*Remember my Reflection and Self Worth posts? Specifically the one about cutting my hair senior year to mimic Sharon Stone? If you missed it, you may want to check it out HERE before reading today's post.
Ever since starting this little blog of mine I have received some of the sweetest, most kind spirited emails/messages from SO many of you (whether we've never met or you're someone from my past), and they've meant so much to me! Thank you, thank you!
So, last week I got a powerful email from an old friend of mine throughout my K-12 years that I wanted to share with all of you. It said:
"Hey Jacy! I recently ran into your blog, and I've just really felt the need to send you a message thanking you for being so open and honest about the difficult things you've faced and are facing in your life. I always really looked up to you in high school, and I thought of you as someone with limitless self-confidence. But I can remember when you got that haircut-- which was totally awesome and beautiful, but different from how the rest of us cut our hair, and thus subject to cruelty. And I can also remember that I did absolutely nothing to stand up for you, or to suggest to others that what they were doing was NOT okay.
That was a huge failing on my part. I really wish I had figured out in high school the importance of sticking up for other people--especially other women. I guess I just want to apologize, and let you know that your blog reminded me of the importance of not just defending people against bullies, but also helping women to see how beautiful and extraordinary they are, in spite of all the world's messages that we all have to change in order to be loved."
As I read this, my eyes filled with tears and the smile on my face widened until I couldn't smile any bigger. What a pleasant surprise this was! As I finished reading the thoughtful message and began to reflect on those somewhat challenging times, I also began to filter through all of the times I did nothing to stand up for those being gossiped about, made fun of, or bullied in a sense. I began to shamefully remember all of the things I said that were cruel... or the times I acted snobby... or the mean pranks I actually followed through with... or the bratty things I did that I wish I wouldn't have done.
Gosh, if I had to go back and write a list for all of the times I did something out of character or immature or foolish or all of the times I didn't do the right thing, it'd be one long o' list. Not my proudest of moments.
But you know what? Those times don't define me... and they don't define my friend, either. I don't think any high-schooler on planet Earth has it all figured out... actually, I don't think any person, any age, on planet Earth has it all figured out!
So this is life; we are ALL imperfect.
But what's important is that we are making changes in our lives that facilitate our ability to improve- the ability to recognize our failings and become better people- working for the greater good of humanity. It's about leading by example because that is the most powerful teaching tool available. It's about raising children who are aware, so that they can be more compassionate of others- no matter how different they may be. It's about standing up for your beliefs and your values, even though you hate to be the only one standing. It's about loving and not being afraid to open yourself up to that sort of unfamiliar and scary kind of love.
While this little message may only seem to you about a silly "dike" haircut back in 2001, it meant so much more to me. It reminded me of how crucial it is that we continually work on ourselves, no matter how old we are. It reminded me to always look at my own behaviors under a microscope and ensure that I am doing very the best I can, at all times. It reminded me to end my days as a better person than I was the day before. If I haven't done so, I try again a little harder the next day... and the next... and the next. It's an on-going, never-ending process.