In reading an article by Kristen Lamb this morning, the following paragraph stood out:
“Yes, the view from the mountain’s summit is breathtaking, but nothing grows there. The most growth happens in the valleys. Film is developed in the dark and so is character. When hurt, pain, loss, disappointment, frustration come our way we have a choice in how we view the situation. All of us have rough spots, and those setbacks, hurts and trials are the spiritual sandpaper that will shape us into a more excellent version of ourselves.”
This resonated with me strongly, and is reminiscent of my own (much shorter) life motto:
The strongest sword is forged in fire.
There are many people in my life who have been helpful, supportive, encouraging and friendly. I appreciate each and every one of them, and do my best to show my appreciation on a regular basis. Those supportive people (headed by my wonderful Husband) have helped me work out who I want to be, and what I want to do with my life. They’ve given me joy and laughter and a sense of belonging.
But the people who forced me to be Great — the ones who have forged me into a strong-willed, tough, self-confident person — are the ones who taunted, tormented, and bullied me. This post is dedicated to them.
Thank you to:
- the kids who teased and ostracised me for having an Australian accent.
- the kids who teased and ostracised me for having an American accent.
- the kids who called me four-eyes, metal-mouth, and mountain-goat (because I was tall).
- the teenage girls who ostracised me for wearing the wrong shoes and talking to the wrong boys.
- the teenagers who sat behind me in every class for two years and threw pieces of paper and erasers at me for six hours a day.
- the girls who played “Jo is icky” by pushing each other into me and then screeching about how they’d been tainted.
- the teachers who refused to take any action against bullies without any “verified proof”.
- the teenage boys who laughed at the idea of anyone dating me, and threw water over me whenever they saw me.
- the boyfriend who spent all his Centrelink (welfare) money on computer games while I worked three jobs to support us.
- the boyfriend who claimed to love me while emotionally and physically abusing me.
There’s no bitterness or sarcasm in this message of thanks. Once, I would have said I hated you. Later, I would have said I disliked you. Now, I find that (in most cases) I can look back without any feeling toward you at all.
You were the hardships that I faced and overcame.
You were the challenges that I triumphed over.
You were the fire that made me strong.
For that, I thank you.