Popularity ladder

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Friends. I’m lucky. Not everyone is as lucky.
I was pretty popular, and as a kid/teen you really think that’s the big picture. You think your popularity makes you a better person. It doesn’t.  It really doesn’t in the real world matter that you were invited to all the birthdays and parties.  It doesn’t make you a good or bad person. It doesn’t make you the you that is unique.
Though I was always surrounded by friends, some of them weren’t true. I was used.I was beaten by their words. And though I was a giver, I did do some pretty awful things. Some deserved, others not. I could be mean. I would throw the first punch if you hurt someone close to me. I would stand up for the little guy without question. But I would also at times taunt and outcast, because that was the cool thing to do, and got me more friends. But really at what expense?
I shudder at the thought of a couple years, and how mean I could be. All to climb up that popularity ladder. Breaking a few people down along the way, not thinking for 2 seconds of the pain I was causing that would follow them. At my core I have always been kind. At my core I stand up. At my core I knew that breaking people was not who I was or wanted to be. It earned me respect, but not in a way I would want. It earned me a reputation that if you ask old friends I still carry. Don’t piss her off. And though I still roar when needed,I’ve grown to love my true friends,and realized just how far I’ve come as a person, becoming the person I want and need to be. Throwing the dreaded popularity ladder out the window.
Becoming a mother changes us. We want good,we want happy and we want kindness.
We look at our children as they sleep and hope to God they don’t have to go  through the popularity contests,climb those ladders. We hope that they feel good enough just as they are. We hope that we have taught them kindness, and humility. We hope that as they climb the ladder if friends and status amongst their peers, that they include those further down the ladder, or at very least they show them compassion, and don’t push them further down. And abuse them to get higher themselves.
We hope we’ve taught them that they are good enough, strong enough.
This at least is what I hope I’ve taught mine.
As I watch my children grow, I see a shining star of a daughter who is who she is, and kind to everyone. But who is strong and confident enough to stand up for herself without pushing others down. She will climb with fair ease.
I see a young man who has struggled to fit. Though he has always had his true friends, and is just as happy to be alone.  I  see the remaining, left over hurt and fear that others left him with while they pushed and shoved their way up the ladder.
There’s always going to be the ladder, people at the top, in the middle and the bottom.  My hope is that those at the top don’t get their by constantly pushing others further down, to the point they don’t even want to start the climb again.

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