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.

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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

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

When Life Changes…

I wrote the date for a check today (yep, there are still some uses for those things!). January 8. “Wow,” I thought, “Kit would have been 31 today.”

I’ve been having flashbacks a lot the past four weeks, and they mostly center on how different life is from 10-15 years ago. 10 years ago today, I was flying a styrofoam airplane in a Hays, Kansas field and in my own way saying good-bye to a friend.

Kit died 3 weeks before his 21st birthday from a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs). My dad called me on a December morning right after I had talked with him the night before. I knew someone had died, and I thought it was one of my grandpas. I wasn’t prepared for the shock that it was one of my friends from high school who I respected greatly. I’d attended his wedding only 6 months prior. Continue

Reflections on a birthday, youth and “being old.”

I first wrote this in July 2009, one year after a high school friend of mine was killed through an act of domestic violence. 3 years and counting after her death, I’m still processing my shock. I never thought I would know someone who was killed because of the will of another. The only thing I could think in the days following her death was, “I’m a girl from Kansas! This doesn’t happen to people from small town America!” But it does. So here are my thoughts regarding her life, death, and what I’m to change.

Why I try to not say that I’m old.

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