Today, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today's Little Ditty, has my ME poem, written in response to Lee Bennett Hopkins' Ditty of the Month Club challenge. It is a poem that is about a pivotal moment in your childhood - something that changed the way you thought about something, something that changed you in some way.
I have a few moments like that in my childhood, but the one that came to mind immediately was one that happened when I was probably somewhere between age 8 and 10. It had a huge impact on my life, and I wish I could have spoken to that person in my future adult voice when it happened, and asked them what in the world they thought they were doing, and how did they think that would help me. But I was just a kid, and if a grown up said something, it was probably true. The remark was one they would today most likely have no memory of ever having said (if they were, in fact, still alive today). I never ever saw this person again, but I didn't need to; the words stuck in my head and affected the way I thought of my self from then on.
No matter how thin I would become (and I would at one point become very thin), I would never think of myself as "thin" again. There would always be something unacceptable about my shape.
I wish I could take back, for him, what he said; I'm sure he didn't intend it to be mean. I wish I had not heard him. I wish our paths hadn't crossed. I wish he knew how much it had hurt when he said it. I wish he knew how long the hurt had lasted. But I really wish I'd understood how much it didn't matter - how much I didn't need his approval - how I should have taken it with a grain of salt. For I was not even chubby. I was not overweight. I was just a healthy kid, probably in an outgrown red jersey. See? I even remember the shirt.
Heavy or not heavy, chubby or not chubby... my life has been WAY more than just okay. And I take back the wish that he could know how much it had hurt, and how I'd run to my mother to ask her if it was true. I would not want him to know. I'm sure he didn't mean it. It could never have been taken back - once spoken, it has hit its mark. I tried to push it to the back of my mind - ignore it - not take it seriously, as my mother had advised. It was mine to choose to ignore or dwell on. I tried to ignore, as my mother had said... but it still resurfaced at various times... now I'm thinking that I may have dwelled on it a fair bit!
Perhaps the good in it (and I like finding that good in all things) is that it helped me to never say something like this to anyone. I'm going with that good thought about it. Because it did. Maybe that is the more significant "change" that actually occurred - one infinitely more important than the forever changed "body image".
Please visit Michelle's Today's Little Ditty today where Michelle is sharing my poem, and other ME poems, too!