As you get older, there are certain moments from your youth that you reflect upon and revisit. Those moments that truly stuck with you. Words that have been said and certain events that took place.
I think quite often about time that has long since passed.
I remember the things and lessons that people taught me. My mother reading to me when I was very young, falling asleep next to her as she read me that bedtime story. Her brushing my hair and the feeling of the soft bristles going through my curls.
I remember her telling me that life was too short to live in a fuss and how important it was to be kind – even to those people that were cruel.
I remember being bullied quite a lot in school, too.
The words that were thrown my way and the gum wad thrown at me, stuck in my hair. The tricks that were pulled and the day I thought that I was accepted but, in reality, I wasn’t. I was told that they couldn’t play with me that day or any other day.
I remember feeling alone those hours stuck in a school building. Being surrounded by so many other kids and people but alone at the same time. Some sort of strange paradox.
I remember those words hurting and I’d come home to cry. I’d talked about it with my Grandmother first and she told me that age old phrase, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me.”
I remember wanting to believe that with every inch of my being.
I remember that feeling of being alone and scared. I remember feeling like not one soul cared.
That fact made ever so obvious when, it first started, I did try to tell my teacher. I remember being told no one likes a tattle tale. Knowing then and there it was better to just stay quiet.
I remember being absolutely sick of the constant belittling one time and I yelled at this girl in front of the school, telling her to just shut up. Wanting her to just leave me alone.
Losing my temper.
And now, I remember three decades later not so much the words that were said all those years ago but, rather, how they made me feel. I remember coming home with tears in my eyes.
I remembered my Mama and her advice to keep my temper and to be kind.
With those lessons learned so long ago, I realized a truth – a truth to me, at least.
Picking and choosing your words carefully are so very important.
Now, I seriously doubt that boy who made fun of me in high school even remembers who I am. I doubt that he remembers the unshed tears after my mother’s death while walking through those school halls.
The trick was to never actually cry in school, you see? You hold it in until the day is done and you’re home.
I seriously don’t think he remembers that day he looked at me with disgust. Not only did he happen to notice, he pointed me out to others.
I’d have much rather stayed ignored and in the shadows. That didn’t happen of course. All you can do is taste the acid in the back of your throat and pray that it is relatively quick.
Move along as fast you can.
In those years, admittedly, my hair became much more frizzy. My eyes had darker circles. I didn’t sleep much in my high school years. I’d spent far too many nights with my mother’s embrace replaced by a tear soaked pillow between my fists. Appearances during that time didn’t make a damned bit of difference to my mind.
They still don’t, really.
And I seriously doubt he thinks of it when he stands behind his perch and preaches, in our present time, of God’s love. To be fair, I’m sure he has a much kinder heart nowadays and I wish him well. People can change and I realize that.
But those days from long ago – I still bloody well remember.
Forgiving is easy but forgetting – not so much.
I was quiet during that time and I recorded it all in my mind.
Words are a fine tool but they can cause so much pain at the same time. I love to write stories and poems, even songs.
One thing I hope you remember as you use words is this simple lesson. It doesn’t matter your age.
Use them wisely.
Well, words can make you happy. Words can make you absolutely joyful.
But they can also tear right into your heart and soul as you remember how they made you feel.
Basically, the point of this writing, is to say – be kind to each other because some things are, unfortunately, damned hard to forget.
Love to you all,
P.S. Being Bullied can make you feel alone but don’t be afraid to reach out. I wish I hadn’t of stayed so quiet back in the day.
Written for today’s Daily Prompt:
When was the last time your walked away from a discussion, only to think of The Perfect Comeback hours later? Recreate the scene for us, and use your winning line.