This post is stimulated because of the quote from a Ted Talk (by Shane Koyczan) “I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean toward the opposite”
What I’m about to write isn’t being stated as an excuse; rather an understanding, a reason for why, a moment for change and something new.
I grew up being told that everything that all of my hobbies are stupid, that I’m stupid for liking them. I grew up believing that my parents thought I was one of the dumbest people in the world and that, no matter how hard I worked and tried, they told me that I would never amount to anything.
I loved reading and writing. “That’s stupid. The things you write are stupid. You’re such a bookworm—don’t you do anything ENJOYABLE? Why don’t you do something WORTHWHILE?” When I started reading avidly, I would get excited and share whatever interesting thing I was reading—usually a silly (stupid) little kids’ book. When I was repeatedly made fun of for getting fat because all I do is read and come down from my room for meals, I started to hide how much I was reading. When I started to realize that I was a fat kid, I started to try and learn different ways to work out and lose weight. When my family found out about the desire to lose weight, I was berated “You’ll never lose weight, Thunder Thighs. You’re a failure. Stop wasting your time.” I started to try and learn different exercises that I could secretly do in my room. I also started to hide my snacking. They were right that I wouldn’t lose weight in that part of my life. My weight was a security blanket. Truthfully, I’m not even sure how overweight I actually was as a kid. I hated the camera so most pictures that exist of me are skewed images of my body trying to escape the range of the camera. When I was in my 20’s I realized that I was overweight and I wanted to change it—I was successful……and they made fun of my weight loss.
I grew up not knowing what I really wanted to do ‘when I grew up’ because everything I liked was ‘stupid’ and ‘useless’ and ‘worthless.’
In school, I tried to blend in with the walls, trying to avoid having the teacher call on me. When they did, I would usually know the answer but refuse to give it. I hid my grades. I didn’t really get picked on in school because I was always buried in my books, trying not to be noticed. I was mostly successful.
A lot of kids get bullied at school and their safe haven is home, where, I guess, their parents lift them up and show them love.
My situation was getting abused by my mom (or busting my butt to stay out of her line of fire) and getting bullied at home by my dad and my sister, constantly ridiculed and picked on. I was always told “Oh we’re just teasing” after I was brought to tears and sought solace in my room….but it never felt like teasing. It was always so hurtful and hateful.
EVERY little thing that I did and enjoyed was fair game for attack. I didn’t want to take a chance and stand out in school, risking being a punching bag there too.
It really is no wonder why I hide my passion, apologize for my intelligence, scold myself mercilessly for honest mistakes.
The BENEFIT is that now….Now….It’s nothing like that. I have a loving and supportive relationship where hobbies are encouraged, weaknesses are worked on to become strengths, where mistakes are evidence of room for improvement. I don’t have to defend my love of writing, my passion for learning, my desire to workout. I don’t have to apologize for wanting to try to be creative and not having it turn out JUST RIGHT. I don’t have to apologize for trying and not succeeding. I can be silly and not fear being called stupid. I can laugh and not fear ending up in the line of fire. I can make mistakes, I can be me. I’m free to be me. I’m free to be fun. I don’t have to hide from life anymore.
That’s scary and exciting all at the same time. It’s tough to keep that in mind….It’s something I will have to keep reminding myself.