I caught a bit of the BBC 1 program “The Gift” tonight about a bully wanting to appologise to the boy he bullied at school many years ago, so of course I’ve been crying but it did make me think of my own experiences of being bullied. I was bullied at primary school by the girls and then moved schools to a girls only school but the bullying continued. Did I tell teachers and family – yes: My father’s comments at the time were his hands were tied, only to tell me when back in touch fifteen years later he wished he’d known I was; my mother’s attitude was girls will be girls, something that does not help when every day is a misery with it all and hoping each day it will change for the better but it never does.
I will admit by the age of 14 the idea of suicide was never far from my thoughts, I wanted to self harm but knew that would only cause more attention from them, which I did not want. Indeed eczema on my arms from the stress of it, which led to had quips on if I had been taking drugs! Losing my hair fully when young to being laughed at for being stupid, and taking all my school books for the day in one bag (as my mother wouldn’t let me use a locker like normal people encase I forgot something), looking back at times I think it is no wonder I was bullied for being different. However, being different is not a fault of any sort, in fact my school year was abnormally small so I stood out in our very fetching bottle green uniform.
To those of you that were at school with me, you know who I have grown into but not necessarily the journey it has taken me to put it all behind me. I would not want to meet some of those that bullied me then as for me it is in the past and has added to the colour of the person I am. I do not wish anyone else I care about to experience the pain and misery I felt in those years, so do what I can for my closest friends. I am a stronger, compassionate and loving person for the experiences. I was told by two different people it was said “nobody is friends with Fiona” to any new pupil starting; I won’t appologise for being your friend, as I appreciate you for what you bring to my life. They may have won battles, but I won the war.
It will soon be Valentine’s Day, is it a commercial celebration in the name of love or a day of romance and love? Aside from the usual questions of: do we need one day to celebrate our love for another when our words, thoughts and actions show it every day to can a monetary value and a gift really be bought that symbolises something so special and unique between two people. Personally, I do not think it ever can.
Instead I have been pondering, just what is love? One word, a hundred and one emotions and feelings. What it means to me maybe very different to you or another; for many it is how that person looks, e.g. their dark brown eyes or sense of humour, not how that person makes them feel when in their company, how their trust is unspoken instead and love them that person for who they are on the inside not outside.
When I say who they are on the inside it makes me think of pistachio nuts, no I am not being crazy. Think for a moment about the outside of pistachios, they can be uninviting or perhaps boring, but when opened reveal a brilliant green; just as when we look beyond the surface shell of another, tap that bit deeper, and we may discover others that if judged by their shells alone, we would never know the real them.
There is something uniquely special, intimate and comforting about holding someone’s hand. Perhaps as it something that reminds us of earliest childhood, that comforting feeling when a large hand enclosed our little one, creating bonds and memories throughout our lifetimes. Then as we become teenagers we no longer want to feel the hand in ours as want to feel the freedom of not being tied to our parents or anyone else.
We touch or hold hands with the person we love as bonds us together, symbolising that two souls are touching and uniting. It may not be a kiss but a clear signal to ourselves and others of our love for another. A Pagan wedding tradition is for handfasting, which entails gentle wrapping cords around the bride and groom’s clasped hands and tying a knot, symbolically binding the couple together in their declaration of unity.
As adults ourselves, we are the ones with the big hands, which comfort and bond with our little ones. We connect with friends and strangers alike in stress and crisis. We also want to hold our parents hands as now look wrinkled and older now, they seem more fragile as the child’s and want to relive our own happy and carefree memories from childhood without the responsibilities that being a grown up has brought to us.
Today is a day the United Nations has marked as “International day of persons with disabilities.”
For some a disability is something they can see, for example someone that has a physical disability so use a wheelchair, those with a learning difficulty such as autism and people with a visual or hearing issue.
There are also hidden disabilities such as dyspraxia and dyslexia that impact on our ability to learn, mental health issues varying from depression and bipolar to PTSD and schizophrenia, and epilepsy to brain injury.
Despite any disability we are all human, with a heart to love with compassion and empathy. So is it not about time we stopped the stigmatism of disability, appreciate we all cannot do everything, and there is always someone who has it harder than us.
Today has been termed “Black Friday” where retailers try to entice us to buy yet more goods we do not need; it won’t improve our lives to own something and nor will we look cool to show off what we bought on social media. At a time when many people are struggling to pay their rent, bills and food, do we really need to buy more?
Instead I would like to use it as a day we think of the darkness or black in the world. Not everyone has a place to call home, a job or people to call family. Equally, many live with physical and mental conditions or coming to terms with terminal ones. Also, many these days have a sense of “as long as I’m ok!” Where is the empathy?
As well as thinking of black in the world, let us send hope and peace with light of multicolour to brighten up the world. We need love, empathy and compassion to all living creatures of this world. Finally, let us breakdown barriers and labels we use to judge others, respecting and appreciate all.