Monday, May 23, 2011

Inferior

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You see this girl? I’m sure you all know who she is.

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…and this girl, too.

That was me.

Ok no not really actually me, but her story was very much like mine (minus the princess part, unfortunately).

When first I saw the Princess Diaries, I knew that the writers somehow had a glimpse into my life and thought “Hey! We need to write a book and a movie about this girl!” :0)

Her story is one of big hair, not fitting in with her peers, glasses, school uniforms, etc. She was ridiculed by her fellow classmates, the outcast….yep, that was me.

Let me start at the beginning.

In 6th grade, my family moved from our nice little community to another about an hour away. Everything was new – people were relatively nice (or so I thought). I was no longer in my sheltered little private school, I was in a very large public middle school where kids said words I had never heard before and I had to grow up faster than I ever thought possible. I was the new kid, trying to fit in. The harder I tried, the more and more I stuck out like a sore thumb. I finally made a friend. One I could trust. We hung out after lunch, we stayed over at each other’s houses, she really was a great friend to me. January of that year, she got news that her dad’s business was sending him and his family away….to Arizona! Yikes. With her gone, I was all alone again.

My mind literally blocked out most of that school year because it was so traumatic. If I think really really hard, I can remember the time a kid left gum on my seat in science class on purpose – then when I changed jeans later on in the day, she asked “Hey Karen what happened to your pants?!” and snickered about it. I remember being tripped many times on purpose. I also remember wearing the same shirt as another girl one day (not on purpose) and I remember watching her trying to hide ALL day every time I was around so no one would see her wearing the same shirt that I was wearing.

After everything that I went through, my self esteem was ZERO. I had none left. Every time I messed up in softball, I yelled inwardly at myself and told myself how stupid I was. Every time I spoke to someone new, (which wasn’t often) they looked at me funny and I beat myself up for even opening my mouth.

The zero self esteem followed me all the way through high school. After such a traumatic 6th grade year, my parents pulled me out of that school and before long, my dad’s job was relocated back home. The girl that left the private school that I grew up in until 5th grade and the girl that returned in 8th grade was not the same kid. I had a hard time re-making friends (even though a lot of the same people were still there). I really did not speak to anyone unless spoken to, and when I did speak, I got mad at myself for the way I answered them.

I have no clue if those kids in my high school ridiculed or tormented me behind my back. I’m sure there were some who did but they never acted on it as the kids at the middle school did. This vicious cycle continued until my senior year.

Two girls in my class decided to befriend me. I found out later that it was their mission to “get me out of my shell”. Their mission worked. You see, my school was a very small, private school – 19 in my graduating class. Our senior year, everyone in our class was very close. They were wonderful friends to me and finally I felt ok to speak again. I was still very cautious about who I spoke to, but I didn’t feel so bad about making friends – those who I knew would be true friends.

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Enter contacts, a flat iron, and eye waxing strips and voila! There’s me! (Still in a school uniform and all!) Haha!

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I don’t want you to think that it’s been all sunshine and rainbows since.  No, it definitely hasn’t.  I was asked to attend a class/seminar at my church followed by a conference called “Cleansing Stream” while I was still in college.  One of the focuses of the conference was on Rejection – huge huge huge for me.  I was forced to deal with the very thing I had been hiding for so long.  When I tell you that I cried for an hour and a half at that conference, I’m not exaggerating.   I left that conference a CHANGED person.  I could literally feel a difference inside of myself. No longer did I hesitate before I responded to a person – no longer did I beat myself up if I made a mistake in life.  I was different – and it felt fantastic.

Kids can be SO cruel. This is part of the reason that I’ve made it my mission in life to work with girls – especially at the middle school age level - to help them realize that they are worth something, no matter what their peers say or do to them.

You don’t have to be the best at something or wear the latest fashions. Just be YOU. If there’s someone out there who can’t accept you for who you are, then that’s THEIR problem, not yours.

So am I perfect now? No of course not! Do these feelings and thoughts ever pop back up into my head at random times? Yes, they do. It happened Saturday which is what brought on this blog post. I ran across a few people from my past – people who weren’t always nice to me – who snubbed me in high school because I wasn’t one worthy enough of their time. Apparently they still feel as if they can sit across the room and whisper and giggle about me. You know what I told myself? WHATEVER. If that’s all they have time to do, then apparently they are not “better” than I am – and they know NOTHING about me. We are grown women for crying out loud.  I’m satisfied with my life. I’m happy where I’m at. If they are so miserable that all they have to do is make fun of others, then it sounds like they have an issue they need to deal with and it has nothing to do with me. My retaliation? I deleted them off Facebook! Hah! Ok well it made me feel good at least! :0)  I’m almost grateful for the circumstances I went through – it helped form me as the (somewhat more) confident person I am today.  I guess those kids in that middle school have  no idea the service they did for me! :0)

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I’ve repeated this phrase in my mind over and over and over again throughout the years. How true it is.

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I also remind myself of this verse – Psalm 139:13-14:

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Thanks for listening to my story. :0)

7 comments:

  1. What a great post! It's crazy how looking back at hard times you faced as a teen, they seemed like the worst possible things in the world, and now, they are just a lesson. I LOVE the Princess Diaries -- such a great movie!

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  2. Ugh! I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. Terrible! I moved around quite a bit growing up, so I was pretty good at making friends, but I was also often the outsider. I recall once being invited to a pool party for one of my classmate's birthdays in second or third grade. About midway through the party all the little girls there got together and decided to stop speaking to me for the rest of the day. Kids can be very cruel. It's funny that FB allows me to see that I've traveled more and had more success (at least in my mind) than most of those people I went to school with, so I'm glad that I didn't let them destroy my self-esteem.

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  3. Thanks for writing this!! I just wrote a post on my blog titled "Mean" about this same thing...

    ~ A frequent observer of your blog, I discovered you through the disboards when I was planning my family's western Disney cruise last fall :) God bless!!

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  4. Karen, you are one of the nicest, kindest people I've ever had the pleasure to "meet". It literally shocked me to read that you were so alienated in school. How could everyone not love you? The thing that strikes me most is that you didn't turn into a bitter person. I went through some similar things in middle school - I literally had a kid write Kick Me in sharpie on the back of my shirt - and it definitely colored me and badly. I can still be pretty bitter about it and too mean spirited sometimes.

    Your last paragraph also made me think of some "other" people who also seem to have nothing better to do than make fun of others. Move on people! :)

    Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Kids are so mean to each other, thanks for sharing your story. I can think of so many cruel things I saw happen in high school that I wanted to stand up to but was too scared too. I wish I could go back and change things, but I wish too afraid of the tide turning on me. Glad to hear how you have overcome these things.

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  6. I didn't see that you wrote this, or else I would have commented sooner! I wish I could go back sometimes and change some things, but I look at people that I graduated with today and they are still in the same place and doing the same thing that they did in highschool. I just turn my head when they start whispering about me and laughing at me and go the other way!!

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