Last week I helped my sister with a project for her sixth grade class. Visiting her and being surrounded by so much crazy energy made me reflect on a few things. I couldn’t help but write about them.
It was beautiful to see the interactions between my sister and her students. The respect the students have for my sister doesn’t keep them from laughing together. Their textbook-learning doesn’t keep them from learning important relationship, communication, and social skills. There is so much that goes into this very important stage of a child’s life, the stage when anything can make you feel like your world is crumbling underneath your feet, like you are the ugliest duckling out there and the awkwardest of them all. The dumbest of the dumbest. At this age, looks could not possibly mean more because they already mean everything. Your social status can make or break the rest of your life somehow, you just can’t quite explain any of it. You can’t seem to find the light at the end of the tunnel after that “B-” you got on your test, after your whole class laughed at you for tripping, after you showed up to school wearing Sketchers and not Converse. Yes, I was “the Sketchers kid”.
Spending time with my sister’s class helped me go back to the time when my young brain and heart were jam-packed with insecurities and doubts on whether I’d ever lose my baby fat and how long my pimples would pixelate my face. The beautiful part of it all, though, is that I didn’t remember any of this when seeing these wild kids interacting with their peers. All I saw were vessels full of so much potential, beauty, humor, and youth. I wanted to so badly be in my awkward sixth grade body again. I wanted to apologize to it for all the emotional, mental, and physical harm I had caused it. I didn’t appreciate my beauty then. I do now. I want to remember what it was like then, and what it was like when I was seven, fifteen, twenty-one. I want to remember so I can relate to Little Nugget (when he gets there) so I know how to help him overcome the obstacles we foolishly create for ourselves, or that we allow others to create for us. The importance we place in what at the end of the day is superficial will forever haunt us if we allow it to. If we learn how to appreciate what we have, what we’ve been given, and wholeheartedly help others do the same, we will be able to see life for what it is – THE BEST OPPORTUNITY we will ever get.
We only get one chance at life in the skin we’re in, with the heart that beats us alive. Why not love it, or at least like it? It’s easier said than done, yes; however, you can start some where, some how, some way. Give yourself a hug today and smile while you do it. Start here. Now, try that every day. Feel yourself loving yourself…and enjoy it. My hope is that we may find our self-love to translate it to future generations.
Cheers to these bodies we live in!