When I was a kid I was chubby.
The kids in my class used to call me “Chubby Chicken”.
The words stung, but they didn’t scar
and I remember crying but not sobbing.
I would lie awake at night because the insult itched but I never allowed myself to scratch it raw…
because I knew the sadness would pass,
all I needed was patience.
I don’t really know where the patience came from. It could have been because I had a family I knew loved me unconditionally.
Maybe it was because I had a few loyal friends and therefore was not utterly alone.
It could be in part because I had stuff to do (chores and homework and piano practice) that kept me busy enough that the insults didn’t weigh on my mind every minute of every hour and only when I lay silent and still in my bed at night.
Was it because I had books and could escape into the lives of others- those characters that faced brutality leagues above my own hurt feelings (Jane Eyre, Ann Frank, the March sisters?) or witness those who caused undue pain on others to suffered the wrath of an unassuming hero, (Hercule Poirot)?
I think it was because I realized that
those spewing their hurtful opinion were people of no significance so their opinion amounted to
nothing but the hot air they used to move the words from their lips.
Indifference was the best revenge.
It pains me to see kids at the school I teach hide behind their hair, or under their hat, and skulk away in fear of being teased.
And I wish they would believe me when I tell them
this too will pass
and that puberty can be purgatory. But it will pass.
It will pass.
And that most of the time the words of others don’t have to be sharp as stings, but rather as unsubstantial as hot air.