Saturday, December 8, 2012

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

My four-year-old grandson spent the day with me earlier this week and as I sat with him at the kitchen table during lunch he told me about something that he considered ugly.  We got into a conversation about the word and I told him it is ok to call things ugly but he should never use that word about a person.  I told him God made each of us the way He wants us to look and it's no one's fault how they were born, ugly or beautiful.  I then shared with him how I'd been bullied in middle school especially, how kids used to tell me I was so ugly they wanted to puke when they looked at my face.  Let's just say it wasn't a real self-confidence building time in my life.  As I told this story to Cooper his eyes became huge and he told me, "Gram, I will go find those people and GET them for you!"  Ahhhhh...where was he 45 years ago when I needed him? I wrote about that on my Facebook page, and one of my friends commented it's because of the human sin nature.  It's been going on since the Garden of Eden, that's for sure, with all the bad blood Cain felt for Abel.  Wanting his offerings to be the best...his envy for Abel causing him to kill his brother.  I can't remember ever saying anything as hurtful as the things said to me.  I just wanted to be left alone...I just wanted out of there, and moving away from that particular school was one of the happiest days of my adolescent life.  Not that the bullying didn't happen in other schools, but it was never again as vicious as it was there.  I could deal with it.

What is ironic is a few years after I'd graduated from high school, Dear Hubby and I were at a little cafe having breakfast and who should walk in but one of my former tormentors.  As we made eye contact I could feel myself shrinking up inside, but she walked over to me and started talking to me, telling me how nice it was to see was I? How was life treating me?  It was all very surreal, let me tell you.  And I saw her a time or two after that, at the same cafe, and it was like that horrible time never took place between the two of us.  How strange.

Dear Hubby had a conversation with another man about bullying the other day.  Dear Hubby had his issues with it happening to him, too.  This gentleman told Dear Hubby that he'd had it really bad in school but there was one boy in particular who tormented him especially.  But he said not long ago this same a middle-aged man...had contacted him thru Facebook and apologized.  He said he'd been haunted by his actions for years.

I know it has to be some kind of basic insecurity in the one who does the bullying, his/her attempt to make themselves feel important or 'better' by tormenting those around them.  I know I survived my bullying but I can't say it hasn't left its scars.  When Dear Hubby or my little grandsons tell me I'm beautiful, I just brush it away...I will never be beautiful.  The ability to believe that was taken away from me 45 years ago.  But I wouldn't go back and change those years.  Sure, those words hurt and life lessons like that really stink.  And yet those years helped shape my character...and I am compassionate, loving, and empathetic because of them.  I won't go so far as to say "Thank you" to my tormentors, but I would like to tell them  I survived.

1 comment:

CWMartin said...

And that totally defeats anything they tried to do back then. Bravo.