Fish breath

Words can cause damage, but words can teach you lessons you never knew. This is about hurtful and shaming words. Just a little snippet, a piece or just a memory in life that I find so hard to believe happened over 35 years ago but still leave me feeling as if it were only yesterday. I see the world today and I do realize that this is as old as time, these tactics by children, maybe taught by their parents or perhaps just an acting out to be the person they believe themselves to be. It can be as painful as a punch though the bruises lay so far underneath no one sees, no one gives pity, no one knows. But as I find more and more these days, these snippets come back to talk to me, perhaps to haunt but I think more so to learn that I am not that child anymore, that feelings do matter and this is how this story begins.
We walked down the long hallway and up the ramp to our lockers. My friend and I side by side. She looked so uncomfortable and though I had just moved there recently, I was happy to have someone to call friend. At my previous small country school I only had one friend and she was no longer here, left behind on my move to the suburbs. This was the big league. No smell of cows, just the ever present odor of paste and purple dittos and dust, always dust. I found out years later when walking into another school that nothing has changed, except sweat has been added to the mix. I looked at my friend and as all friends do, inquire as to what was bothering her. I cared, I always care too much. She looked from side to side as if to see if anyone was within hearing range and moved a little closer to me. “I have something to tell you” she said as her eyes darted around as if looking for a lost dog. “OK, then tell me” I said, in a way excited to finally have a confidant. She leans over and whispers in my ear. At this point I must say that she apologized first for what was about to come and that is when my stomach got that horrid sinking feeling. “You have fish breath”. These were the hurtful words. That is what she said. Although she continued on in apology that “They made me say it, I didn’t want to but you need to know that they made me.” It took a minute to digest that there was a “they” involved and it did not take me long to wonder who “They” were. I heard the little twitter of laughter and turned around to see a group of the popular girls behind me laughing.
I was eight years old and at that very moment, I wanted to just curl up and die.
I had come from a small farming town before coming there and I had never in my life had anyone make me feel so bad. I started crying and ran down the hall to the bathroom. No one followed. I hid there for a while until I was found and sent back to my class. I don’t remember much about the day after that except going to my room and telling my mother I did not feel well. After that day I know I spent a lot of time in my room. I had a few friends left but I couldn’t trust them completely any longer . You never know when the betrayal would happen so if you didn’t get close enough, it wouldn’t hurt, right?
I remember thinking to myself how could anyone do something, say something so cruel? And then it hit me like a punch between the eyes. Just last week wasn’t I mocking a girl for smelling like hamsters, with that urine soaked cedar smell that never seems to fade? Was that me? Did I say that, well I didn’t say it to her face but we mocked her in a group and there for it was just as bad as saying it to her directly. It was just as bad as what had happened to me. That is the day I learned about karma.
You see, if you say something negative about someone, even if not to their face, it will come back around and bite you on the ass. It doesn’t matter if you are 8 or 80, it will. Words hurt even if said in jest as there is always a bit of truth in it.
I think as I get older, all of these old stories come back to me and maybe the reason is for me to write them down and let them out. Things I had never told anyone but like that underlying bruise, it still hurts in some way and we need to let the healing begin, I need to let it get some air, let it breathe so that it may finally heal and fade to nothing. I am not that little girl anymore and if something as nasty as telling someone they have fish breath still weighs on me, there must be a part of it that I believe. Maybe that I am not good enough, pretty enough, popular enough to have the friends I deserve, but then again, 35 years later I know now as I knew then, maybe, just maybe, they were wrong.


Shining things

Shiny things
I have always been attracted to shiny things….pretty stones, glittering lights, pretty people, you get the idea…I was brought up not rich by any stretch of the imagination, living in a country side filled with cows, strawberry fields, grape vines and old tattered houses. Not very shiny but it was all I knew. I played in the sand and realized that you could make grand things out of virtual dirt. I could build sand castles where I could be the princess who would be rescued by my prince who would bestow upon me the shiny baubles that I came to cherish. I am not a girly girl. No, I enjoyed throwing a football around, riding horses with my bestie and playing in the puddles in a rainstorm. I was not scared of the thunder and lightning…it was shiny after all.
As I got older and we moved to the burbs, my older sister was my main influence. She was more into rock and roll and boys than girly girl things. That was ok, I was happy the way I was. She did get her ears pierced and of course I had to follow suit. To this day, you never catch me in earrings unless it is for a special occasion….just not my thing. But stones, yes, those were what I cherished most. Digging in the dirt looking for specimens I was convinced I was going to find gold and be rich and live happily ever after in my sandcastle. Nope….not going to happen. But that too was ok. I collected rocks and shiny stones that sparkled in the sunlight from every family vacation and then later in life all of my adult trips.
The funny thing is, I realize it wasn’t really about the shiny things after all. It was about seeing some bit of beauty in the things around me. A plain white rock looked beautiful to me because if caught in the light in the right way it shone. Slowly this started to happen in things beyond rocks. The sky, the trees, and the water ripples. I found if I sat on the ground, what I call getting grounded I felt better. I was connected. I was a part of the universe. I was me and this was good. I wear a hematite stone on a leather cord around my neck. I am convinced I should have born 10 years sooner because that whole hippie thing is what I love. Tie Dye shirts and barefoot, ripped jeans and my shiny stone.
I became what I admired most. The glitter that you see in certain peoples’ eyes, that is me. The shiny happy people song that REM made so popular, that’s me too….if you look at me, you would see an ordinary girl but what I see, I see shiny. And that’s okay with me.
So if you need a bit of shiny-ness in your life, follow me. I will show you the way. I am still new at this blogging thing but then again you have to start somewhere. I shall slip on my scuffed ruby slippers if I must, but prefer to be simply barefoot in the grass if I may.