As a child growing up in Northwest Arkansas, I can remember wondering why children chose to be mean to others; often making fun of those who were different whether in looks, socioeconomic class, or mental and physical acuity. As an obese teen, I can remember lying awake at night and praying that my life could be different. I swore that I would never become the bully who tore down the hearts and dreams of others in order to make themselves feel strong. I pledged to help those who were disadvantaged!
As a professional, I know that the scars left from childhood are often the most painful to bear and the hardest to escape because they were experienced during our most formative years. Because of my experiences in childhood, I have become a compassionate and loving person who more often than not is the finder of the forgotten laws, the defender of the voiceless faces, and the cheer leader who supports my clients while they re-define themselves outside of their own traumas and memories.
As a mother of 2 children who each have their own special needs and traumatic memories of their lives before me, I worry about educating them to rise above the barbs of those around them and realize that God made each one of them uniquely them! I elected to do this through a pattern of reverse psychology that turned the most prevalent name calling barbs used by most children into funny and special names that represent each of us and our family! I chose to remove the sting of the words and negate their power.
Everyone who knows me knows that my children are more often than not referred to as the “freaky little midgets”….they laugh hysterically when they hear it and call me their “freaky little mommy”! My children understand that in order to be a member of our family you must be a “whack-a-doodle” and the few close friends that have received that label are the most cherished and loved. My children relish the thought of being goofy, dorky, fuzz ball, whack-job, 4 eyes, booger butt and on and on! They will often join forces against me to dream up other exotic names that if used in anger could harm, but when used with love have the power to unite. I have worked hard to teach my children that names are just labels….we each have the power to decide how we allow them to affect us!
When I talk to my daughter about her self-image and the cruelty of others, it is to teach her that physical beauty is fleeting and eventually fades….the real beauty of a woman is found within her heart and soul! Real beauty is found in the way that we treat those around us, the way we love the forgotten and un-loved, and the way we fight to right the wrongs done TO others BY others. Real beauty leads to treasured friendships that last a life time, fulfilling careers that make us passionate about our dreams and peace within ourselves as we “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”!
At the end of the day, barbs said in anger hurt! They kill a part of our soul that often never heals! The key is to remember that God made each of us for HIS purpose and we each have a destiny and a job to do for HIS glory. Sometimes, the only way to complete our mission is to experience the pain and suffering doled out by others so that we can be empathetic to those who need us!
As an adult, I realize that each one of the barbs, each painful joke, and every single tear I cried made me the woman that I am today! I have ultimately made it my life’s work to serve the disadvantaged, the misrepresented, and the forgotten and un-loved.
To everyone who ever tossed me a barb, made me the brunt of their jokes, and failed to see the real me….THANK YOU….
I’m thrilled to be where I am now and couldn’t have done it without you!!
Robin Scott Dorf,
Purveyor of Words, www.writingnwa.com, firstname.lastname@example.org