I remember feeling really small and insignificant in grade six. I was awkward and skinny and I actually liked doing my school work and hanging out with my baby sister. I wasn’t cool or popular. I didn’t do cool or popular things. I was reminded of my uncoolness often, by a mean girl who would pass comments about my gangly legs and oversized hair accessories (thanks mom). The mean girl was cool, so everyone laughed at her jokes. I laughed too. Leeanne didn’t laugh though. **Leeanne was the only other girl in our class who was a little more awkward and skinny than I was. She also did her schoolwork quietly and stayed out of everyone’s way. And so, because I was being bullied and laughed at, I ended up bullying Leeanne.
My bullying of Leeanne lasted all of one day (coz my mama taught me better than that) but in that one day, I was so mean to Leeanne that she actually cried. And when she cried I smirked at her and said “cry baby!” Disgusting, I know. Why am I telling you this? Well, because I was pathetic. But more than letting you in on my patheticness, I wanted to tell you guys about the time where I was so hurt that I hurt another person.
I’ve often heard the saying “hurt people hurt people” but only grasped the notion when I was in my twenties, nursing a broken heart given to me by a boyfriend who had commitment issues because his dad had abandoned him. It then dawned on me: sometimes people don’t realise that they are duplicating the very behavior pattern that may have shaped (or ruined) their lives. Maybe we are the product of our life experiences. Maybe some of us are still learning to master the art of taking the hurt and turning it into good.
We often view another persons’s perceived mean streak/gossiping/back biting as a character flaw. “What is her problem?!” But in actual fact, what you are seeing is not their truth… they’re keeping their truth buried deep down underneath a pile of defense mechanisms that are hard to bypass. Instead, you are shown something else… a coping mechanism probably picked up a long time before you even came along. We are all working through our own set of issues, friends. You, me, the neighbor who yells at your kids, the co-worker who has a problem with everyone… we’re all going through some ish!
This realization has helped me to extend grace to people. I mean, I’m not saying it’s easy guys. It’s not. We don’t get it right all the time. We are human beings and we have a lot of feelings, man! My “humanism” sometimes gets the better of me and I throw the stink eye to the guy whose trolley keeps bashing into mine, at the store. But remembering that people are just people (most of them hurting and fighting their own battles), helps me to show kindness towards Cynthia down the hall (who clearly hates my blog). And yes, I know that Gladys at the gym laughs at my hair behind my back. That’s okay too. I’ll still be nice. Even though she thinks my niceness is pretentious.
Why? Because hurt people hurt people. So that means loving on people will undo the hurt, right? Or something like that. I guess what I’m trying to say is that adding more hurt to the equation won’t solve the problem.
**Leeanne’s name was changed to protect her identity, but also, I can’t remember the girls name and surname! I’m hoping to connect with her, one day, to apologize.