Sticks & Stones II

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The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. — M. Scott Peck

Awhile ago I wrote another article titled Sticks and Stones inspired by one of those elusive “ah-ha” moments I always hear Oprah talking about.

I was feeling kind of down because I was the object of some online bullying when I avoided a controversial subject in an article I had written. I had just started the blog on that site and realized that my “feel good, discover yourself, choose happiness” brand of writing didn’t fit in with their rough-and-tumble political site. (Thank you wordpress for allowing me to express my creative side as well as my political side without the heavy hand of an editorial staff and insider writer/readers ready to pounce on every word just for exercise.)

I had turned to the more spiritual side of viewing the world because this campaign year was becoming increasingly unbearable to listen to and was only going to get worse. I needed a respite that embraced our differences instead of using them as weapons to tear us all apart.

None of us are escaping the pain of the last few years–unemployment, the debt ceiling, the housing crisis, politicians saying ridiculous, specious things to stir up fear instead of trying to mitigate it.

All of that, as well as a year of several personal traumas that forced me to take a rigorous look at myself led me to start writing again to express the authentic me. It has been an exhilarating journey full of highs and lows that I thought would be worth sharing.

I quit writing a few years ago because I felt I had nothing to say. I wasn’t willing to be honest and I also was in sheer survival mode trying to stay afloat in a bad economy. But somehow I’ve been allowed this time to write and I’m taking advantage of it.

The ah-ha moment is one of those epiphanies I thought worthy of sharing. The need to be our unique selves, to be true to that self even when it seems out of touch or place.

Anyway, I let the incident over the article get me down. I was reminded of the hurtful name-calling and bullying in grade school and junior high school for simply being me. I was “too black” for the white kids and “too white” for the black kids. At that age, it was excruciatingly painful and isolating and that pain still resonates so many decades later.

All kids go through some sort of bullying, whether in the in-crowd or the out-crowd. It’s just one of the rites of passage. I’m thankful for it now because it toughened me up for the world outside of the schoolyard.

I never got too tough though and I’m thankful for that, too. When you get too tough, the bad and the good get shut out and life can become very lonely, unpleasant and painful.

The day of that revealing moment was beautiful and I sat out on my little spruced up patio (thank you, Pinterest) and let the beauty of nature and the moment embrace me as I’ve been taught to do when feeling low as nature never lets me down.

My spirits perked up in no time and I was given a beautiful response to the hurt I was feeling:
“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.”

It’s all too simple, but that little schoolyard chant helped me. It also was so appropriate because I’ve been nursing this broken knee. Talk about hurt! I realized I was mending not only a broken knee, but a broken spirit.

I decided to create a collage around this idea and started collecting sticks and stones while sitting outside. And voila–there was a stone shaped like a heart!

I knew then that this collage on sticks and stones was ordained, if you will, a validation from the universe.

It took me awhile to get to it, but I finally did. The heart-shaped rock was my muse. As I was working on the collage with scraps of paper, rhinestones and my indispensable metallic sharpies and metallic nailpolish, it seemed to take it’s own turns and I just went with it.

I’ll probably add more to it–it’s like a visual journal for that moment. Whenever I try to “fit in” I’m back to the square peg in the round hole and in that situation being me is never good enough.

But in that moment I knew that being just who I am, the good, the bad and even the ugly, is a good thing and definitely good enough.

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