Bullying. It's such a strong, ugly word, isn't it? I personally am not mad at those who picked on me. And I definitely will never divulge those who did it to me. At least not on here. Obviously something was going on with them. I feel bad for them. But I don't feel bad for myself. I made it through just fine.
But it was hard. Seeing your name written on the chalk board with mean words. Groups of kids and teenagers surrounding you every morning, chanting mean things. And my personal favorite- someone must've decided freckles were not beautiful. Because boy, they had me convinced. And after hearing it so long, doesn't that mean it's gotta be true?
I remember spending the majority of my school years covering up my face with thick bangs. Hiding. I remember being approached in the bathroom and being asked (in different words), why I was so ugly. And I remember feeling so damn ugly.
And then I'd go home, stuff it down deep so no one would know, and think of excuses to tell my mother, as to why I could'nt go to school the next day.
I remember playing kickball, and rounding second base, just to be tripped by someone. I remember skidding across the dirt. I remember the laughing & the embarrassment. I remember the bleeding. I also remember getting to my feet, making my fist into a ball, and knocking this person to the ground.
She never bothered me again.
But I don't remember just the bad. I remember wonderful things, too.
I remember my mother. I remember rushing home, opening the door, and knowing that my mother would take me into her arms and hold me close and tell me she was so happy I was home. Then she'd kiss my forehead, smile into my face, and ask me how my day was. And then she'd listen as she peeled potatoes. I remember thinking if I could just make it home, everything would be okay. Our home was safe. I wasn't a loser there. I was loved and worth something. Good thing my mother had no idea. She would've turned that school upside down. Did I mention I have a superwoman for a mom? Yea. I do.
I remember certain friends. Friends that accepted me no matter what the newest rumor was. Or no matter how many people whispered mean things. I remember a very special friend. She was new. We had exchanged a few words, and afterwards, I overheard people whispering to her not to be my friend, giving her reasons to join them in being mean to me. And I remember watching her walk away from them, and I cringed as she approached me. I started to tell her she didn't have to be my friend, but she cut me off & said "I don't care about that", and then she walked with me to class. I loved her from that moment forward, and she's been my best friend ever since. And I will always be grateful for her. I love you, Jess. You saved me.
So here I am. And you know what? I'm a better person. I'm a better mother. I'm a better wife. A better friend. I can look at that picture up there and love myself. So, thank you, bullies.You made me who I am. And someday, everything will be clear to you. The tears you caused, the sadness. You made it really hard for an innocent, BEAUTIFUL young girl. That's right. I was beautiful.
I have my own family now. I have a daughter who doesn't care that I'm imperfect. She doesn't have any clue what I went through as a little girl. And if she did, I'm sure she'd wrap her 2 year old arms around me and say "You're beautiful, mommy".
I have a son who can't wait to see me in the morning. He loves my face. And I love that.
I have a husband who loves my freckles. Who loves the gap in my teeth, and the weird, unruly red hair that comes out in the sun. He doesn't care that it's not perfect. Or that I'm not perfect. He loves me. He loves ME.
So in the words of Taylor Swift, "Someday, I"ll be living in a big old city.
And all you're ever gonna be is mean.
Someday, I'll be big enough so you can't hit me.
And all you're ever gonna be is mean."
And tonight, after I post this, I'll turn the computer off. I'll take my two beautiful children in my arms, tell them I love them, and then I'll tickle them until they cry in laughter. And then I'll kiss them goodnight, and wait for my wonderful husband to come home so he can pull me into his arms, and tell me how much he loves me. ALL of me.
Then I'll look in the mirror and actually like what I see. And I won't think of those people anymore.
Because I'm worth more than that.
I always was.