It is strange how negative words can stay with us for a lifetime and hurt long after they are spoken. Today, I was reminded of a conversation I had way back in middle school. My friends and I were having a conversation about birth order statistics and how the oldest is often the smartest and most responsible in the family – which apparently was the case in all their families.
I mentioned how that hadn’t really happened in my family as I was the youngest and yet I was the one in the gifted program, the one who got straight A’s, and the one who was least likely to break the rules. My sister was very smart in her own ways, but not overly academic or intellectual.
One of my friends (or more likely a frenemy) replied, “Well, maybe your sister is the pretty one then.”
Before I could digest this insult or respond, one of my other friends chimed in assuring the group that my sister was no looker either, which made everyone laugh. I didn’t let on that I felt anything, but inside I was crushed. I felt ugly and I also felt bad that my friends had insulted and made fun of my sister.
To this day, remembering this conversation makes me feel ugly, plain, and rejected. I wish my friends had been more careful with their words.
I have to be careful how I word this post as there is a slight (but unlikely) chance the person I am talking about might read it. However, it has been weighing heavily on my mind so I wanted to talk about it.
There was a person in my personal life I was really close to for several years. I cared about them deeply and loved them like family. They were much younger than myself, so I tried to set a good example for them and be a sort of big sister to them. We spent much of our time together, partly out of necessity at the time and partly because I genuinely enjoyed their company.
Now they are all grown up and I am still in loose contact with them and seeing how they have turned out has kind of broken my heart. They have embraced some radical ideologies that are rude, ignorant, and sometimes bordering on mean or even cruel. I know I only had a real influence on them for a few years, but it still makes me feel like somehow I failed them that they have turned from such a thoughtful, sensitive, caring young person to a cold, bitter, angry, and sometimes hateful adult.
I still love them and know that goodness I knew inside of them must be there somewhere. I know they have had a rough life and many hurtful experiences, just as I had growing up. I wonder if I am being too hard on them. I know sometimes the other side goes way too far with political correctness, perhaps it is just a reactionary thing? Maybe they are just being young and foolish, like we all once were? I don’t know, but it still hurts my heart.
Sometimes I’ve worried about being so open about my own mental illnesses and specifically, my struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. There is a part of me that absolutely know that there are a few narrow-minded people who probably read my posts (if they even bother) and then feel superior or like there is something wrong with me because I have these struggles. Some of these people are even distantly related to me in one way or another. I can see them being gleefully smug, shaking their heads and thinking people like me make all this up for attention or just don’t want to be working members of society. I can hear the Fox News points they would reiterate right now.
So, knowing that is likely going on behind my back, why do I even bother? Because I want to be genuine and real. I want to be me. I want to be honest. I want to help others feel less alone. And I figure if those people mocking me weren’t too narcissistic or proud to seek help, a psychiatrist or psychologist would have a field day with them anyhow! After all, who is the worst person? The person that has real struggles and issues and admits to them and works on them, or the person who thinks they are better than everyone else and has to gossip behind other peoples’ backs to feel better about themselves?
The grass waves at me
but I don’t feel like
greeting it back.
Must be so simple
to just sway in the wind,
everything you have
the sun painted on your back.
It almost makes me glad
you’ll soon be mown down.
I hate bullying. I hated it when I was a kid and I still hate it as an adult. Over my short lifetime of 31 years, I have been bullied for many reasons, among them:
Physical looks (been called ugly, fat, big butt, butch, lesbian, etc)
Personal interests and personality (been called a nerd, geek, dork, retard, stupid, immature, crybaby, goody goody, weirdo, etc)
Social issues and awkwardness (probably due to my Asperger’s)
Being too liberal
Being too conservative
Being a Christian and believing in God
Not being the “right” kind of Christian or “Christian enough”
Being a woman who speaks her mind and is intelligent (which apparently means you are a “bitch” or are not feminine enough)
Of course, I know there is some argument about what constitutes actual bullying, but I consider bullying to be anything said or done to intentionally hurt another person or to just be plain mean.
Unfortunately, I have also been on the other side of bullying, especially when I was younger. I have called other people names, talked about them behind their back and stood by silently while others tormented a particular person. I am not proud to admit that, but it is the truth. One thing that has shocked me as I have gotten older though is how much bullying still occurs in the adult world. It happens at work, it happens in social circles, it happens in politics, it happens in tabloids and media, it even happens in churches! And of course we all know it happens on Facebook and other social media sites frequently – especially between family members.
So what can we do about the bullying plague? How do we raise kids who won’t bully when even adults act that way at 40 and 50 years old? The only true solution I can see is to change ourselves. If I stop bullying and you stop bullying and then others stop bullying…hopefully someday the problem will be eradicated…or at least greatly reduced. So think twice before you call someone a name or mock them cruelly. Maybe keep your mouth closed when you are tempted to cut someone down behind their back or spread a rumor. Stand up for someone who is being torn down for no real reason. Keep debates and arguments about the actual subject at hand and don’t start personally attacking someone just because their opinion is different than yours. If deep inside you know that you are purposefully being mean or hurting someone…just stop it. It really is that simple.
Do you love cartoons? I absolutely do. However, I think when most people think of cartoons they think of funny, silly stuff. What I love are the depressed, angry, grumpy, slightly emo characters…
Those like Eeyore, who walk around like they are on the verge of suicide, but are just too lazy to actually do it.
Wile E. Coyote who is so darn smart but seems to have really ticked off the powers that control nature and gravity. (I really wish I could see an episode where Wile catches that bird, roasts him and then tears him limb from limb with a fork and eats the stupid thing.)
Lucy, who likes to snatch the football away at the last minute and laugh, or Charlie Brown, who falls for the same trick over and over and then wonders what the heck is wrong with him.
Scar, who can look around and honestly say, “I am surrounded by idiots.”
Oscar the Grouch, who would rather live in a trashcan than share a house or apartment on a street where everyone is so dang HAPPY all the time.
Grumpy, who not only was cursed to be a stinking dwarf, but has to live his life with two guys named Dopey and Sneezy hanging around.
Garfield, who just wants to sleep and eat, but occasionally makes time for exercise by kicking Odie off the table.
Daria…whom most of you may have forgotten or never watched…but always represented the melancholy ideal for me.
Butters, who inevitably takes the blame for everything anyone ever does, and Kenny, who is always being slaughtered in one way or another (at least the constant killing never got him down for long).
Of course, this list could go on and on, but I think I got the general idea across. So do you relate to those who are downtrodden, grumpy and miserable too or do you love a different kind of cartoon character? Feel free to comment and leave your thoughts below!