“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone
who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are
yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You,
yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve
your love and affection.”
~ Buddha ~
DISCLAIMER: Today’s post is not funny. Well, maybe a little bit funny, but it’s in the interest of trying to make light of something I haven’t ever told anyone, not even Chef.
I think some of you might find this a bit shocking….but all through public school (and even for 2 years at an alternative school) I was bullied. Pretty bad.
I was called some very un-creative names, was peed on a couple of times, was excluded from parties that everyone else in my class was invited to. Had my house toilet-papered, had my stuff stolen. Got in fights, spent a lot of time in the principal’s office.
Even now, it’s pretty painful to try and remember all the stuff I went through.
And I suffered through it. I didn’t tell my mom or my dad or anybody because I thought that was how your friends treated you.
I THOUGHT THAT WAS NORMAL.
When I reached middle school and was getting death threats (I’m not kidding) in my locker because of the New Kids on the Block posters my locker-mate and I had up, I got my first inkling that maybe JUST MAYBE the stuff happening to me was not ok.
And that maybe I was doing something wrong.
I THOUGHT I WAS THE PROBLEM.
So I spent the next 10 years or so trying to fit in the mold. Growing up in an area where money is super important, it was hard. So to clarify, I spent the next 10 years being horribly awkward and weird. And not on purpose.
One night I was hanging out with my boyfriend at the time (my first serious boyfriend…at age 26) at some bar or another and he looked at me and said “Who are you?”
I was a little confused, seeing as how we’d been dating for 2 years at that point. Thought maybe he’d probably remember my name…but wasn’t sure. So I gave him my patented “deer in the headlights” look.
He grabbed me by the shoulders and said I was acting like a completely different person. He said it was like dating Jekyll and Hyde, only Hyde wasn’t a monster.
My “Hyde” was just trying too hard to be like everyone else.
He said it was a waste of time to try to be like everyone else because everyone else was boring, and I was like a peacock in a room full of swans. Yeah, the swans are pretty, but the peacock has that tail that’s not always on display.
With swans, what you see is what you get.
He said that for how awesome I was at home, in public I was a totally different person. He asked if I even liked who I was, either as Jekyll or as Hyde. Because he thought I didn’t need to be either, that being Mia was awesome enough.
I thought about it for a while, thought maybe he was just trying to get in my pants, and totally blew it off.
Then, I found that quote at the top of the post on kiss the groom. And promptly burst into tears, scaring the crap out of the dog, the cats, the ferret, the baby and Mille. Big, heart-breaking, ugly sobs. Was NOT PRETTY.
The long-ago boyfriend was right.
It’s taken me 20+ years to realize that I don’t really like myself. I don’t. I’ve looked in the mirror for as long as I can remember and always found some flaw. Some reason to not think that I am awesome and capable and funny and a great baker and a good mom and there has ALWAYS been a reason (or an EXCUSE) for me to hide in the corner at the party.
I’m still worried about being bullied.
As a result, I’m horribly socially awkward. I’m too worried that I’m not funny enough or thin enough or capable enough to have a conversation that I either over or under compensate. It’s the reason why I’m not allowed to have alcohol unless I have a chaperone. (I tend to WAY overcompensate when I’m drunk to try and hide the fact that I’m drunk. PS – that doesn’t work as well as I think it does.)
Now I’m not calling anyone out or blaming the kids I went to school with for my problems. I’m not saying that if I wasn’t teased and toilet-papered, that my life would be easier.
Because I’m not entirely sure it would be.
The whole point of this is to please be there for your kids when their attitude changes. Don’t just blame the sudden switch on hormones. Talk to your kids about what goes on in school, even up into high school and college.
Even with the new government regulations against bullying and discrimination, there are kids who are like I was, who will just take it because they don’t know any better.
Teach your kids to love themselves, because if you don’t, it’s not guaranteed that the school system will.
And a BIG KUDOS to Katie’s mom for supporting her daughter and not trying to force her to like Barbies or My Little Ponies. (Do kids even play with those anymore??)
ps – I’ll be funny tomorrow, I promise. I’ll talk about how much I hate Christmas shopping and the idiots that invented it or the time it took 5 adults 2 hours to put up a tent that one time we went camping.