Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
Words do hurt.
A couple of weeks ago I had a really sad mean girls experience. It happened at a place where I usually feel so happy, a place that I’d grown to feel safe and welcome, a place that is helping me be who I want to be in life.
When it happened, initially I thought oh, they’re not being mean like intentionally, it’s more like they’re just saying. Saying inappropriately, but still, just saying. Surely they didn’t seek to specifically to hurt my feelings. Or make me feel bad different. Or less. Or unwanted. Or ashamed.
I’ve never been anything other than friendly. Sure, I’m sort of quiet, and I stick to myself and the people I know well, but I’ve always got a smile and a hey, girl in me for everyone. Always. Even when you’re being mean.
So, I figured I was being sensitive, reading into it, making a mountain out of a teenier mountain.
But then I saw their eyes. And heard the giggles. And the snorts. And the whispers. And the no-you-didn’ts. And I knew.
Of course I knew.
I played it off, all no big deal like. I didn’t let them see me cry. Not a chip in my facade. Just secret cracks all over my heart.
Because, thug life.
But then it was time to go home. And, I got in my car. And I called DudeDad. And I didn’t stop crying until I tucked myself into bed that night (okay, so this happened at night and it wasn’t that long of a cry, but still, I’m not a crier, it was long for ME).
For days I let their judgment rule me. It made me different. Bad different. It made me less. I felt unwanted and ashamed.
I gave up something I had grown to love, and with it the confident piece of the me I was just really getting to know and like.
Confident DudeMom, whose been kicking butt and taking names on this blog since ‘08, but who has only recently come out to play in the real world was sheltering in place. Cowering on the couch with a box of Oreos, jamming them straight into my gut with a chocolate milk chaser.
Not my finest week of life by a long shot.
And then, I was driving to soccer and this song came on the radio…
I clapped to the beat. I hummed along with the melody. I listened to the words.
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect, from the bottom to the top.
I’m bringing booty back.
Naturally that’s the lyric that sticks in my head. Because all the right junk in all the right places, so me.
I decided that day, with this song blasting from my mom-car speakers while The Dudes sang along to the words, that this was not a give-up-on-everything-and-let-the-haters-win-moment, but instead a step-off-I’m-doing-the-Hump moment that, wasn’t going to break me.
It has, however, taught me some things…
First, I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am with this body. It will probably never be the most fit one in the room, or the fastest, or the strongest, or the smoothest, or the sexiest, and that’s no reason to feel less, or unwanted, or ashamed. It’s a reason to feel powerful, and inspiring, and awesome.
Also, different is amazing, and amazing is good. Call me crazy, but I refuse to feel bad for being amazing. And, you can’t make me.
Next, Megan Trainor is da bomb. I danced to her song in the bathroom this morning after I got out of the shower. I worked it so hard I kinda think I actually needed to take another shower. I decided instead to go gross in honor of Megan. Probably she doesn’t specifically approve of body odor, but whatever, I’m doing my thang and I think she might be really down with that.
Finally, sticks and stones won’t break your bones, and words will only hurt you if you let them. Find a way to not let them. That’s what they shoulda said when they made up that nursery rhyme forever ago.