When I was in 4th or 5th grade I was invited to a friend’s backyard camping birthday party. My mom used to babysit her a bit back in the day and I considered her a good friend. We used to trade Pokemon cards, have sleepovers and watch movies together while eating ranch flavored popcorn. Although she was one of the “popular girls” we hung out together and I felt really cool being at one of her parties with all of her chic and rich friends. I was just excited to be there playing Truth or Dare, drinking soda, paging through beauty magazines. This was what the popular girls did and I was mingling and mixing with them flawlessly. It came to my friend’s turn in the game of Truth or Dare when she picked truth. She then quickly turned to me while everyone was watching, like she had been waiting all night for this moment and said “Carli, I only invited you to my party because you invited me to your birthday and my mom said I had to” Some of the girls laughed, others turned to me and gave me sympathetic faces. You could probably imagine the unbearable wave of absolute dread and nausea that rushed through me. I immediately realized I was trapped, held captive in this tiny tent in her backyard filled with girls who didn’t want anything to do with me. I was suffocating. I remember thinking “I want to go home, I want to go home” I was desperately rethinking everything I had ever known, I was doubting everything about myself from the way I talked, walked, dressed, acted. Grasping at who I thought I was. Critiquing anything and everything I was good at, maybe I was really bad at it, maybe every time someone smiled at me it was really because of an inside joke at my expense or worse, out of pity… I’m officially a joke, the girl no one really wants around. The girl who totally fell for the Invitation Trick and actually showed up! It was probably the oldest trick in the book, and I fell right into the live trap and they were about to throw me into the pit of poisonous snakes. But if I left now I would be made fun of for the rest of the night, the rest of my LIFE maybe. So I stayed all night and left early the next day. I faced the music head on and made the best I possibly could out of a rotten situation.
I don’t know why I just remembered this today, It’s been so many years since and I know at that age I had probably tried to push it out of my mind. I’m glad I didn’t recall that memory any sooner in my life or it would have probably, in some way scarred my psyche. What would have happened if I ran? What would happen if I had called my mom right then and there and walked out on those girls snickering behind my back? I would have been a totally different person. I shudder to think how those preteens could have trampled my self esteem at such a young age, it really could have ruined everything for me. It’s so ridiculous how easily someone’s life can change, how mailable our minds are and how easily we doubt ourselves when it seems like everyone in the world who matters hates you. But it didn’t change anything, not even close. If anything, it just made me a bad ass.
I hope this story was somewhat interesting enough to read all the way through. I’d really like to hear some of your stories of how you were faced with a situation that you had to fight through and be true to yourself in order to face the future with pride. I hope I’ve inspired you in some small way to be proud of your own self worth and to appreciate how powerful your self respect and self esteem can be.
I have my period.
A little inspiration for your day.