Fitting In

 

 

Fitting In

 

“Nobody usually sits with me on the bus.”

I hear the softly spoken words laced with so very much sadness, and my heart beats hard in my chest, pounding with indignation over the hurt feelings of this tender-spirited child.

 

Out loud, I say, “Well, that doesn’t matter, right? Your company is fantastic! If they don’t get to enjoy it, that’s their loss.”

 

“No one else does this the same way, Mom.”

 

I hear the frustration and self-criticism seep into the syllables and my pride rears up, ready to defend.

 

“That’s nothing for you to worry about– don’t ever try to hide your abilities just to make others more comfortable. Embrace theirs and always, always show kindness, but don’t hide who you are.

 

“He called me ugly.”

 

And my heart crashes to the floor. Never mind that, on all that is good and holy, I swear this child stops people in their tracks, not from being ugly but from being, well, visually appealing. Never mind that there is not even a sliver of a possibility that there is any truth to the statement, I feel simply broken that the words were ever uttered.

 

I say firmly, “Well, you are NOT. Not only are you bright and kind and fun, you are also lovely. There’s a reason people tell you that all the livelong day. If he can’t see that, work harder to make him see how strong and loving and determined you are.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

My children are happy kids.

 

They’re pretty well-liked, honestly. We haven’t had to deal with any devastating bullying or any of that.

 

But, sometimes, they feel left out. Ignored. Criticized. Not ENOUGH.

 

So I say the words. I wrap them up, hold them close, build them back up. Over and over, I remind them to rise up, ignore the naysayers, be encouraged.

 

And then I read a critical comment. 

 

Or open a carelessly construed email.

 

Or realize that I’ve been kept “out of the loop.”

 

I curl within myself, convinced I am less, convinced that I lack, convinced I’m not worthy.

 

Because, really…

 

I’m not sure we ever truly stop wanting to fit in.

 

 

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5 comments to Fitting In

  • Jennie

    I find it so much easier to protect my children than myself. I build them up and totally let others take me down. I don’t have the answers except I pray to God that he does for me what I do for my children.

    Hang in there. Know that you are His Beloved.

  • Mary

    Quite a while back I quit caring what others thought of me. I’m not sure how I do it but I just don’t let others negative words bother me more than a minnit (can’t find the right spelling so leaving this as is) or two. I know I’ve been through enough teasing and other bad stuff that I got tired of feeling bad for myself because of others statements. So I guess you could say I do what you do for your children for myself as well as for my children. I also do it for others when I can. Some how I learned to keep myself from adopting others bad attitude.

    Thank you JessieLeigh for your blog, I enjoy reading it every chance I get. And I AGREE with Jennie!

    • I have so much respect and admiration for your approach and perspective, Mary. What an incredible example you set for your children in being able to do so! I fear that I am very sensitive– probably TOO sensitive– and that’s not always a good thing. I’ve tried hard to change it, but that didn’t work too well for me. I’m now trying to put that vulnerability to good use. :) (And, truly, thank you so much for your kind words. They bring me so much happiness!)

  • Laraba

    One thing I believe STRONGLY is that we shouldn’t dismiss our children’s feelings when they run into a situation like that. Yes, all those things you say are true, but I think it is important to agree that it hurts when people say harsh and mean things. I will admit that I was extremely traumatized by bus rides when I was a junior high and high school student. There were large, foul mouthed bullies on our bus and the bus driver just ignored it. I am thankful I rarely had to ride as my dad worked at the school and usually could take me to and from school. I wish, though, that my parents had not sent the message “you just have to deal with it” because I wanted acknowledgement that it was Ok to be sad and upset and hurt by what was said and done.
    We homeschool partly because I was very traumatized by my school experience, and that’s the honest truth. I had a lousy time in public school, as did my husband, and definitely that fueled our homeschool decision. For me, the bullying and teasing didn’t make me tough — it made me cover up who I was and hurt me deeply. Most people I know had better experiences…praise the Lord!

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