Some days I walk outside and I feel like I could take on anything. I am clearly the protagonist of my life. Nobody can be exactly like me! Or so I thought. Recently, I read a little book series called The Baby-sitters Club, and man I’ve sadly come to learn I’m not actually the persnickety hanger-on in other people’s otherwise wealthy lifestyle. That’s right: I’m the Mallory of my own existence.
You see, The Baby-sitters Club tells the story of four girls who run a babysitting business in idyllic Stoneybrook, Connecticut. One of the hallmarks of the series is that every reader can see themselves in one of the four main characters. Each of them is a bright star with hopes and dreams. They have conflicts with their parents. They dress in a certain way. They have rich backstories. And reading the children’s books, I realized: I have none of that. I’m just the annoying 10-year-old of my own life.
Mallory mostly serves to create conflict for the four main girls. She is a roadblock, an obstacle, a thorn in their side. She pines to be a member of the titular club. As a final insult, she is shipped off to boarding school for the final five books of the series—rarely to be heard from again. And when I really thought about it, I was like, yep, that’s definitely me.
Look, I know it’s nice to see yourself depicted in the media and I know representation is important, but realizing I am Mallory did not feel good. I’m completely defined by my relationships with others and my hair color. I’m Jackie’s friend from High School with red hair. I’m Mike’s annoying younger cousin with red hair. I’m that red-haired lady who caused that scene in that Denny’s that one time. Why can’t I be Jackie or Mike or the manager who heroically stopped the crazy lady from burning down the Denny’s?
I’m always the bridesmaid but never the bride. Seriously, I’ve been a bridesmaid 19 times. Kristy got to be a bridesmaid in her mom’s wedding ONE TIME and she learned more about her relationship with her family and got her first period! I haven’t learned anything at any wedding, and I get my period, like, all the time but no one seems to care.
So, what am I doing about it, you may ask? Oh, I’m not going to be passive anymore. I’m taking control. Tomorrow, I’m going to walk right up to my friends, look them in the eye, and ask them how things are going with their new boyfriend, and can I please, please, pretty please join their babysitting club.