Even as a woman of a certain age, I can still remember being on the playground of my elementary school, each day begging for a chance to become a “blue bird.” Looking back, it was the most ridiculous thing. The “blue birds” was a group of girls that sat together and played together and were nice to each other.
Not unlike today, there were cliques based on a variety of things. In my case, the requirement was to give the leader my lunch every day, no excuses!
Foolishly, and feeling pressured to be included in what I thought was the “in-crowd,” I gave my lunch up daily. I was too afraid to tell my parents because I feared they would go to the school and then I would not be considered for the blue birds at all. Instead, I faithfully took my lunch and turned it in. Having turned my lunch over, day after day, the demands increased, lunch was no longer enough. Now the requests and the dares grew. “Go off the property across the street and bring me back a bag of trash that you find over there.”
At that point, I backed off and realized that this was going in a direction that I didn’t want to go. It was painful even though I was only in the 3rd grade; I can remember to this day, being ostracized and made to feel as if something was wrong with me. Those years were tough!
As I listened to some of the speakers during Whitney Houston’s funeral, I thought back to the recorded messages that were played during Michael Jackson’s manslaughter trial, and both were bound by the opinions of their fans. Whitney was concerned that her public would not accept her singing in another range, and Michael was concerned about his concert debunking any negative thoughts about him.
I’m not suggesting that the fans and the public are to blame, or anyone is for that matter, but I am suggesting that every person is different in how they process information. I was able to shake the blue birds, but then again all I had riding on it was a bologna sandwich.
Recently, I shared my story with my mother who could not believe that I didn’t come right home and tell her what was going on. Yes, I knew she was there, but at the time in my psyche, I wanted to be accepted and telling her wasn’t in the equation, I just wanted acceptance.
At the end of the day, we are all human and the human side of us, at times assigns value on things that shouldn’t have as much value. Remembering that we are all human as we seek to openly criticize can help us give a second thought to our comments. Asking ourselves if we were in their shoes, how would it feel, could help silence the noise also. Silence is golden.
Tanya Wilson is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. To learn more about her visit http://www.360you.net.