“The meanest thing anyone has ever said to you”
I pride myself in ensuring that I am surrounded by wonderful and kind people in my life. I have little patience for people who enjoy being mean to others.
As such, the meanest thing that I remember being said to me, or at least the one that had the most impact, was in highschool.
There was a boy. Of course there was a boy. And I liked this boy. He was a couple of grades ahead of me and we were working on the same play. Him onstage, me behind the scenes.
He had a bit of an idea that I liked him. I can’t say that I was very discreet with my emotions when I was 16.
So, as you can well imagine, when he started flirting with another girl in the production, I was hurt, and quite a bit so.
Being still in the midst of my teenage years, I had a bit of a rightful indignation and a dramatic flare in how I did things. I asked him to meet me after school one day, so that we could talk. I wanted to ask him, why not me? I couldn’t quite fathom the reasoning for his actions.
When I confronted him with the question, he didn’t want to answer. It was clear that he was wrestling with how to put his reason into words. Being persistent as I am, I couldn’t let him not say it.
So, he took a deep breath and started working out the words, unable to look at me in the eye.
“It’s because you’re in a wheelchair. I just don’t see how we could have a normal relationship.”
I was stunned.
I didn’t know how to respond to that, except with shocked silence.
When it came to my chair, I had never seen it as a barrier to matters of the heart. I was always – perhaps naively – confident that people could see through to the person I was.
I can credit quite a bit of anger and even more insecurities to what that boy said. It took me more than I care to admit to get over it. But, what I can happily say now is that his words and his very narrow view of the world lost their hold on me a long time ago. Along the way, I’ve stumbled into those people that I’m proud to call my friends, and who make this boy an insignificant incident, relegated to my memory. To the friends who see me as the romantic, nerdy, talkative (and any other adjective that resonates with you) person that I am, thank you.