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Friday, October 24, 2014

Writer's Workshop: What Did You Call Me?

This week, I'm following the prompt: 3.) The last time someone called you a name.

It was about five years ago. A bunch of my friends and I were in a bar, having a great time, when I decided to fight the crowd to use the facilities. I pushed my way through a bit, until I came to a group of guys who were blocking the hallway.

"Excuse me," I said politely.

"Hey, watch out for that linebacker behind you," one guy said to his friend.

A linebacker? I knew I had a lot of weight to lose, but I was hurt. Normally, I wouldn't say anything, but I decided to speak up. The Guinness made me do it.

"A goalie," I said.

"What?"

"I'm a goalie. An ice hockey goalie. I don't play football," I corrected him.

And then they were all interested, or maybe just embarrassed because I'm not sure they meant for me to hear. "Do you play for Providence College?" and other questions.  I just smiled and walked away.

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I'm not sure I could name a linebacker if my life depended on it... but go Patriots!
Even though I was proud of how I handled the insult, this exchange bothered me for a long time. Even after losing over 30 lbs, that comment and countless others before it have dug deeper than the weight. They made me feel so un-beautiful, un-feminine, un-wanted. Things I have struggled to and wanted to feel ever since I was an awkward and goofy-looking young girl. All I've ever wanted was for people to like me. But now I know it's not always that important.

I am tired of letting others make me feel bad about myself. They have no right; they don't know a thing about me. If I am being a jerk, then yes, I hope someone would make me feel bad. But it's not right to criticize something I have no way of changing, or that may be hard to change. Or that may only be bad in their eyes. God apparently didn't want me to be a supermodel, but He may have some other, more fabulous plans for me. I'm tired of people making me feel so crappy about myself that I don't have the confidence to find and succeed with those plans.

I'm constantly reminding my child to be kind to everyone. Kindness and respect are so important. When we were on vacation, he voluntarily, and without my immediate attention, held the door open for a woman in a wheelchair. And made her smile. I had to choke back tears as I told him how proud I was. You got it, kid. Always do those things.

I also know now that it's up to me, too. To not let these insults control me, especially in a case like this where it's not someone constantly bothering me. (Unfortunately, it hasn't always been that way.) It's hard, because I am so sensitive, but I can always change the way I perceive what people say. And I have the right to stand up for myself or get help if a situation is out of control.

I guess if I look at my story now, I can give it a positive spin. Calling me a whale would have been another thing, but a linebacker is strong and athletic. And they were ready to believe I was still in college!

Day-um... I am good.

Mama’s Losin’ It