ll go into that big meeting and this is what we’ll say. Hah! We’d enter, I’d open the salvo and silence. No back up from the bleachers because let’s face it, they had sent their envoy and if she got shot down it must’ve been a really dumb idea. Retirement brought pleasure at the thought of no more of this jockeying for position amongst the herd. But now I’m balancing old ideas with new and hearing the gnashing teeth of six women hell bent on something that has no middle ground. We forget that all life is conflict and it’s how we solve it that matters. Too many of us are full of angry words that are never allowed to hit their target. And at what cost? Spitting them out might give someone you know a bad day but keeping them in makes us smaller and angrier and afraid. It’s about time I think, I went out and climbed a tree.

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