In the spirit of program, I thought I’d do a little “If You Really Knew Me” post about me featuring never-before shared content about my personal life. Oooooh. Can you feel the tingle in the air? Here I go:
1. I hate long talks on the phone. If we’ve been talking awhile and become abrupt, it’s not because I don’t like you anymore. I’m just ready to pop my eardrums with a spork. On the other hand, I’ll talk your ear off in person. I’ve done it before, ask Van Gogh.
2. I firmly believe that U2 is, and forever will be, the greatest rock band of all time. They were a beacon of hope in the otherwise synthetic Eighties and continue to pump out great tunes. Dispute this and you will feel my wrath!
3. I was bullied in high school.
Now as badly as I’d like to discuss the incredible band that is U2, I’m going to talk about something else. That’s right – the telephone issue….
Kidding! I’m going to talk about the bullying. I won’t go into details. All I’ll say is it was minor compared to some of the things we’ve heard over the years. There was no made-for-tv movie or ‘very special episode’ on Oprah dealing with my experience. Regardless, it affected me. You know what?
It still does.
I’m no expert on the matter, but from what I’ve surmised there are three major issues kids have to deal with when they’re bullied: fear, lowered self-esteem, and anger.
The fear – Luckily, mine wasn’t too bad. I wondered what would be said or done next, but I didn’t fear for my life or worry about physical harm. I wish that were the case for everyone. It isn’t.
The lowered self esteem - Didn’t really happen. I hardly knew the perpetrators, so it didn't take much to realize it was more about them than about me. Having great parents was a big factor, too. They were terrific esteem builders who made home a soft place to land. That’s big during the teen years. Bullying can crush a spirit.
The emotions – For me it was sadness mixed with a lot of anger. I’m into my forties and still have times where I think about it, relive it. I can’t really say I’m still mad at them. I’ve chosen to forgive. But I did that more for me than them. Hate devours the soul. At the same time, it’s something I can’t forget. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. There are times when it all comes welling back – the feelings, everything. I wish I could say I’m totally over the ordeal. I hope someday I can....
BACK TO THE TV SHOW. Some of these kids have incredible stories. Others have ones that are incredibly ordinary: a struggle with weight, parents getting divorced, simple pressure to just fit in. Regardless of their issue’s magnitude or prevalence, everybody hurt.
To compound it all, some kids don’t have moms as cool as me. (And trust me, that’s not very cool. Right now I’m in a white, terry-cloth robe wearing slippers that look like bear claws. How stylish.) I’d love it if everyone had normal (albeit weird) moms. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Some moms, well… some moms just plain suck. Not “I don’t care if Rob Pattison is signing autographs at the QuikMart, grounded means grounded” kind of suck, but REALLY suck. They can’t take care of themselves, much less take care of their kids. Imagine facing a bully with that albatross around your neck. I bet it’s not much fun...
Don’t think the words spoken – be they loud jeers or quiet whispers – will evaporate as soon as they’re said. Words can hang in the air a long, long time. Some never disappear.
You don’t care, you might say? That person deserves it? I urge you to think twice. In all my years, I’ve heard many people say, “I wish I hadn’t said that. I wish I’d realized how juvenile I was.”
I’ve never heard anyone regret giving a compliment.
So tell me, how do you want to be viewed? How do you want to be remembered? Because people WILL remember, I guarantee that.
I know because I still do.
Congratulations! You just made it through an inspirational/preachy post low on knee-slapping humor. Allow me to reward you with that super adorable "Surprised Kitty" clip everyones cooing about :