Saturday night, after volunteering at my sister-in-law’s Irish Dance Benefit, Chris and I met Julie and Mel out at Bier Market. There, I saw my junior high best friend. I was SO excited to see her. She was less than excited to see me. She was cold and distant. She seemed to want to get away from me as soon as possible and it REALLY hurt my feelings. You would have thought I had spread some evil rumor about her that ruined her reputation (i didn’t!) from the way she treated me.
I have never had the best self confidence. School was HARD for me. I realize that there are a lot of people who had it much harder than I did. But when you are 12 years old, it seems like no one could possibly have it worse than you. I was awkward- with glasses, braces and curly hair that I had no idea to manage. I prefered theatre to sports and spent hours reading. I spent grade school recess sitting on the edge of the playground by myself and didn’t find out until after high school that a group of the ‘popular’ girls had given me a truly nasty nickname. It was petty. Petty, stupid and child-ish. And I would be lying if I told you it didn’t still sting a little to this very day.
Things turned around for me in college. I grew into my body, learned to handle my curly hair and gained the confidence I needed to find the friends that would stand by me through thick and thin. I am thankful every day for these ladies…
People I meet as an adult often find all this hard to believe. They think I seem like the cheerleader type. Homecoming queen or Little Miss Popularity It makes me laugh. But, Saturday night, at that bar, I was taken back to a place of self-doubt. I was made to question who I was and what I had become. The person who had been the very best friend to me through the most awkward years of my life was suddenly too uncomfortable around me to even chat a moment and catch up. It may have been petty, and it probably shouldn’t have bothered me, but it hurt.
As I think back on it today, with new clarity, I realize that the person I was does not get to define who I am. I am a talented, beautiful woman. I have AMAZING FRIENDS and a HANDSOME HUSBAND who love me for who I am. I will not be torn down by this.
I am pretty, not petty.