Popularity…what’s that? Something I have never had the opportunity to experience. Truthfully…I never wanted to be popular. I just wanted to be liked, appreciated and not called names. What is the old saying? “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

They lied.

Words do hurt.

And the hurt runs deep.

The litany of names that I was referred to is so ugly that I cannot even bring myself to write them here. Many a night, I cried myself to sleep because of these hateful slurs. Why were these kids so mean? I have no idea. The ironic thing is that some of them came from families that were prominent members of our church. Not very Christian were they?

I went to school with some of them all the way through high school. Needless to say, I was not popular in either. I may have known a lot of people during those years, but I was in no way a part of the “in crowd”. You know how I knew that? Because the theory, “Out of sight, out of mind”, was never so true except for when it came to my life. I lived just far enough outside of town that it was rare when I was ever invited to do things with the other kids. During the summer, well you could just forget about it. Oh from time to time, I was invited to do things, but never on a consistent basis. I even remember asking to be invited to do things, “Can I come with with?”, I would say. The looks I received told me the truth. After a while, I just stopped asking.

Forty years later, I can really say that those that are nearest and dearest to me are the ones that I met while in college or later through a work-related experience. I can count them on one hand, maybe two.

For those that I thought were my friends from grade school and high school, I confess that I lost touch with them for many, many years. I reconnected with a couple of them through Facebook, but don’t chat with them very much. I guess the “Out of sight, out of mind” theory is still in effect.

The good news is that I have made some new friends through my writing. Joining a few groups on Facebook has really helped me both personally and professionally. The support of these ladies has been tremendous (and you all know who you are! 🙂 ), and I feel more confident in myself the more I write and the more I share.

So am I popular today? Hmmm…the words however, well…they no longer hurt.

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***I have written this piece for a group on Facebook that I joined, GBE 2: Blog On. This is week #24 and the topic is Popularity. Interested in more…click on the picture below to take you there.

7 thoughts on “Popularity

  1. Yes Susan…you are popular today! Lovely post and again, just an honest and sincere discussion of how you got to be such an amazing person. Through adversity we gain wisdom and strength. You are both wise and strong today and I am proud to know you.

  2. AWESOME POST..so candid. And so sad about youth and "mean" some things don't change..how i wish they would…and yes..it starts with us. love on my friend love on!!

    Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
    Mother Teresa

    YUP i always leave your writing…this way! <3

  3. High school can just be hell because kids wanting to impress the so called "in crowd" try to do it by being mean or bullying other kids. It has never made sense.

  4. I went to a small school in a small town in Central Florida. My parents moved there so that my sisters and I would have a better childhood than in the city. I also believe that my parents wanted more peace of mind than the city offered. Anyway…most of the kids were from surrounding dairies or ranches, or just plain people. There were popular kids, but mostly they were popular because they were just really nice kids and southern hospitality did not allow for cold, calculating meanness. I wish every kid could have the childhood and teenage environment that I had. Popularity is only good in the way I was blessed to experience it. After my move back to the city as an adult, I saw the ugly side of popularity in the workforce. Getting stomped while someone else is climbing the career ladder stinks. I can proudly say that I never stomped on anyone while I climbed the career ladder. The popular people who hurt others have a character flaw…plain and simple.

  5. I believe all those snubs and emotional bruises help us to be better people, later on. But they never really fade, do they?

    Much happier with the assortment of friends and support I've garnered since getting out of high school hell.

  6. Words are very powerful, and when they're backed up with mean looks and purposeful exclusion, they can leave some deep, deep scars. I'm so glad that you've reached the point where you understand your own value, because that's something that once fully seated, no one can take from you.

    You are an amazing, accomplished woman, and I've never seen you be anything but open and supportive to those around you. I have to wonder how those who were so mean feel about their actions today.

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