Some of my earliest memories are of kids being mean to me. I never understood why. My first memories of kindergarten were children laughing and calling me stinky and “Poo-Poo Girl” because I smelled like cigarette smoke since my grandparents were chain smokers. The great and incomparable
Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I do remember what was said. I remember everything.
Kindergarten: Poo-Poo girl, Stinky, and I was teased for having a chili bowl haircut.
First Grade: Hey Poo-Poo girl.
Second Grade: I moved, but the kids were still just as mean. Fatty Fatty they would chant as they threw food at me when the teacher's back was turned.
Third grade: I moved again. This was the longest and, by far, the most horrible of all. My grandparents decided to buy a trailer and live on my great-grandmother's land in Rice, Texas. It was dry. It was hot. It was dusty. We lived on a dirt road. Rice was an old railroading town, but it didn't boom like some did. The town didn't have a high school at the time I was there. Not enough kids in the town to warrant the budget. The older kids were shipped to the nearest town, almost a half and hour away. The cliques were strong. If you didn't wear a certain type of clothing, or if your parents didn't make enough money, you didn't belong. We were poor and couldn't afford the en vogue clothing at the time. I also chipped my tooth when I was seven and my grandmother didn't see a need to get it fixed until I was older. You can imagine what it was like for me. Here I was, overweight, poor, girl who smelled like second-hand smoke.
“Move along, Thunder thighs!”
By the time I was sixteen, after I moved in with my mother and her ex, I was diagnosed with depression. We lived in a more affluent neighborhood. I was okay being invisible in the large school. I was mostly ignored. But the home life was not the best. “Worthless piece of shit”, “Product of a Rape” “Worthless. You are worthless.” It wasn't her. It was him. Years of being mentally broken. Years of wanting to end my life. I believed it. I believed the horrible things. It is so much easier to believe the negative than to see the positive. I felt truly worthless. I felt like I had no value. His love and acceptance was based on how well I looked, or acted, or how many accomplishments he could take credit for. When I didn't do what he wanted, the names.
Years later I am better. I realized that it wasn't me. I wasn't the problem. They were. I had value. I was worthy of love and kindness. However, more often than I want to admit, the voices rear their ugly heads and I relive the trauma. But another voice pops in and says, “No. You are beautiful and kind. You matter.”
And for once, I believe it.