Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Herstory: Overcoming

I was 13.

After years of being bullied in grade school for being a weird/different girl, I finally had a group of friends and was the de-facto leader of the pack. But little did I know there was a plot taking place behind my back to humiliate me.

First they invited me to a sleepover. After the usual activities, including making up steps to "Bust A Move," I became increasingly aware that no one was really acknowledging my presence, but I didn't know why. Later we're sitting up... talking and one by one each of them files a complaint. "You take way too long in the bathroom" (I had just been diagnosed as diabetic but was scared to tell anyone so my lengthy blood testing rituals in the bathroom made them believe I was either a drug addict or a freak, or both), "you fake crying to get attention" (none if it was fake). I take this in. I should have left then because the next day we went to 6 Flags, where they had made a plan to just totally abandon me. I became aware of this as they all began separating from me. I was left with one person, who I thought felt slightly sorry for me, until someone's mom came to pick us up. I feigned sleep in the car and heard the girl say to the rest "why did you leave me with her???!"

Over the next few weeks one of the girls stole my boyfriend. They ripped my school picture to shreds and put the pieces through the slots in my locker. They completely ignored me in the hallways. So I thought of suicide. Naturally, my community was ousting me as not only their leader but also their friend. I had not one listening ear except my mom, and I think I survived for her.

I'm telling this story because I think it's informative. This one episode shaped the rest of my life. Perhaps it says something about grit, about bullying, about fear, about adolescence, and today, there's Facebook, and texting and all kinds of other ways for stuff to happen to crush the spirit of young people.

In the end I leapt into music. I don't know what I would've done if I hadn't had that oboe to buzz all my feelings into. It was like a magic wand; shitty emotions go in and beautiful sound comes out. The more beautiful the sound, the better I felt, so I got good, and then came the drums, and the rest is herstory.

Art is Life. It's the reason I'm alive, and many others I'm guessing. Share stories folks.

by Kristen Arant 
October 18, 2016

Amy Morrison responded to Kristen's story saying, "Thank you so much for sharing your story, Kristen! I'm so sorry you experienced such painful things, and I'm so grateful you made it through. You have touched (and are continuing to touch) so many lives!

One of my worst experiences was in 7th grade, so I was probably 12 or 13 too. I was at basketball camp, and I overheard a large group of girls talking and laughing about how gross and stinky I was (too painfully shy and self-conscious to use public showers) and plotting to come up and grab me and throw me into the shower. I became hysterical, and could not be calmed, which eventually made it also memorable for those girls.

I had a teacher who forced me to walk back and forth at the front of the home economics class to be an example to the other girls how ladies should NOT walk. I also was suicidal, and I still struggle to defy the power of those experiences to shape the way I see myself today. Your sharing your story helps me feel a sense of inspiration and hope, because as one of your friends commented above, you are one of the "coolest" (and most powerful) people I've ever met, and if that could've happened to you, well, maybe I'm cool too. 😉 Much love to you sister!"

Reflecting deep Renee Panagos said, "The Power and healing of Mothers. To ourselves to our sisters to our children. You let your mom into your heart and hold you. You learned to mother yourself through the Obo and the drum. Most importantly, you chose to live and thrive. Thank you for sharing this very personal story. What if we could learn to mother (love) ourselves and those around us. Choosing life is very powerful."

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