Tuesday, April 10, 2012

for Peter....

In light of my most recent post, I thought it fair and appropriate to share another story about teasing.  Only this time, I am not the victim but the perpetrator.
His name was Peter. He was a quiet kid. An overweight kid.  He lacked hygiene. He was the kid everyone  picked last in gym class.
It was September of 1983 and we had just stating 8th grade.  It was unseasonably warm, which was very unfortunate for the overweight kid that lacked hygiene.  Peter smelled really bad.  All the kids were complaining about it.  Someone needed to talk to him.  Apparently, I was decided that it would be me.  So, with all the grace and tact of a 13 year old, I approached Peter at the water fountain and said to him, “You need to take a shower or crawl under a rock and never come out.”  Yup.  I said it. That poor boy.  I’m not sure what was going through my head.  I was not one of those mean kids.  I was actually one of those kids that would stick up for the underdog.  But not on that day.  No, I was more than mean, I was cruel.  The funny thing was that later that day, after school, I was at a friend’s house and was hit in the face with a rock.  It damaged my eye and I was missed a month of school. I always thought maybe God was punishing me for being mean to Peter. But now I wonder if God was being kind to Peter, in that he didn’t have to see me for a whole month and be reminded of what I had said.  I am okay with that.
I think about Peter often.  I wonder about his life.  What he has become.  Whether he married and had a family.  I wonder if he has sat in a therapist’s office, like I have, recalling wounds from the past. I wonder if I was the cause of some of his hurt.   
Someday, I will find Peter and I will tell him how sorry I am for what I said.  Until then, I will be kind to others and tell them all the wonderful things I see in them.  I will overlook their faults.  I will cheer them on.  I will help them up when they fall and encourage them to continue on.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Love Them... I Love Them Not.....

I have had a love/hate relationship with my breasts.  It all started when I was about 5 years old. I remember having a conversation with my mom about breasts.  She informed me that one day I would get a pair of my own.  I was NOT happy about this.  They were not practical for a tom boy to have.  I had trees to climb, frogs to hunt and breasts would just get in the way.  I told her, in no uncertain terms, that if that happened, I would cut them off.  I meant business.

Around age 10 I began to warm up to the idea of having them.  I was actually a bit worried about what I would do if they never came.  But being the resourceful kid that was, I had a backup plan. A bicycle pump.  Just hook that thing up to my nipples and I would be all set.  It worked for Dolly Parton, it would work for me.
I think I scared them, back when I was five.  It took a long for them to make an appearance and when they did, it wasn’t much of one.     By the time a reached high school, it seemed that my fate had been decided.  I was going to be a small-chested woman for the rest of my life.  Nothing I could do about it.  You get what you get. It’s not the end of the world right?  I mean, how bad could it be? Very bad….especially for a 15 year old girl. 

During my first year of high school, I was teased constantly by a group of boys.  They teased me about anything and everything.  What I remember most, was comments about my breast size. They called me 2x4 and other belittling, insulting names.  Did I mention that these guys were in 5 of my 7 classes? Yup.  I cried a lot that year.  I know I was not alone in being teased.  Girls who developed early and were well endowed had to suffer the cruel comments of their peers as well.  Teasing sucks, period. But it is incredibly damaging when you are made fun of over something you have absolutely no control over.  It wasn’t like I went out and bought a defective set of breasts.  It was what I got.  I had no say.  I wonder what would happen if teenage boys were required to wear buttons on their crotch to indicates how big (or little) their penis’ are.  Now, THAT would level the playing field wouldn’t it? I have a feeling that a lot of teasing would stop. 

When I got to college, things seemed to change.  It wasn’t such a focal point in the circles I ran in.  It was really kind of refreshing.  I began to see all the benefits to having small breasts.  Bras were cheap (and optional in many situations), running was not painful or awkward.  I never experienced the back pain that my large breasted friends did.  I NEVER had a conversation where all the guy did was talk to my breasts. 

Now, at age 41, I am okay with having a small chest. It has taken a long time to come to this place.  To not feel that I am somehow less or deficient because of my chest size.  That my womanhood is not tied to my breast size, or breasts at all for that matter.  That who I am on the inside and outside is okay and enough.