Monday, October 25, 2010


I just read this:

Thank you, Keisha, for posting the link on Facebook. I have also been thinking about this issue a LOT lately with all the news going on regarding children committing suicide over being bullied. When I read the blog post from "Single Dad Laughing", I could barely breathe. I suddenly had the overwhelming need to help...share my own story...pray...anything. Therefore, I am including an essay that I wrote almost 3 years ago. I wrote it for an essay contest in a magazine asking to describe the "most important moment in your life". I didn't win the contest; I actually never even heard a word about it and forgot I wrote this. However, after reading the blog post today, I feel compelled to share it. It doesn't go very deep into the actual bullying that I experienced, but it does show how much it helps to find your own self confidence and self worth. I should try to write more about what happened to me, if only so that Colin can read it one day and realize how important it is to love others and treat them with respect. I don't know if sharing this silly essay will help anyone at all...but I want to do it regardless. I apologize for the terrible formatting, this was saved as a Word document on my computer and I just did a cut and paste of the whole thing.

Albeit Small

Hiding in a crevice of my mind behind the moment I got married and the birth of my baby boy rests the most important moment of my life. It is tucked in the shadow of football games and boyfriends, dusty beneath the time I got caught sneaking out of the house and my first kiss. If I push aside the memory of building a fort in the creek by my parent’s house, I can just see it…I was 13 years old and miserable.

Middle school was horrible. I attended the “good” school, which meant that I was surrounded by the prettiest girls with the best clothes and the cutest boys with the coolest stuff. The sweet days of elementary school were long gone and had been quickly replaced by the in-crowd and the vast wasteland of the very much NOT-in crowd. I was tiny for my age at this time and for some reason that I could never identify, this qualified me for the role of class joke. I was teased mercilessly every single day for almost two years. When the girls came back from summer vacation with boobs and I was still a little sprite who looked all of 9 years old, it got worse. The terror of those years still burns with white-hot heat when I revisit the memory. I had a little journal that I kept hidden in my room and I used to write about what it would be like to die…disappear…just cease. I hated myself and life and while these are big statements for a child, I had learned that surviving my adolescence meant living in a place of vibrant sorrow. School was torture in its purest form. The pinnacle of my persecution happened one afternoon as I waited outside for my Dad to pick me up. The whole school, including me, waited outside on the wide expanse of green lawn for their rides. I was wearing a pink track suit that fall day and a girl named Laura with bright red hair and lots of cool friends walked up to me and pulled my pants down. Right there in front of the whole school, she pulled my pretty hot pink wind pants down around my ankles. Even at 31 years old, the clarity of that split second sits frozen, unwilling to shift into the watercolor of hazy memory. This particular moment signifies the bottom of my childhood despair, but it is not the most important. We are getting there, my friends.

At the beginning of the 8th grade, something inside me began to shift. I started to realize that while I was not cool, I was smart. There was a boy in my class named David who was also not cool in the least bit, but he was hilarious. He was a friend that I had grown up with and he was always clever beyond his years. The huge class elections were coming up and I decided, with more than a slight amount of sarcasm, that I was going to be Vice President of our school. The cool kids were already gearing up and deciding amongst themselves who was going to hold each office and I suddenly knew exactly what I was going to do…beat every single one of them. I hired my friend Dave as my campaign manager. The campaign managers made a small speech ahead of the candidates and that was my ace in the hole. I was Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles and about to have my “Jake Ryan” moment! My amazing Mama stayed up making posters night after night with my slogan, “The Best Things Come in Small Packages”. Nobody paid me a single moment’s notice leading up to those speeches and you could practically hear the music building to a crescendo as I sat on that huge stage waiting for my turn to shine. Dave took the podium ahead of me in our mammoth gymnasium as the whole student body looked on in a state of unmasked boredom. You see, what those beautiful, popular, mean girls with boobs and golden highlights had forgotten was that the kids two full grades below us did not know them. They had no clue who was cool and who wasn’t and they got to vote, too! So Dave stood up and began his hysterical speech about why I should be the Vice President of our illustrious middle school. We had gone through and picked every single thing that I was teased about and Dave turned it all into a stand-up comedy act about why I should run the school. Dave was, and still is, a genius with words. Within seconds, the whole student body was crying with laughter. I remember the deafening sound, made louder by the echoing walls of the gym, shaking the stage we were sitting on. By the end of the speech, Dave could not even be heard over the laughter and I was, in the blink of an eye, a rock star. I took the stage from Dave to the roar of the crowd and made a great big show of pulling the big block up to the podium so that I could be seen over it. Suddenly the laughter was for me and I remember closing my eyes and basking in the warmth of acceptance. I leaned over the microphone and told those kids all about being a dork and not being cool and getting made fun of constantly. I told them that I did not have near as many friends as the other people sitting on the stage. I told them that while my little circle of life was not as esteemed as my fellow candidates, my friends were funnier and I was nicer and most of all, I was just like them. While existing solely in their land of perfection and isolation, the popular kids failed to recognize during that fall of 1990 that while they were unequivocally the in-crowd, I was the masses…and I kicked their well-heeled butts. The voting results were announced the next day and my name was posted up on the huge school sign like a beacon of hope. I won. I beat them. I took my power back from them. I found me.

That moment, that single space in time so long ago, marked the most important turning point for me. I did not become popular that year, but I did become a force to be reckoned with. I shed my ugly duckling skin and grew confident in myself. I realized that I was funny and smart and well liked. I had been defining myself by how one small group of people treated me and I learned after those elections that I was the one keeping myself in that box. I began to revel in who I was…funny, irreverent, boisterous, and an attention getter. I went on to high school and starred in plays (with Dave!) and danced in the highest ranks of our award winning drill team. I was voted “Class Clown” and “Drill Team Favorite” (it should also be noted that wonderful Dave was voted “Most Talented”!). In college, I was happy and well adjusted and went on to a sales career that made good use of my need to help others. I married an amazing man and gave birth to a cherub of a baby boy, which brings us full circle in this little essay about “the most important moment of your life”. The moment that I transcended the pain of my adolescence to become something more is the most defining moment of my life because it marks the day that I took the power of my own destiny into my capable, albeit small, hands. I would not be the wife, mother, woman that I am today without that moment. So here’s to you, 13 year old Chalna. Good job.


PBMelibelle said...

AWE My Chalna I wanna hug you! SO here's a internet hug! And just so you know... I remember you at the "good" middle school and I thought you were in the cool crowd! ;) LOVE YOU! :)

Eren said...

Oh, Chalna, I have tears in my eyes as I type this. Knowing you now, I would never guess that you went through this. But I too had a horrible experience in middle school, so bad that I switched schools in the middle of my 8th grade year. It's heart-breaking to think that so many people have similar stories. Thank God that we both were able to overcome those awkward, painful years and become the women we are today!

elegraph said...

Chalna. I am crying like a dork. That read just like a John Hughes movie! Seriously, I'm just so touched that a little 13-year-old girl who was surrounded with such positivity in her family life and her tight circle of real friends had the courage and self-worth to do what you did. At 13 years old, that is beyond huge. And that is why I feel with unwavering certainty that no matter what Colin faces, with a mama like you on his team, he will be just fine.

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