Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Finding My Voice

Since I have no great wonderful event to tell you about I have chosen today to tell you about the day I went from being a shy, quite, reserved girl into the bold opinionated woman you know and LOVE today!

Setting: 7th grade. I had permed hair. My sense of style was NOTHING like what the rest of the world was experiencing at that time. I had a mouth full of metal. I rode the bus to and from school everyday. I made good grades. I was a goodytooshoe who went to church every Sunday. I didn't use bad language. I cried when I thought I made anyone mad. I didn't have very good friends.

So one day my so called "friends" and I were riding the bus to school. Kelly and Robin were two years old then Brandy, Regina, and myself but for the most part we got along. Sort of. My "friends" would periodically decide to get mad at me for something or another. Perhaps I annoyed them. Perhaps they were just PMSing and I was an easy target. Whatever the reason I was always trying to make them feel better about themselves. I was constantly apologizing for stuff that I had no idea I had done. I was the low man on the totem poll. On this particular day the girls were all in a frenzy by the time I got on the bus. Kelly had decided she was going to break up with her boyfriend Shawn. Shawn and I had English together. That day I told him he needed to talk to Kelly. He asked me why. I didn't tell him, just told him he needed to talk to her. He asked me if she was going to break up with him. I didn't say no. Well, Shawn figuring things out decided to beat Kelly to the punch and broke up with her first. It wasn't pretty and Kelly was heartbroken. I still am unsure why.

My "friends" decided I had told Shawn about Kelly's plan and that I wanted to go out with him myself so I must be excommunicated from the group. They refused to talk to me. They refused to sit with me at lunch. And being so shy I couldn't just walk up to anyone else and eat with them. I ate alone. I stood outside after eating by myself while the girls huddled and would look at me as if to say, yes, we're talking about you. What you gonna do about it? Cry? Then they'd laugh. I was even scared that they would try to beat me up or that they'd talk one of their other friends (who was ALWAYS in trouble for fighting) into beating me up. And I didn't stand a chance. I was miserable. I kept trying to apologize for this horrible mistake I had made, but they wouldn't listen.

Later that day on the way home from school Regina was sitting in the sit behind me on the bus. She stood up and told me that they just didn't think they could trust me after what I did to Kelly. Well, that was it. I had had enough. I stood up, looked her straight in the eye and asked, "What in the HELL did I do to Kelly that effects you?!!?" Regina just stood there. Probably shocked that I could yell at her without crying (which I was known for). After a moment she just rolled her eyes and sat back down. She did not have a come back. She didn't have a defense. She had nothing. And none of the other girls said anything either. They didn't talk much on the way home. Not to me or to each other. They didn't huddle together to whisper. They didn't make fun of me. It was like I had finally proven myself to these girls. Maybe they were actually thinking about what I said.

I would love to say that magically these "friends" became the best friends in the whole wide world but they didn't. But I stopped trying to please them from that moment on. That was the first moment in my whole life where I stood up for myself, and to be honest, I liked it. But with great power comes great responsibility...(oops, sorry this isn't a Spider Man comic book...) I didn't let it go to my head. Not too much anyway. Now I use my power of self esteem to reach out to others that might need a little push...like calling a half stranger (only half because we talk via blog comments) and inviting her to lunch (Cindy, we need to do that again soon because I had SO much fun!!!).

These girls and I remained friends, and I use that word as loosely as you can, throughout high school. From time to time my mom sees them in my home town and they ask about me and want me to call them. But I don't. And it's not that I wouldn't talk to them on the phone if they called me. But I firmly believe that that part of my life is over. If God wants me to reach out them He'll let me know. But until then, I'll enjoy life. I'll laugh with good friends. I'll love with all my heart. I'll live to fullest of life that God has intended. And I'll know that God created me, he did not make me to be a door mat! A servant, yes, but not a door mat.

Blessing my friends! I hope today you find or use your voice to praise the Mighty One!


Girl said...

Wow...that sounds so much like my many various encounters in school. The difference is that I went to a different high school and then my parents moved 1500 miles away from my hometown when I was in college. I haven't heard from or seen anyone that I grew up with, nice kids or mean kids, since. I am mildly obsessed with being a fly on the wall at a reunion sometime...if only just to see who ended up as what.

Leslee said...

Yeah, sometimes I feel like I can't wait for my highschool reunion and other times not so much. I have another year to go before I commit though.

madcapmum said...

Oh, junior high and high school. Ask me if I miss that part of my life.... Ugh. Makes me feel a bit queasy.

So, do you still ask people what the HELL their problem is from time to time? ;-)

Leslee said...

Well, Mum, I think the only person I've asked that was my husband. Otherwise I've been come really good at picking friends that I don't need to ask what the Hell their problem is.

Hikingalong said...

What a wonderful freedom you must have felt when you stood up for yourself! Isn't it wonderful to know that God stands up for us and we don't have to fight our battles alone? Blessings!

~Jennifer said...

ugh! high school reunions. I don't recommend them. :-P

btw, You've been tagged, but you are under no obligation to play. :-)