Bullied: Part 1

Do you remember the first time you saw yourself in the mirror and finally had a shred of hope that you just might be physically attractive and desirable? That you were not the despicable and horrible human that others kept saying you were for so long?

It was the summer I turned 15; my family had moved back to Kansas the previous year after 6 ½ in South Dakota. While I had a minor disappointment with a boy the past year, I had been getting some attention from others and had successes in extra-curricular activities about my confidence. I was uncertain on what to do with compliments. If I said “Thank you,” I feared I would look like a snob, but if I ignored them, it would be rude. I think I usually stammered or tried to shrug things off.

It was a day I had very little planned. I was still in my PJs at the breakfast table when my brother came from the basement. He thought I was wearing a casual sundress for the day and is a pretty cool guy when it comes to his sisters. He asked, “Where did you get that dress?” in the way that men from my family say with uncertainty on how to word a compliment, yet in a way that the women know the men noticed.

“Um, Jeff, these are my PJs.”

Him: “Oh.”

After that comment and finishing breakfast, I walked back to my room to change into my real clothes for the day. At the end of the short, narrow hallway was an oval mirror. I caught a glimpse I had never considered before. It wasn’t an imaginary catwalk to my room, or a trial run of how I would saunter through The Mall. Just enough of a second glance to where I could say, “Maybe I’m not fat and ugly.” My self-esteem and self-perception were still hovering above empty, but there was something about those 10 feet down the hall that gave me hope. Not everyone was out to be better than me. My obvious features of height and hips were not necessarily a negative. And maybe my acne-prone face and shoulders weren’t as horrible as others made it seem.

I still had plenty of emotional breakdowns between that moment and now. I still considered shopping a war and personal assault. The number on the size was all-important as to how I felt about myself for the next month or so.  Some hurts have scabbed over, yet I’m reminded of their scars at the most random times. Just when I think that I’ve answered all the questions and satiated the emotional holes left from my middle school years, the emptiness slinks in the cracks on bad days.

The mid-90s seemed more concerned with sexual harassment and whether or not kids knew about HIV transmission. The line between “kids being kids” and bullying had not gotten the attention of the past 10 years. Sometimes I wonder how I would feel if I could have stood up for myself in the schoolyard. What if one day I would have just punched someone in the face? What if I could sue for the therapy bills not covered by insurance? What if I had taken a few more sick days or convinced my parents to get me out of that school?

What happened cannot be changed. But I have hope. Not because I saw myself as pretty one summer day, half my life ago.

Because I’m learning to forgive people that I will never see again and who will never know how deeply their words cut to my heart. Because I can look at the world around and know that God created things that are good. Because I am to look and myself and say that I am the chief of sinners and forgive others’ trespasses, debts, and sins.

It is not easy, nor should anyone be demanded to produce these results overnight. Be filled with Truth to combat the lies. That is the first step. The other steps will follow, but always seek Truth.

We survived.

Dear officially single ladies/men,

Well, we made it through another Valentine’s Day.

Some of us tried to ignore the day all together. We didn’t wear red or pink. We limited our exposure to anything that eked of romance, love, or for that matter, kindness. It was just another day where everyone else was crazy, and we were the only neutral or sane party. The day is best spent in bed with vodka or other depressant drug of choice.

The bitter and jaded side is represented by those that tell others to, “Go f- yourself!” or other snarky responses that communicate, “I hate myself. I hate this day. I hate anyone who is remotely happy right now. Give me your chocolate.”

There is a combo of the bitter and jaded with an amicable personality. These are the people that share comics such as this one or these examples:

puritanvalentines

In the end, they wish others “Happy Valentine’s Day!” with a smile.

Then there is the attitude I’m working towards – enjoying the opportunity to appreciate those around you. While the world is in a chocolate coma, they still hand out the best candy options. No chalky message hearts for them. No Sponge Bob or Dora the Explorer valentines for them (unless consistent with their general personality).

It is hard to be ignored and single on a day that focuses on Cupid, St. Valentine, and Eros. Some years, “Girls’ Night” suffices. Sometime the guys in the college or singles groups would plan nice steak dinners. When I worked in a school, the student parties and fun of the day meant that kids dropped chocolate and cards at my feet. Even with cards, parties, and gifts, the loneliness still creeps in. For that I have no remedy.

But guess what? It’s February 15. The sun rose this morning. Whatever your adaptive or maladaptive coping mechanism was for yesterday, it’s done. Welcome to the rest of the year.

My Excuse for the Hiatus….

Sorry it’s been dull around here. It’s not that I haven’t had ideas for what to fill the blog-o-sphere with my version of noise – it’s a matter of time.

After December 12, I was officially free of this semester. Yay! But then I had about a week to fit in as much work and visiting local friends as possible. Work won. And when you spend about 10 hours of your day at a restaurant, you quickly lose sanity.

Then I traveled to Wichita, Kansas, by myself. Yep, me and the Toyota. And lots of snow on December 20. It was a great time to reflect on the impatience that dwelled in the depths of my soul. Then of all miracles, I actually enjoyed the time with my family – so alas, I didn’t sit in the corner with my laptop writing furiously over the unfairness of being subjected to the cloth vs. disposable diaper debates.

Here was my attempt at pity and humor on Facebook that is my current distraction for blogging. See ya on the other side…

Scholarship applications: (n.) an exercise in how to say the same thing (I’m a person who deserves money) in as many different ways possible without being redundant or desperate. See also: insanity, non-traditional student, no Ramen…ever, 18-more months of nursing school

 

Fall Break

TRS spent her fall break in the Ice Cream Capitol of the World. So much fun with the niecephews!

After they went to bed, there was about a half hour spent checking email, Facebook, and other random stuff. I looked through the bookshelf in the guest room for some light reading and found this:

In all my years as a good, church-going girl, I never read the gold standard of dating. I read Quest for Love, Lady in Waiting, and I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but somehow this one passed me by. Maybe I thought I got all the wisdom in the other books. Or maybe since I read other things about the Elliots, I thought I knew what she would say.

What I didn’t realize is how applicable her words and wisdom would be to me. I devoured the book – in less than 4 hours.

Review and more thoughts later. I have to get my homework done.

5 years ago….

5 years ago, I was anxiously starting what I knew would be my final year of teaching. I was also anxiously awaiting a call from my sister, as she was pregnant with child number one at that time.

And right as I settled in for my lunch hour to get some work done, I got the call. I was an Auntie to a beautiful niece.

4 months old, December 2007.

It’s been great to be an Aunt for the past 5 years, to my sister’s now 3 children and my friends’ babies.

Thanks for making a good start, Naomi! Happy 5th birthday, sweet girl. You are loved!

Coffee and Ginko

After my last post, I thought, “Ooh, I have some time. I’ll just scan in another quick thing and use the ‘scheduler’ feature to do a quick write-up and make it look like I blogged tomorrow when I actually didn’t!” The best laid plans…

Happy New Year!

I was sifting through my drafts and found that I had yet to post this goody from WAY back. Originally on Facebook Wednesday, September 2, 2009. I had yet to fully convert to Orthodoxy, but I was getting there. I missed posting this for this year’s Induction (September 1). Forgive me.

====================================================== A Year

More from the Office Clean-up

Last week I posted some quotes that I had hanging around my office/life on scraps of paper. Now that I have a blog, there is A) an electronic place to store such wonderful things and B) an audience for it other than myself.

Anyway, these are from my trying-to-be-snarky-and-survive-therapy phase of life:

Most of these are in collaboration with Wichitabookworm. I can’t take full responsibility, sorry.

Which begs the question: What would you like to see on a T-shirt?

Quotes…

I’m still sorting through the scraps of paper from my move, and some hold massive amounts of sentimental value. My friend, whom I will call the WichitaBookWorm, had some awesome quotes which I kept for about 4 years. Now, all of these made sense in the context of the conversations we were having, but I find them funnier in their orphaned state. Enjoy!

“I tried to put God in a box and got my ass whooped.”

“You will have to pry this cup from my cold dead hands.”

“We’re Evangelicals, we get guilt.”

 

 

Test Drive

**Disclaimer: None of the below is PG-13 or R-rated in my opinion. However, if you happen to get queasy around topics regarding virginity, purity, sex, and others’ opinions, read at your own risk.**

Grab your cup of coffee. We should chat.

The Ray of Sunshine Opines

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