Not long ago, I published “A Word about Haters,” a post that has since become the most shared piece in the history of Life After Tampons.
Of course, I’m thrilled about this. But, also, I just HAVE to know “why?”
What is it about THIS piece that was so compelling, (besides the amazing writing, of course.) Have we universally been hated upon? Or, is there something deeper going on?
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the story and then thinking about Beautiful You. Then I thought about the story, and then you again.
And THEN, I had a “memory bubble.” For those of you unfamiliar with this term, a “memory bubble” is some long-forgotten memory that unexpectedly bubbles to the surface of your consciousness.
“Memory bubbles” are just the opposite of “brain farts,” by the way. (click to tweet)
Anyway, I had a memory bubble about something that happened to me about 10 or 15 years back. At that time, I did a little bit of hobby writing for some friends.
I had the worlds’ smallest email list. But, every week or so, I wrote something to my peeps, and they were quite like you – deeply loving and appreciative.
I had one of those horrid high school reunions coming up, and it was stirring up all kinds of crappy crap for me. So, of course, I wrote about it.
The piece I published was called, “Last Picked for Basketball.”
(Before going any further, I should say, just in case you don’t know from actual experience, being picked last for basketball really, really sucks. It makes you feel ugly and unwanted.)
Anyway, I wrote this little piece, and I sent it out to my little, bitty audience.
And you know what? An absolute TON of people wrote me back. Unbidden, my readers sent my piece on to others (think, early social media) and THOSE people shared the piece.
This went on and on. Strangers wrote me back.
It was mind blowing. Flattering, of course. But then, some deeper realization hit me.
How can it be possible that we were ALL “last picked for basketball?” I mean, technically, that could ONLY have happened to one of us.
Indeed, technically, I wasn’t even the last picked. I was probably like 5th from the last. But I was close enough to it. So close, in fact, that it felt like last.
In case you’ve forgotten, let me bring that feeling back. You’re standing there in your dumbass gym uniform. Your thighs are decidedly wobblier than all the popular girls
They are, of course, bouncing and prancing, all over the place, flicking their long hair over their shoulders glamorously.
Can you see it? Are you with me? Can you feel my angst?
Anyway, the first 10 picks or so go very, very quickly. But, as they get down to the bottom, time slows. Each pick is excruciating. They look at you, past you. You’re going “oh me, please don’t make me keep standing here, please pick me.”
But they don’t. Until they do. And it is excruciating.
You still with me?
Anyway, if you are, then you are like the gazillion people who wrote me back and shared that they, too, were last picked for basketball.
Except, in truth, only one of us was.
And it wasn’t me. But, it felt like it was.
Okay, zoom forward to last week.
I wrote a piece about being hated upon. And HUNDREDS of you commented and shared the piece with your own networks. (Thank you, by the way. I’m deeply flattered and overjoyed at that. It kinda sorta makes up for that “last picked for basketball” experience in a very BIG way, too!)
Okay, so years back, everyone could relate to being last picked for basketball. AND, more recently, everyone could relate to being hated upon.
But here’s where we get close to what I suspect may be a bit of an uncomfortable truth: How can it be possible that we ARE EACH the ones being hated upon? If we are all in the position of being “hated upon,” who is doing the hating?
Are you getting as uncomfortably squirmy inside as I did as you draw sort of an inevitable conclusion from this?
The only way we ALL could have the experience of being hated upon is if– at least at some small way mayhaps only once in a very long while – we have EACH been the hater, too.
Deep breath. Deep breath. Hang in there, love, we’re about to get to the glorious forgiveness and freedom that’s at the end of this horrific little Hater Rainbow.
Here we go. Let’s bring it home!
We have all been hated upon. Thus, at least at some time, we must have EACH, in some small way, been the hater.
Ooooh, I don’t like that.
It’s kind of makes me feel a bit ugly about myself.
But, when I’m honest with myself, I don’t have to go back too far in my own memory (two hours, maybe) to find an example of me hating on someone.
Now these days, I almost never hate “out loud.” I have mostly top-secret-only-I-know-it hating going on.
Your thinking is secret to you. It’s difficult to change our thinking, so most of us don’t even try.
Here’s our reasoning: “It’s hard to change my thinking. Plus, it’s not like it hurts you since you don’t know about it.”
But is that true? Is it true that the hatred I harbor in my thoughts is harmless?
I believe all my actions are rooted in my thoughts. Since this is true, I can’t possibly argue that my condemning thinking is harmless.
So, here’s another word about haters: Someone is doing it. And, since we can all relate to feeling it from others, can we ask ourselves if we might not – on very rare occasions – be visiting dislike upon others?
And then there is this:
Do we want to be forgiven? If so, can we extend forgiveness and mercy to others when they harm us? Can we try and grow in beautiful compassion for those who visit destruction upon others because we see, although there are certainly degrees of destruction, in many ways, we hurt others, too?
A word about safety here: just because we forgive other people DOES NOT mean we continue to place ourselves in a position to be harmed by them.
We love. We extend mercy. We forgive. But we learn, too. And we keep ourselves out of harm’s way.
We offer forgiveness, and we try to extend it generously.
Because, if for no other reason, we’re going to need some back by suppertime.
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Photo: flickr, christopher.woo