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Monday, April 30, 2007

The Others (Part Two)

I had been thinking of writing that "others" post for a long time. Then several weeks ago, I got an email from Traci. Her email and my response made me want to write about those kids even more. And after I wrote about them, and heard your responses, I decided to share selected parts of Traci's and my email exchange (with Traci's consent; thank you, Traci).

Dear Susie:

I've worked this email out in my head a gazillion times. Each time I sat down to write it, I either didn't have the time to make it the way I wanted it, had too many tears over something else entirely or I would write "Dear Susie" and think "I just canNOT do this today." . . . I think of you every single day and send a little prayer your way and tell myself "Write the freakin' email" and I don't. There's just so much...stuff. . . The truth is we all have our "stuff" and I've simply been overwhelmed by mine . . .

. . . Several weeks ago, I left a comment at your place about thinking I wouldn't like you or something and being pleasantly surprised that I do. You replied that my comment made you laugh for some reason (which made me laugh btw) and that if the spirit took me, I could write and explain . . .

. . . When I was a young girl in school there were...issues...for lack of a better word. I was an ugly kid and weird on top of it. The reasons are many and I'm not even going to go into them. To say I had a hard time in school would be downplaying it in the extreme. If there was a popular group, you could say that my end of the life spectrum was so far away from that it may as well have had its own spectrum completely. When I visited your blog, my first reaction was that it was one big clique-y kind of place (there are those in bloggerville) and I'd never comment...just read...anyway, there was just something about you that kept drawing me back. I lurked for awhile and you just kept touching my heart . . .

It's funny how things that happen to us early on can affect us so deeply that later, when we really are different people than we were, they still affect us in ways we don't expect. I didn't expect to be touched by you and I was and am and it surprises me still. I shut so much of myself off even now that when something opens my heart it is amazing. Thank you for that gift. . .


And part of my reply:

Dear, dear Traci,
First, I won't be able to respond to your email in the way it deserves, because it evokes so much in me. Stuff I've even wanted to write a post about. I was a popular kid, pretty much throughout school. But I was a popular kid who had no friends. They probably wouldn't say that; but that's how I felt. Because no one really knew me. They knew I dressed nicely enough and I got good grades. They didn't know about my parents' various addictions . . . domestic violence . . . . abuse. So, on the inside, I was as weird as they come, honey. I was never unkind to the "target" kids. I had no idea why I wasn't one of them. It was a "there but for the grace of God go I," kind of thing, before I was even old enough to understand or articulate that sentiment. I think the kids that were mean to unpopular kids also had a sense that at any minute they could become the target; but their way of handling it was to go on the offensive and not give anyone a chance to notice their weirdness, their vulnerabilities. I handled mine, as best I could, with humor and kindness. Not sure why. I give credit to God, to a Sunday School which, while very conservative, was also very welcoming and loving. Jesus has always been my friend. That's partly why it hurts and angers me so, that religiosity was used against you.

If people come to my blog and leave, it's because they get bored, or pissed, or whatever, but I hope it's not because I'm not welcoming to them. We are ALL dealing with some shit. It takes different forms, we express it in different ways, but I have yet to meet the person who doesn't have something big and scary somewhere inside, past or present. And if not, then it's future. None of us get through this life scot-free (is that the right word? I don't know that I've ever written that, it looks funny).

I remember a post of yours about your being an ugly kid, in a restaurant. I don't know whether you posted a picture, but in my mind, I see you, and you're cute as can be. We all have pictures of ourselves that make us cringe. I had a unibrow and buckteeth. But when we grow up to have a heart, and we look at little children, we can see that there's no such thing as an ugly child. Ugly is in the heart of the beholder. Ugly, as far as a child is concerned, is only what's projected onto her from ugly adults. And that projection makes her carry herself in a certain way, express herself (or not) in certain ways, develop mannerisms, etc.

I'm not a visual person. I remember what people say. Somebody has to look almost ALARMING (good or bad) for me to remember what they look like. I honest-to-God don't remember if you've ever posted a picture of yourself, old or current. But I know that you're beautiful. *You sang to me. You shared with me, a stranger, a gift that God gave you. Beautiful.

The post I have thought many times of writing, is about the kids who got picked on. I remember them all: Rose, Barbara, Joyce, Bonita, Mary... and I hope that they are living well, as revenge . . .

Thank you for taking time, Traci. I know what it means to take time when you're overwhelmed. It's no small thing, and I am very thankful . . .


*Shortly after I "met" Traci, she emailed me a recording of her singing Amazing Grace. It was lovely, and meant a lot to me that she would share herself in that way with a stranger.


If you want to read more, Traci's Spingle post is a continuation of this subject matter.

I'll be at least a little bit funny in a couple of days, I promise.

18 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger lawbrat said...

Susie,
That was a beautiful post. I can see where a person may think 'clicky', because most commenters are very often the same. Yet, you are so special and open to all. You exude love and respect.

I'm going to visit cutie Traci's site and check it out.

From coming here, I've gone to sites I never would have know about, and they usually turn out to be some of the best sites ever.

I have learned so much from you and getting to know you. The love you have in your heart- just amazing. That day you took the time to find my phone number, had the 'honor' of speaking to my nosy mother, getting my phone number- I'll never forget that.

Much love to you, and much more prayers.

Love,
Peaches

 
Blogger Squirl said...

Susie, that was wonderful. Thank you, both of you, for sharing this touching, emotional story.

 
Anonymous Sharkey said...

Yes, funny is good, but this is better. And so was your last post, but I was at work without time to comment, and I never made it back here to do it.

Reading others' blogs has made me more aware of how much we're all alike on the inside, no matter how much we try to hide it from each other on the outside. If only we could learn that lesson a lot earlier in life.

 
Blogger mrtl said...

Susie,

You are a magnet. People are drawn to you because you ooze warmth and compassion. You look for the good, the beauty in people, and don't overlook those who don't share your beliefs. You make everyone feel special.

I'm sure you're going to say that everyone is beautiful and special. If only this wasn't second nature to more people.

 
Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

You mean it's NOT clicky? That's it!
! I'm outta here!!

 
Anonymous sheryl said...

You rock the empathy and respect!
Or, what mrtl said.

I remember that spingle post from a post of yorus a while back... Susie, thank you for sharing, sharing love and sharing your understanding of people with us, for drawing attention to the important stuff. You may not realize how much you touch people.

For some reason, no matter what I write it sounds dirty today. I've just edited the above no less than five times! Blast you and your fine, Nilbo.

word verification: ackshhit
I was kinda unsure about including that...but couldn't pass it up. Ok, I'll just say it's in honor of Bucky.

 
Blogger Susie said...

lawbrat, :) I don't think I'll ever forget that day I got all up in your bidniss, either ;) There are an awful lot of really wonderful people who stop in here.

squirl, you are welcome, sis, and thank you for saying such nice things.

shawkey, What you said, I think that's why I wanted to share these two posts. We are all more alike than different.

mrtl, that is so sweet, you know I have to say, now, You have a blessed day. ;)

mrB, how 'bout sticky? We can do sticky...

sheryl, ackshhit! Sounds like a new sneeze. Thank you for saying nice things; I did get points at Nilbo's for touching people ;)

 
Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Susie and Traci - Hugs. You're both beautiful.

I'll second what Mrtl said... and third it.

Love you.

Word Ver: bjensu - Being just you.

 

Traci and Susie, thank you.

 
Blogger WILLIAM said...

Susie and Traci,
Thanks for sharing that exchange. I feel lucky to be considered part of this "click" amongst people like you two.

 
Blogger Cindy said...

Sometimes I have one of those days where I feel like the world is comprised of only mean spirited, selfish people. Then, I take a break and read a few blogs and come to your page and a feeling of peace and goodness fills me again. (Kinda like my mid-week Sunday service?) I have hope again. Hope and faith - in people and the world in general. This post is again a timely post for me - and I'm sure for others as well. I needed a reminder today - and if I need that reminder a month from now, I know where to go.

Thank you Susie - and Traci - and love, hope, and faith to you!

 
Blogger Nina said...

For some reason I feel like my favorite poem of all time is needed here.

Parts of each of us
were broken in childhood.
Most have healed
like bone, stronger
than before.

But some break
over and over
finally mending,
not with a limp
more a faltering

for which we've learned
to compensate by
walking tightrope over canyons
and doing handstands
on flagpoles,

letting the world
see us whole.

Fragile balance
a way of life.

Sherman Burns ~ From the Heart

 
Blogger little sister said...

Great post, Susie and guest Traci :)

I love the 21st century. The blogosphere has expanded my intellectual and emotional abilities tremendously, and you have played ane awesome role for that in me, Susie. I really appreciate your sending me nice comments or e-mail just to see how I'm doing during my little bump in the road here, even though you've had WTF disease for a lot longer.

Thanks! :D

 
Blogger Susie said...

ck, thank you. Now go study!

htgt, you're welcome, from both of us, I'm sure.

william, thanks; the feeling is mutual.

cindy, thank you. I always feel better about anything I post when it has some meaning for someone other than me. Both Traci and I had some misgivings about posting this, but we both ultimately hoped it would be helpful to someone.

nina, I had never seen that, but it's incredibly accurate. Wow. Thanks.

lilsis, you are very welcome; just want you to kick cancer's ass as quickly and completely as possible :)

 
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

...what Mrtl said, ditto me...well, what everybody said... dittoooo...

...pass the kleenex.

 
Anonymous LadyBug said...

You are such a gift to me, Susie. God bless you and keep you, my friend.

 
Blogger Traci said...

It's taken me a few days, Susie honey, however I want you to know how much I appreciate your thoughtful treatment of a difficult subject. You rock my friend.

 
Anonymous aprilmommy said...

I have been lurking her for a while now... This post and the first "others" post really hit me. I was not a popular kid, I was a target kid. The stories I could tell...

I loved this post especially when you said that you could picture Traci as a child and she is beautiful. I always thought I was an ugly little girl. For years I have worked to overcome this feeling about myself, but what truly cured me was my beautiful second daughter who came to my family. You see, she is a perfect replica of me. If you take my baby pictures and put them next to her, we are almost identical. She is now four and I wouldn't change a thing about her. It has really made me realize that I was beautiful too, but I was so absorbed in what others would say that I took the mean things to heart and let them influence what I thought about myself.

May we all realize that we are beautiful creatures. I plan to live well and happy as my "revenge" as you so beautifully put it.

 


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