WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
I was asked to speak at an event on Anti-Bullying Day to tell that story again. Over 1,000 people in the audience listened as I shared those two words that had paralyzed me for years earlier. And when I got done, there was a line of people that started outside of the room and ran up to the stage.
Capital Thinking • Issue #1168 • View online
I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was in the third grade and moved to a new town in the middle of the school year.
Moving to a new town when you are in third grade is hard. Moving to a new town when you are in third grade and it’s the middle of the school year is really hard.
Moving to a new town when you are in third grade and it’s the middle of the school year and you have awkwardly curly brown hair, thick brown glasses, buck teeth, and braces is impossible.
But I did my best to make it work.
Although, the calculator watch wasn’t a big help.
With the usual “stand in front of the room and introduce yourself to the class” stuff behind me, it was time for lunch on my first day of school, followed by recess.
If the idea of lunch and recess did not just make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, there’s an excellent chance that you were the reason the rest of us are still traumatized by our grade school years.
It all started fairly innocent.
The most popular girl in our class came up to me while on the playground and introduced herself.
“You’re Marc…the new kid, right?”
And then it took an odd turn.
I stood there for a second, trying to digest what she just said. Not realizing the verbal punch in the face I was about to receive.
And then she laughed and high-fived all of her friends as they stood behind her. Offering their moral support.
I turned around, and there was nobody there to back me up. To support me. To tell me that it wasn’t true. Or that she was mean. Or that she said stuff like that to everyone.
So, she must be right.
They eventually walked away. Leaving me there to finish telling the story that she had started on my behalf.
And I did a great job of it.
Those two words would define the next twenty-five years of my life. Constantly being whispered in my ear at times when I was the most vulnerable.
Should I try out for the basketball team? (pretty ugly)
Who should I sit with at lunch? (pretty ugly)
Should I ask that girl out? (pretty ugly)
I may not have said them aloud, but they were always there. Right in front of my nose. Until I got so used to them being there that they just became a part of my identity.
It wasn’t until many years later that I found myself at a seminar. Paired up with a girl sitting next to me and a challenge to share something difficult from our past.
I was forced to go first.
*Featured post photo by Bobby Mc Leod on Unsplash