It's not often that I write about things this personal, but I felt the need to let this one out!
"Sticks & Stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." Well, maybe not physically, but mentally, the scars can last a lifetime, and can mold a person into what they are today. It can affect their friendships, and how they relate to other people. Believe me, I know.
I know people who have such good friends that they call them "sisters". In the past I have jokingly said, "I don't have friends, I have sisters", since I have 5 sisters & 4 sisters-in-law (which I count as sisters). I feel like I have "acquaintances"; some stronger than others, but there are very few I would count as true "friends". If I have something that I need to talk to someone about, 90% of the time I go to my sisters. The other 10% of the time, the people I might talk to I could count on 1 hand.
Since I've kept the tv off during the day this summer and have been busy with house-things, I've had time to reflect. Why am I like that? Why am I a tad bit jealous that I know people who have such strong bonds to other people outside of their family? The answers all keep pointing to a few statements made to me in different stages of my life.
1) "Leach." This one probably stuck with me more than any other. When I was in jr. high, I formed a friendship with a girl who was a year older. I would seek her out during lunch (our lunches overlapped) and talk to her for a couple of minutes. One day, I was walking up to her, and a girl sitting beside her said, "Here comes the leach." I was so naive at the time, I had no idea what that meant, so I looked at her and asked what that meant, to which she said, "oh, nothing.". My friend, on the other hand, was so very sweet to ignore her and talk to me for a couple of minutes. Once I found out what a leach was, it tore my heart out. And I vowed to never be called that again. For that reason, I don't like to call people unless absolutely necessary. And, I rarely invite people to go out to eat or to do anything.
2) "I wouldn't think anybody as big as you would be afraid of spiders." This happened in elementary school by a girl who I thought was beautiful, and very popular. Now, mind you, I have always been tall for my age, and, I guess, a bit "thick"; you know, "big boned". I took that to mean I was fat, which I wasn't. (I'm a bit amazed that I didn't end up with an eating disorder.) Ever since that remark, I have been self-conscious about my size. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that with birthing babies, being that size is a good thing!
3) When we lived in SC, we belonged to a Supper Club through church. One day, a lady told me that one of the ladies that had been to my house said that my house was dirty. Which it wasn't because I had spent all day cleaning. To this day, I have NO idea what that lady was talking about, but I didn't appreciate her saying things like that to other people. I never confronted that lady about it; I'm a very non-confrontational person. It did, however, cause me to be over-sensitive about who I let in my house, and when I let them in.
4) Another incident in elementary school: I was delivering papers for my sister, and as I walked up the driveway to hand a paper to a lady, she asked if I was a boy or girl. She covered herself by saying that she thought I was a girl because I was too pretty to be a boy. I've always worn my hair short (the longest it's been is to my shoulders) because a) with 6 girls, mom wasn't about to fight with little girls' hair) and b) I look much better with my hair short. I rarely wear hats, unless it's obvious it's a ladies' hat (I wore a pink one walking this morning). A lady I knew in SC said I should get a cap with the pony tail already in it, and I told her that then I would look like a guy with a pony tail in a hat!
Bottom line: Think twice before you open your mouth to say something...not only to a child, but also to an adult. Even though you might think it's just a passing statement, it may have an affect on a person's life.