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Misery LIKES Company!

Kathleen ChelquistThe gospel children’s song, This Little Light Of Mine, was one of my personal favorites as a child and still is. I remember how small and big I felt, as I clapped my hands and sang along with the popular melody. Creating oneness with all the other children who were experiencing the same peace, joy, and love that I was. I never thought about what it meant to shine my light…probably because it was very natural to do so.

Until the 7th grade…

I know, I know…we all have stories of growing into our own, but please stay with me as I describe one of the worst years of my life. A year that taught me many fearful lessons that I have held onto until…NOW. Crazy, huh? Why would I hold onto fear for so long? Because I was in denial; unwilling to take responsibility and see MY reactions to the cruelty of pre-teens.

It is 1982 and I have boobs….oops, I mean breasts. No, I mean boobs (I like that word). My “Ugly Duckling” days of missing teeth, greasy hair, and wearing my worn-out-beaded-campfire-vest in the 6th grade, were slowly fading away. Boys, boys, and more BOYS, were the thought of the day. Except when I was studying in class. Except when I received a letter from the most popular 8th-grade girl in the school. It said, “W/B.” Little did I know that she meant, Write Back NOW…or else!

After not receiving a letter, she told the entire Junior High School (well, it seemed to be everyone) that I was…STUCK-UP! Almost every “so-called” friend fled. This may not seem so tragic to read, but to an immature 13-year-old-girl who had been dumped by her first boyfriend? It was EVERYTHING!

“Kathleen kisses like a DOG!’ he screamed in first period. Or at least that’s what I was told by a semi-sweet, freckle-faced and red-headed, 13-year-old-boy (who happened to be in my soon-to-be, ex-boyfriend’s class-that fateful morning). Unfortunately (or fortunately), the innocent by-stander was telling me the truth: my FIRST real boy-crush was about to break up with me. Later that day, my first kiss ended up sending his friends to do the dirty deed. All because I did not know where to put my tongue! My mind immediately defended…I had gum in my mouth. He did not know how to kiss me; he’s the BAD KISSER! If the truth be known, I am sure it wasn’t my best tongue teaser..but, “DOG?” I sure hope not…

So, here I am with ONE friend and scared to kiss any other boy…EVER! How could things get worse?

Besides having boobs that year, I had “Miss Beezly”…oops, I mean my period or as Margaret (from Judy Blume’s classic) says, “menstroo-ation.” My mom did not inform me about the existence of tampons (never mind teaching me on how to use one). Probably because Playtex Gentle Glide was yet to be invented back in those days (Dear God, am I really that old?) Anyway, it was all about the big ol’ SURFER PAD. Yep, it seemed to be as big as a surfboard.

Maxi Pads were not easy for me to get used to, and I created worry that they would show in the back. I remember continually feeling my butt; after all, I needed to make sure I was sportin’ a smooth-pad-transition. I definitely did not want my (now) ex-boyfriend to see that, too. So, what did I do? I pushed it up to the front. Yeah, that will hide it.

It is 3rd period. As I am sitting on a counter stool in Art Class, minding my own business, I started noticing some boys whispering to each other. Did it leak through? I thought, as I cleverly looked down and took a sneak peek to make sure there was no blood. Nope, I’m in the clear. The bell rang. As I was getting off my seat, one boy looked straight into my eyes and said, “Is it a DICK?”

I had pushed the pad just a tad too far forward-producing a huge bulge (and quite the impressive package). Throughout the rest of the day, kids (who weren’t in the class) strolled past me (looking at you-know-what) to see if they could get a viewing of the (now) fixed and inconspicuous…PAD. Sorry folks-show’s over. 

I embarrassed myself and my EGO was in full control. In looking back, I can actually laugh. But then? Not so much. I remember viewing the dull kitchen knives while unloading the dishwasher at home. You know, to end it, once and for all. It was either me or the scary gang at school who was threatening to do it.

So, here I am: friendless, kissed like a dog, threatened to be beaten up on a daily basis, and sported an unwanted prosthetic penis for a few hours.

And then one day, I got my lucky break. Or was it?

Remember the popular girl who had started my 7th grade year off to pre-teen Hell? Well (most likely feeling sorry for me), she no longer deemed me as: unworthy. Lucky me. I went along to get along and lived in the victim-poor-me-story (since it seemed to work), and all my “so-called” friends “gave me the honor” of coming back. The head gang leader seemed to have changed her mind as well. As for the boys? Boys will be boys (and no…I am not letting them off the hook).

So, I learned a very significant, life-changing lesson…

Misery LIKES Company. 

The age-old adage, “Misery LOVES Company,” could be seen so differently. Misery had forgotten Love. And so did I.

In order to acquire friends and survive, I subconsciously “thought” dimming my light was the way; abandoning the love for… “This Little Light Of Mine.”

Are you dimming your light to fit in with others? With your partner, family, friends, co-workers and peers? Dimming it, so that they are more comfortable in your presence? I am here to support you in letting your light shine.

With all my heart,

Kathleen

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Kathleen Chelquist is an inspirational blogger. Engage with Kathleen on her blog, her Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Ilonda Hairston-Clayton

    Wow…I have many similar stories in my adolescent years from being the ugly duckling , liking a boy that didn’t like me, and wanted to be one of the “cool kids”. Looking back on it I can laugh for hours. Thankfully all those stories made me into the grateful understanding mother of my teenage kids today and I have a lot of compassion for people going through rough patches in their lives. It amazing how life can mold you into the person you need to become. What a journey it can be!!

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      And a journey it is! Thanks for sharing yours and commenting! Love, K

  • Tanja Erickson

    So hilarious!!!!!!!! So very well written! I love this story, mostly because my seventh grade year was just as devastating, with so many similarities. Also because I have done the “go along to get along” thing a million times…especially in my marriage. Thank you for sharing! You are lighting up this world now!

  • http://www.tracymcmicking.com/ Tracy McMicking

    Thanks for this Kathleen. I believe you represent what most of us, if not all, experienced in some form or another during adolescence. I can completely relate to your story.

    I’ll never forget the day that the ‘mean’ girl invited me back into the fold. I was initially relieved, I was no longer an outcast. However something was sacrificed in order to stay in the group and that was my light.

    Eventually, and it took a while, I did figure out who my real friends were. The friends who shared the same values and integrity. It was a really hard time to go through and yet it taught me so much. Thirty years later I’m still close with several of the real friends I met during high school and I treasure those women and men.

    The lesson is ongoing though, with every person I meet, where there is potential for a relationship of any sort, the question is, is my light invited to shine or do they want it dimmed? Are they willing to share their light with me, fully and authentically?

    I am getting better at recognizing the people who welcome light and at inviting other to shine. The more conscious I am of it, the more amazing people start showing up and life gets better and better. Like YOU! Blessings.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      THANK YOU!!! What a lesson it is…XO Kathleen

  • Carie Bean

    I’m sure you’ve gotten much better at kissing by now. Lol. Thanks for sharing. Experiences like those can cause just the right amount of embarrassment to cause us to hide in the shadows, dimming the light as you say. I can definitely relate. Far too often I still at least mute my light for fear of embarrassing myself.

    My new mantra is DARE TO LET MY HEART SHINE. And I’m putting into practice every day. The more you do it, the more you share, the easier it gets! Look at you, sharing pretty private details to a very big audience! Way to go heart shine! I see big things and daily miracles for us all and you are helping create every one of them. Laxadazy-doodle. Enjoy your Sunday! So glad a new episode of super soul Sunday is today. Love to you! Happily, Carie

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thank you sweet Carie! You are the bestest. Yes, I have had a lot of practice now, and so far…no complaints..LOL. Thank you for your love, K

  • Love Junkie

    Great topic, hit close to home. How about the updated version of “light”?…..Brit Nicole “Ready or Not”

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thanks! I Love, Love, Love that song and will add it on my blog page. Thanks again!!!

  • Kelly Ely

    That was the best story of 7th grade ever! I could actually picture and hear you telling the story. It was perfect.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      LOL…Thanks Kelly! Great to hear from you! XO

  • Sheli Ward Hampl

    WOW!! What a story!! Obviously you were brave back then, but I think you are brave now just for telling it!!! LOL
    Dimming the light I have also done much of my life. I am only now, also at 43, swallowing my fear and taking small baby steps to show who I truly am to others (including my husband), like it or not. It is scary and I often feel I am still that 7th grader you described. So far, so good.
    Love your story.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thanks Sheli! Isn’t a trip to still feel like that 7th grader? I “thought” it was so behind me, only to be a “trigger” that I needed to let go of. As I love to say, just peeling my ego onion-one layer at a time. Love to you, Kathleen

  • Jill_Hallgren

    Oh Kathleen!

    I laughed with you on this one! What 7th grader doesn’t have a heinous time?!?! I flashed back some of the great pain on my junior high years and you definitely were NOT on your own. It’s a great thing it got MUCH better!

    Keep shining!

  • Renee

    What a delightfully funny blog! So excited I found your work. What a coincidence that just days ago I remembered this song from my childhood! The fact that you paralleled the song with your 7th grade experience is really over the top for me. Thank you!
    (Love the Judy Bloome & “surfer pad” reference. I can so relate as I lived it myself.)
    Your talent is much appreciated. I look forward to following you on Facebook. Oh, and it’s totally cool if you don’t W/B..