Is there anyone from your middle or high school that you remember who used to tease, bully, or laugh at you, making you feel like the lowest piece of dirt? Was it a popular girl or a boy who you liked? How did they make you feel? Insecure? Angry? Unworthy? Desperately wanting to belong, or vice versa–not wanting to be anything like them? Did that affect you enough to make a significant impact on your future?
I certainly remember being looked down and laughed at. I wasn’t rich and spoiled. I was poor and shy. I was also smart enough that I was asked for answers every time a popular girl (or boy I liked) needed to cheat on her test. I wasn’t raised to fight back, but instead I was taught to be kind to people and treat them the way I wanted to be treated. I was a conformist. I still am in a lot of ways. No matter how hurt I felt by snarky remarks in my past, I would never refuse to help the offender. I knew I was at least smarter and that made me feel better about myself.
There was one girl in particular. She always acted like she was better than everyone else. She always dressed well, smoked, drank, and was sexually active, which was attributes of popular girls in my school. She acted like she was a grown up and we were all just kids; that was in tenth grade! The way she looked me up and down always made me feel low and worthless. Not that her opinion really mattered because I neverhad respect for her and never wanted to be anything like her, but subconsciously I couldn’t help feeling humiliated. Because of the unfortunate situation at home, I was already feeling extremely insecure, it didn’t help that some people at school were treating me like garbage.
I didn’t realize how much it really affected me until I moved to America and after some unpleasant events started working on my inner world. I suddenly remembered that girl and realized how angry I was with her. I really wanted to kick her butt and explain how nasty she was to me. Soon enough, I found out that she too lives in the States! I had my chance to find her and get her straight. Somehow, we got connected on Facebook and she messaged me. She was so sweet and seemed so happy to talk to me that all my hurt suddenly just disappeared. I was satisfied with the fact that she doesn’t think of me as a piece of dirt. She was just a teenager who was too prideful. Making fun of me was just a way for her to feel better about herself. How silly. I also noticed that she wasn’t that “cool” anymore. She got married and had kids, and had a normal job. I even started liking her and invited her to visit sometime. I hope we do meet and laugh at our high school times.
If you ever got hurt by someone in the past, and there is an opportunity to talk to that person, connect and just see how they are doing. You might be surprised to see that they are completely different than they were before, and you might even become friends. Kids and teenagers are sensitive. They struggle with identity issues and many others. They might be hurting too!
If you were to connect with someone from the past who belittled you, who would that be? What would you say to them as an adult? Or would you not say anything at all? Would you share those memories with you kids? What advice would you give to your children if they experience similar things in school?