I was 12 when I had my first boyfriend. His name was Chris Cressy. We “dated” for three weeks before he ghosted me just one week after my 13th birthday. For some reason, one that will remain a mystery forever, Chris decided to make the next year of my life miserable. I mean, he had already ripped out my heart and stomped on it, so why not take my already shaky teenage self esteem and drag that through the gutter too?
Chris HATED my guts. He put gum in my hair when I made the mistake of sitting in front of him on the school bus. He called me “pig face” everyday because of my stupid little upturned nose. We had “loathe” as a vocabulary word in 8th grade English, and he made it clear to the whole class who he loathed.
What had I done to deserve this treatment? Nothing.
So what did I do to defend myself or retaliate to Chris’s incessant bullying? Also, nothing.
Even though my feelings were being constantly battered, I was nice to Chris. It was in December 2003 that he decided to cut it out and call off his verbal dogs. I was best friends with his sister and decided to give the entire family Christmas gifts, and when he saw that I gave him my own coveted NOFX tee shirt, he said something along the lines of “Sarah is just so nice. I think I’m going to be nice back.” It was a Christmas miracle!
I know that compared to others’ experiences, my middle school situation was really NBD. Nevertheless, it had a profound effect on my life. I learned that kindness, genuine kindness, cannot be beat. I learned that patience truly is as virtuous as they say. I learned that taking the high road can be a real pain in the ass, but it is absolutely necessary.
After we got over that blip, Chris and I became friends, and remain friends to this day, almost 15 years later! He’s actually a great person, he was just an asshole teenager. (HI, CHRIS! I told you I was gonna use your full name!)
The inspiration to write this stemmed from a collaboration I have with a company called Little Words Project. I love looking down at my wrist and seeing the reminder to simply “be kind,” because I know from personal experience just how important that is. I suppose if you’re reading this post and are looking for something to take away from it all, hear me now: Kindness will always win.
Now this is stuck in my head: “Be kind to your web footed friends, for a duck may be somebody’s mother”