Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Something Beautiful

Something beautiful happened to me a couple of weeks ago and I felt the need to share it with all of you. If you didn’t know me growing up (and even if you did), I’m going to outline some of things I had to deal with while I was younger. From the time I was a kindergartner, I was bullied by someone. Let's clarify that I was not a perfect angel growing up, but I experienced a lot of people being not so nice to me for no reason at all. My first bully was named Amanda – she was in the 6th grade and used to love making me cry (as a 5 year old). I rode on a bus to school and it got so contentious, that my mom got on the bus and told her to leave me be. She often would make me sit without my friends and talk about how stupid I was.

The next bully I had was pretty consistent, from the time I first encountered her in the 4th grade all the way through high school – though once I hit 9th grade, it didn’t bug me as much and since we weren’t really EVER in the same classes, she had less of an opportunity (but she was sure to try as hard as she could). She turned many a girl and guy against me in middle school, to the point that my mom had to be at the school all the time BEGGING for people to keep her away from me or to do something. It turned me angry and acidic towards others and definitely broke my trustfulness nature in others. I became guarded. I also thought that my friends and others were deliberately trying to hurt me anytime I felt hurt, which wasn’t the case. I acted out in school as I was so frustrated with the situation and the injustice of it all. Many of my teachers in middle school either didn’t do anything about this situation or made me the problem because this girl’s mom was well known and respected in the community. It was tough for me until high school. My mom kept me involved in things outside of school so that my friend base wasn’t just in school and I had something to look forward to every day. I think that made me grow less guarded, more trusting and made me more of the positive person I am and see myself as today. By the way, this girl was deliberately mean to me at our 10 year high school reunion, so not much has changed.

With that background in mind, one of the girls that had not been so nice to me in school (not one of the aforementioned bullies) added me on Facebook. My first thought was NO WAY. She’s trying to stalk my profile and pick apart my life, just like she did when we were 13. My second thought was, maybe she is just trying to make a friend. With some trepidation, I accepted her request. Nothing happened for a long time after I added her. It seemed like she was happy, had a nice family and that things were going mostly well for her. Recently, she started posting about how her son was being bullied in middle school. While I don’t wish that on ANY child, I got rather angry. Why, would this person not see that they had caused me harm in vivid memories and then go on and on about how they can’t get any help from the school? My mom had to FIGHT tooth and nail for any justice or help for me without the aid of social media BECAUSE of things this girl did to me or participated in to make me feel badly. In my frustration, I posted a Facebook status echoing these thoughts. What happened on that status warms my heart to this day. That post got 42 comments, some outlining past issues, some talking about that maybe this person didn’t see the parallels in their own behaviors and the entire thread was about people sharing past experiences and trying to move on from them. Then I got a private message from the girl herself asking if was referring to her at all.

I was, to a degree. It wasn’t directed solely at her, many other people who had not been very nice to me were posting those things, but she was in that group of individuals. She apologized and we got to talking and I thought that it was the end of it. THEN she did an even more amazing thing – she posted a comment on my status saying that she was guilty of being nasty to me and that she was sorry (purple in the picture). She also posted a status about me – all positive things. 

Now, when I posted that frustrated status, I NEVER thought this would happen. I also NEVER thought that we would become long-distance friends when I added her as a friend on Facebook. BUT I’m SO GLAD that that is what happened! It’s hard to move on from those transgressions that you had in school that really changed and affected you, however small they might seem. People do grow up and change (not all the time, but a lot of the time). I’ve made it a philosophy in my life to try and offer forgiveness as often as I can (again, not all the time, as I’m not a saint). This instance was an example of a beautiful person doing a beautiful thing. What’s your something beautiful this month? I’d challenge you to display the level of humility, kindness and thoughtfulness MY FRIEND did to right a very old wrong that really meant more to me than she probably ever will realize. It also impacted my overall attitude and the way I've been approaching frustrating situations for the past several weeks. It was a beautiful thing and I was glad to be a part of it!