I had one of my very favorite students come to visit me yesterday afternoon – she’s still a student at my school, so I see her pretty much every day in passing, but this time she stopped by for a visit. She wanted to talk about how things were going with her, her stresses, her boyfriend drama, her family relationship issues…all of the regular stuff that gets teenagers down. While we were talking, she made a couple of self-deprecating comments about herself and her appearance – and I was all over her ass. I am the queen of comments like these, but I have made such a concerted effort to stop it lately – and I think she should, too. It does nobody any good to put themselves down like that, even if it is meant in good fun. I wish someone had told me this when I was 17 years old; honestly, I wish someone had told me something – anything – like this when I was 17 years old. All it takes is one person to show an interest, to express concern, to care — and it can (and likely will) completely change the course of your life.
We don’t start out our days being so insecure and sensitive (thank the Lord) – somewhere along the way, though, life gets in the way and changes the essential make up of our brains. Read this passage from a great book that I read last year:
“When we’re born, we have an instinctual understanding of some of the most important basics of life that includes, and goes way beyond, bending at our knees instead of our lower backs, to pick a beer can up off the floor. We’re born knowing how to trust our instincts, how to breathe deeply, how to eat only when we’re hungry, how to not care about what anyone thinks of our singing voices, dance moves, or hairdos, we know how to play, create, and love without holding back. Then, as we grow and learn from the people around us, we replace many of these primal understandings with negative false beliefs, fear, shame, and self-doubt. Then we wind up in emotional and physical pain. Then we either numb our pain with drugs, sex, booze, TV, Cheetos, etc. Or we settle for mediocrity. OR we rise to the occasion, remember how truly mighty we are, and set out to relearn everything we knew at the beginning all over again.” (From Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass”)
So true, eh? I remember being a kid that sang all the damn time, whether anyone wanted to hear it or not. Then, when I was about 13 or so, I completely quit singing out loud – unless there was A LOT of booze involved and a group karaoke situation, I NEVER sang. Never. However, as I have aged, my give-a-shit has loosened (I think it’s broken, actually), and I have begun singing again. A lot of the time. I even rapped an Eminem song last year. Imagine. I remember singing a song with my Wee One at my mom’s house one day, and my mother being absolutely amazed at the sound of my voice – not that it was particularly good or anything, but just at the actual sound of it…she had forgotten what I sounded like. Funny, eh? Now, why did I care so much what other people thought of my voice? I kind of think my pathetic dance moves fall into the same category – I don’t dance EVER anymore. I know that my rhythm is sketchy at best, and I am not the most coordinated girl in town, but…why should I care? I remember the last man who asked me to dance actually prayed to God to give me rhythm while we were still on the dance floor – which made me not want to dance anymore…but that is completely stupid. Who cares if I have rhythm???? Who gives a shit????! I guess I have in the past, but I need to stop. Life is too damn short. Grr. I think I will just dance…it’ll be okay. 😉 (I hope you caught that Gaga reference)