Rejection came to me at too tender an age; comprehension of it clearly eluded me.
In grade school, and before I could even think to fight back, I was ostracized by a circle of girls and not allowed in the jump rope games that were played, and very much looked forward to, during recess breaks.
The “law of the land” was simply for these girls to cross their arms and chant, “Criss, cross, double cross, nobody else can play with us!” That was it baby! You didn’t go up against that rule, even if you went to your teachers and complained about it.
So I ended up alone, and entertained myself by walking the school grounds, just having a look around. My love of nature had me peering into the many tropical flowers that grew there. I observed giant black and greenish-yellow caterpillars munching on tender leaves, soon to spin themselves into cocoons, and then to hatch into beautiful butterflies when their cocoons burst open and they could fly out to be free of this constriction. Plant identification was of particular interest to me as well, and I knew a lot about our island’s magnificent display of flora and fauna by then.
A wonderful camera bag given to me by a beloved aunt was also the subject of the mean girls’ criticism. I loved it because it was chock-full of pockets with zippers. This bag also contained many other compartments that held a plethora of items, of whatever it was a young girl had in mind to keep stored safely within. After more ridicule, because these girls deemed it wasn’t a “normal” purse such as the ones they carried, I then left it at home. They won again!
I now refer to these girls as “The Clan of Clamjamphries!” Back then I was very shy, quiet, and quite content with solitude long before some of it was forced upon me. The rejection from classmates pained me nonetheless. The fact that my mother had cut my straight blonde hair with bangs across my forehead, and a blunt cut all around in a short “Bob” style, didn’t help either.
One day when I went to the hardware store with my daddy, I gasped in horror as I approached a gallon can of “Dutch Boy” house paint…lo and behold, there I was on the label!
This is exactly how my mother used to cut my hair. From that day forward I just knew I was the ugly duckling of the entire school, and surrounding world! The world seemed only to revolve around those chosen few.
Later on, though, the boys started to befriend me. They witnessed my loneliness and rejection. However, this kindness from them only made matters worse. I was hated and rejected by those girls even more, but I kept my male friendships in spite of those awful girls. When I spoke of this ostracization to my mother, she told me this was happening because of my beautiful face. Later on as more of these “events” transpired, Mama said that my face was my curse! She didn’t intend for these words to denote a harmful connotation, it was just her way of letting me know that oftentimes beauty is despised by those who were jealous and spiteful. I never felt consoled by her words of comfort, and I continued to have this ugly duckling complex until I became somewhat older.
I somehow made it through grade school, and had lovely friends all through the intermediate and high school years, so the past just seemed to wash away with the tides of our lovely surrounding Pacific ocean. But as I emerged from my cocoon, finally, and was told I had become an even lovelier young woman, this is when many awful things happened to me; jealous women were always at the base of it.
Please, please don’t feel that I’m boasting about my looks, but I saw what came back to me in mirrors and photographs. I knew how I looked and who I was: a humble girl, who later became a humble woman. I never flaunted my looks or my talent. I remained earnest in whatever I did.
In spite of this, some women still did double back-bends to ensure I was made miserable, and to be further cast out of their circles. Some women even caused unwarranted trouble for me at jobs I held, this continuing all through my thirties. I didn’t start fighting back or holding my ground until I was much older.
At the age I am now, Lord help anyone who tries to start trouble for me ever again!
Finding out the hard way, that no one can fight your battles for you, I had to toughen up. This lesson was very difficult for me. I never bore malice toward any person. I was sweet and kind. I never caused trouble for anyone, and I hadn’t a jealous bone in my body. I had genuine warmth for all with whom I came in contact, and if anyone can love too much, this could definitely be said about me.
Presently, I hear and see on a daily basis, that bullying within the realm of school children has become even more brutal, and some are so tormented, that sadly, they take their own lives. Those who can’t fight back, bear the terrible burden of worry, fear and rejection, just as I had endured all those many years ago.
I was even sat upon by the class bully, who was a girl twice my weight and who towered over me. There was no way I could get up from the ground, or get her off me! There was no school monitor at recess to witness what was going on during my school years, so I know first-hand what some of these poor children go through today, which I can truthfully say is far worse than when I attended school.
I could go on a long diatribe of how things should be, but suffice it to say that as long as humans walk the face of this earth, there will be all sorts of wrongdoing…and wars shall never cease!
Reflecting through conscious rethinking, I can still feel the sting of rejection, and it grieves me soulfully, to see anyone suffer at the hands of another, then, and now. I know full well, the experience of feeling I was the odd one out, the ugly duckling, not being wanted or accepted, or to be considered as the underdog. I’m still very sensitive to the feelings of others and perhaps because of what I went through as a young girl, it has given me a deeper understanding of what people, and especially of what children go through, when the world around them seems so cruel and they can’t get the proper help, love or encouragement they so badly need.
What’s the answer to it all? I do know that more public awareness needs to be made, and for this awareness to be ongoing. Every school needs a qualified person to be a monitor of children’s activities during play time. Fights must never be allowed, pushing or bullying, unacceptable as well, and some of it punishable by detention after school, or having problem students suspended. The really bad cases should be expelled! Not everyone will like us and this I can fully understand, however, what’s happening in our world today is just plain unconscionable!
I wish I could fully express what it feels like at the levels of persona and psyche, of a child who is ridiculed or rejected. I can only relate to you, that it is an awful place to find yourself in. A child loses confidence, thinking that he or she is unfit, stupid, abnormal, and often times feeling ugly, being the worst of it.
Soon the child stops wanting to participate in school games or many other activities. This then sets up a host of lifelong problems, having these tender and precious children feeling they are never good enough, not up to speed, or just plain don’t fit in. Here is where the perfect stage is set for low self-esteem to develop…and devour a beautiful and most often very talented young person.
I learned a long time ago to be self contained, and that I could enjoy the solitude that was forced upon me. Now I actually prefer it. My world consists of writing, which definitely calls for the quiet I need, and with no distraction. I love my horse and the peaceful rides along the countryside, and the connection I have with this gorgeous creature. I’m a published writer, and a songwriter with many beautiful tunes composed, and all in all, I learned to overcome loneliness and rejection.
It took a very long time for the timidity, the angst and pangs of this loneliness and rejection to just drift off somewhere into my subconscious. The present finds me defending people who are being bullied. It doesn’t matter if it’s a woman being treated disrespectfully in public, as I went after a husband in a retail store one day and let him know that what he was saying to his wife…was abusive! I never gave thought to the possibility that I may have been hurt. An alarm goes off! Maybe it’s bravado? Adrenaline perhaps? Or…just plain Deputy Barney Fife mode kicking in! I come out with the scruff of my neck hair raised, and with my “dukes up!”
I feel that many others who’ve experienced what I went through all those years ago, probably feel the same way. It would be my hope that those who met with the same experience, will now “puff up” and take the same stance, when they see bullying or abuse taking place. Keep in mind that David DID slay Goliath, but be very careful here!
When a soul is so sensitive, many feelings and vibrations come through. We hurt differently I think, stronger, or maybe much more tenderly. We are different! This difference, though, can be used to help others who are going through so much suffering at the hands of others. We are here to give comfort, to lend a helping hand as best we can, and to comfort and soothe the ruffled feathers of their very troubled souls. We can do it…we just have to be aware and watch for it!
And, after all this time, I sincerely hope the “Clan of Clamjamphries” turned out to be good and proper women. I certainly hold no animosity toward them any longer!
*Clamjamphries, noun, of Scottish origin. Meaning: rubbish, rabble, low, worthless people, spoken nonsense.