The Wizards Curtain
Once upon a time, just about everyone attended high school, and just about everyone had a similar story: it really sucked. And if yours didn’t, you may have just forgotten, but let me remind you. High school was that time when people with much nicer hair than you would tell you exactly how unacceptable your particular hair cut or style was, to your face. High school was a time when you would have to travel in packs to avoid being picked on, humiliated or even injured. It was a location of learning and growing and discovering just how bad you were at math, climbing a rope, spelling, or reading aloud. (And if you were good at all of these, you may have been very good at drama and using your imagination.)
I've been assured that this is the experience of nearly everyone I've interviewed, so I'm fairly confident in the assessment. But then, somehow and magically, I was able to pull the curtain back and see the inner magical workings of high school. What I discovered was a secret that changed my view forever. What you are about to read may just land me right back into a high school somewhere near me, stuffed in a locker (now that I’ve lost enough weight to fit into one.)
Full disclosure: when I was in high school, I was really, really (really really really) annoying, uncool, unpopular, well, really feel free to insert any negative adjective here. I didn't have any friends. Not a one. Not even that girl who is so friendly, she's friends with everyone (in our school, her last name was actually “Coull”; I can’t make this stuff up!). No, not even her. This was mostly my own doing. I tried way too hard. And because of this, I became even more unpopular.
It was like the cool kids had a sixth sense for fear, loneliness, vulnerability, and whenever I walked down the halls of Duchess Park, I was easy prey. But it didn’t stop when I left the doors of my school. The bullying and name-calling were just a regular part of my life.
I remember just walking home one day after school, when a group of guys hanging out on a nearby porch started to gesture at me and make rude comments. At my weight, I was an easy target, and I clearly remember the word ‘whale’ sharply shot in my direction. Ouch. It hurt. It hurt so much that I learned from that point on not to look around at others while out and about. Even to this day, I avoid eye contact like the plague. This, even though I have learned the secret.
The secret I’m referring to is something so powerful that, if it is to be believed, you will never again worry what others think of you. You’ll never again be intimidated by, well, anyone. The secret I’m referring to actually reveals the inner workings of all of those groups of ‘cool kids’ that we were intimidated by. And let’s face it, even if you were the ‘cool kid’, there’s always a cooler kid out there.
I discovered this secret at a personal development class for teens called The Pursuit of Excellence. It was a totally different venue from high school, and it was in Seattle to boot, so I was in a completely foreign territory. I think this leveled the playing field for a lot of the teens there that week. We all learned to let our guards down and to be honest with each other.
This is where I discovered the best thing I learned in all of my high school days: no matter how cool the other kids were, no matter how great their hair was, no matter how nice their complexion, how good their grades, how great their friends, how perfect their high jump, each and every one of them was every bit as screwed up as I was.
They all had insecurities. They all had things they were self-conscious about. They all looked around, seeing the strengths of others, judging themselves against those strengths, feeling less-than and every time someone lashed out, it was always because they were just trying to feel better about themselves.
Rarely did I ever come across someone who was secure in themselves, who was able to keep their confidence independent of their circumstances. That wasn’t a skill we ever learned in high school. In fact, I don’t know when or where we are supposed to learn that lesson. If I hadn’t had a revelation of just how delicate we all are by seeing behind the curtain of all of the cool people, I never would have realized just how incredible we all are.
And that’s probably the biggest problem facing kids today, actually, facing all of us. We just don’t learn our intrinsic value. We don’t know the biggest secret ever kept: we aren’t perfect but we are perfectly made.
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