“Who cares what anyone thinks?” Amy opened her locker and pulled out the registration form. “I’m telling you, it will look good on a college application.”
“It will look ridiculous. It’s for bimbos. A total waste of time.”
We were feeling fresh from a trip to Albany to defend a piece of mock legislation we’d drafted ourselves, something that would make it illegal to put children with physical or mental impairments in nursing homes without providing therapeutic support, an issue we were preternaturally passionate about at sixteen – and it passed. Five years later it would become part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but who knows, maybe we thought of it first, we were feeling that full of ourselves. Maybe too full. Good schools didn’t care about public school girls from dinky little Snowbelt towns. We had to work harder. We had to get out.
So I took the registration form. Filled it out, folded it up. “This is ridiculous,” I grumbled. Licked the stamp. Sent it off.
Fifty girls made the first cut. Fanned across a November stage, smiling and answering questions. Then twenty. Once a month, we were made to sing songs and give speeches, to pull slush-coated boots over summer stockings and write and act in commercials…there was even a press event at the city’s six-gate airport, a charity car wash, on and on like that until May. We smiled and answered questions about things that had nothing to do with college. Then ten. “If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for?” Five.
The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.
Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.
PO Box 27771
About Leigh Hopkins
Leigh Hopkins is a writer, speaker, and educator. In 2010, she left a career in social policy and education reform to move to Brazil. There, she launched a retreat center and founded Viva Institute by rigging a satellite dish to a boulder in a banana field.
You can read Leigh’s monthly column, “Secret Circus,” on bestselling-author Lidia Yuknavitch’s site, Corporeal Writing. Her essays have been published in Elephant Journal, ENTROPY Magazine, The Manifest-Station, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Viva Institute, and at LeighHereNow. Leigh lives in Philadelphia with her wife, a painter, and their jittery Jack Russell Terrier.