"Weird" is wonderful.
One of the most frustrating things for me is just to shut up and listen. Part of it is my ADHD, and part of it is this need I have to try to fix things. I have to remind myself not to jump in and start brainstorming possible solutions when people tell me about problems, and just listen. When I remember to, I try and ask if they want my advice or if they just want me to listen. It’s really much harder than it seems for someone like me, especially when it’s my child who has the problem. More often than not I find myself saying “What you should do or say,” before stopping myself.
One night this week my daughter was freaking out about which shoes to wear to school the next day. They had to be a certain type because of the dress code for her recital. All the shoe choices I suggested were shot down. Frustrated I threw my arms in the air and snapped “I don’t know what you want from me! Those are your options. If you needed something else 9:30 the night before is not the time to tell me.”
She rolled over and said quietly “I’m going to get made fun of again if I wear any of those shoes.”
It turns out there is a boy who sits next to her in auditorium who has made it his daily duty to tell my daughter she is a loser. On a scale of 1-10 she is a –2. She dresses weird and she is weird.
Most of the year she’s just turned the tables on him “Wow, you seem to pay an awful lot of attention to what I wear everyday, why don’t you focus your attention on someone who actually might like you? Because I’m not in to you.” As the year has worn on, she is worn out. No matter how brave a face you put on to go through daily humiliation is exhausting. The other night she had reached her breaking point.
“I don’t care what he thinks,” she told me. “I’m just so tired of having to sit there and listen to him say these horrible things about me. And now other kids are sort of snickering at his remarks. I can’t change seats because they’re assigned alphabetically.”
When she calls him on his behavior his response is to say he’s just trying to help her out. Trying to help her fit in better.
I was livid and heartbroken, my initial gut reaction was to rush in with a list of things she should do to stop this kid. After all, I’ve written extensive pieces on bullying I know what she should do! Instead I bit my lip and asked her what she wanted to do about it.
She didn’t really know what to do, saying she didn’t think telling someone would make it stop. I asked if she would consider speaking to the teacher who monitors the auditorium and explaining the situation and asking to have her seat moved. She said she’d think about it. I haven’t asked her if she’s spoken to her teacher, I want to leave that up to her- after all I’m not the one who has to be with these kids every day for 6 hours, she does. I did tell her that ignoring him would only add fuel to the fire, that ignoring a bully doesn’t work. She told me she’d continue to turn his stupid comments around, and tell him he's rude because it was the one thing she could do.
I wanted to find that kid and give him a piece of my mind. I was so angry. Instead, I told her what I wanted to tell that boy. ‘Weird’ to most people means different- individual. My daughter is weird, we are all weird in our family and you know what? We proudly let our freak flag fly high. She’s her own person, has her own style and personally I am glad she doesn’t blindly follow the middle school fashion trends. I am glad she’s got enough moxie to do her own thing even when people make fun of her for it. She’s smart, funny, loyal and beautiful. The fact that he can’t see how cool she is, is not her problem, it’s his.
She’s like a piece of beautiful sea glass- a unique and wonderful treasure amongst an endless beach of uniform grains of sand- if that’s weird then weird is my favorite thing ever.