Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Words Hurt More Than Sticks & Stones
I’ve always wanted to be that person who doesn’t care about certain things. The person who shrugs sh*t off easily and doesn’t remember different conversations and comments for years to come.
I remember my first year at summer camp. Our troop was walking to the lake and this cruel gaggle of girls were walking behind me and loudly making fun of my shorts and sneakers. I had gone to camp with whom I thought was a good friend, she turned out to be just as mean as the other chicks. I was alone to fend for myself against these creepy snobs. Needless to say I switched camps the next year and made sure I didn’t invite my "bestie" gal pal to tag along.
Fast forward to seventh grade. My friend Serena and I were meeting up for a slice of pizza with our friends, Danny and Sean – the least “threatening” boys anyone could ever meet.
When we returned from our brief outing, her mother went completely ballistic on us. I honestly couldn’t figure out why. What did we do wrong? My mom always let me hang out with Danny and Sean.
She called me a "tart" and told my mother how we went to meet boys. I always remember that day and her screaming, “You are a tart!” And me thinking a tart was gay but what’s gay about meeting boys?
I had a crush on Pat in college. I had always wondered what it would be like to kiss him. Finally one night it happened while watching a movie. His reaction? “Wow, just like I thought! It’s like as if I were kissing my sister.” The only positive thing about that response was that he did not actually have a sister.
Another awesome memorable comment happened a few years later. I was at my college boyfriend’s home getting ready for a wedding he had invited me to. I had recently lost a significant amount of weight. (Wow, do I miss phentermine, the wonder drug.) In an attempt to compliment me, my boyfriend’s mom poked at me and said, “Ohmigod, you lost so much weight! Look, you actually have a waist!” A few weeks later he told me that she told him, “You better start losing weight yourself or else she’s going to leave your ass in the dust.” He jumped to it and lost like an astonishing 40 lbs in 30 days and I believe we broke up soon after that massive confidence boost.
So many things people have said to me over the years stay with me like a mental fungus I can't cure. I wish I knew how to rid my memories of these incidents. I often wonder if anyone else out there remembers the many dumb things people have said to them and feel the same way. Why do words cut so deep? Why are people so effin harsh? Do they know they’re jerks – who lets them get away with this? My dad actually once told me that the meanest people have the most friends. Funny thing is, I always thought that was true in high school. They really did. The nice kids were considered band nerds or the smart kids.
Today in fact, this came up in conversation with a coworker. She was feeling a little sensitive about something. I mentioned someone we both know and said, “Now what would she do if that happened to her?” I knew the answer, but wanted to hear her say it. Her reply was something along the lines of, “That person would just simply roll with it… ‘Oh well, such is life,’ is what she would say and wouldn’t think another thing of it." That must be so awesome! I think that individual was born this way. I don’t think you can learn to be a cool cucumber type who dances through life ignoring cruel people or cruel words. I envy her. I would love to wake up one day and live life the way she does. She’s so positive and upbeat, doesn't let anyone break her. It’s almost inspirational.