When I was a kiddo I was made fun of because my ears stuck out…
I was called the most obvious of names, Dumbo, which made me feel like shrinking except that my ears would have probably stayed the same size and become even more pronounced! I was not able to ever embrace my differences and “learn to fly” above the hurtful feelings, instead I adapted with hair styles specific to hiding my “deformity.” During my middle school years, when everything was a big deal, I was finally given the opportunity to have my ears pinned back. A procedure I jumped at in hopes to finally feel a bit normal when looking at my reflection. To be able to pull my hair back in an average pony tail without feeling that I was going to be made fun of took a weight off my shoulders. Realistically most people probably didn’t notice, or care, as they were consumed with their own insecurities, but to me it felt as if I had a giant red arrow pointing out my differences and I just could not ever get passed it.
But I was lucky and there are so many who are not. I am very grateful that I was able to have my “big ole ears” relaxed instead of constantly at attention. However the experience of being slightly different also heightened my sensitivity and compassion towards people going through a similar ordeal. I’m sure there were moments as a kid where I made fun of others, but I can promise you they were few. And as I got older there were many more moments when I could completely understand the tears of wanting to change or just blend in.
So now I am raising children and one of my main goals as a parent is for them to be kind. It is sometimes hard for them to understand the full scope of what being different can look like or feel like, however I never stop trying to teach them. The other day when the kids of our future composed their first big stand against something they feel is wrong, it made me proud. But there was another part of me that was sad because while this movement is such an important shift in our society, there are basic, daily behaviors that are easily changeable and will make just as large of an impact on our society. We should all know by now “bullying” large and small scale is the root of so many of our problems. It is ridiculous how prevalent it is and worse that it is learned from adults who are supposed to know better.
So…the whole post above was inspired from a moment that occurred on the same day as the massive student walkout.
I was not having a smooth day. An amazing human bean ((Christina Katsolis)) came into my store looking for a small gift to give a young girl who was being bullied at school. Her story made my heart skip a beat. Christina told me she liked skateboarding and bubble gum pink. This is what we came up with. It was an honor to paint and made my whole aggravating day end with a bright spot. I can only hope that she likes it and it makes her feel special while staring at her own reflection in the mirror.
The end of this is… please be kind to each other. It really will make a difference.
Cheers and thanks always for being here 🙂