I was talking to a mom of someone I knew in high school and she was telling me how her daughter was often made fun of in school. I was shocked. So shocked that I called a mutual friend and asked her if she had any idea. (She did not.) You see, this girl always seemed very confident and happy. She dressed differently and definitely walked to the beat of her proverbial own drum. And I regarded her as the coolest girl in the world. To be honest, this opinion hasn’t particularly changed much, through the years. 😉
So, I never would have known. I never would have thought that she had a care in the world or that anyone gave her a hard time for anything. Because being different was what I thought was so cool about her.
It was an important reminder. You just never really know. You never really know what it’s like for someone else.
And, when I listened to her mother’s story, I was reminded of an image that I often connect to my high school friend. I remembered when she walked across the stage to get her diploma at our high school graduation. We had been warned to be appropriate…get our diplomas, shake hands, smile for the picture and get off the stage. And, that’s what we did. I mean, that’s what we did.
Except for her.
She got her diploma, shook hands, smiled for the picture, and then threw her hands up and did a dance. And IT WAS THE COOLEST. I remember how we cheered. I don’t remember but I’m pretty sure, the administration did not join the cheering. But, seriously, it was so cool.
My point in telling this “had to be there” anecdote is that I see it differently now. Now I realize that that there may have been more to that celebratory move. Maybe it was more that just the average happiness about being done. Maybe she was glad she made it through the crap; maybe she was relieved that she made it. Much like many of us, I’m sure.
I’ve been trying to take it to heart. I mean, I always tried to be kind but I like to think I am a little more aware now.
We all have our own battles. We all have our own stories, our traumas, and our successes. I’m going to try not to forget that.
Be kind. It matters.