Every week a prompt is given to a crowd of people who choose to write for just 5 minutes. Here is my contribution to that crowd. You can find more at http://www.lisajobaker.com
Start – 7:20 am
Crowds scared me as a child. I was so shy that I was practically afraid of my own shadow. I didn’t make eye contact. I looked at the ground most of the time. I stayed hidden so deep within my self that I didn’t know how to get out most of the time. It was my protection from the crowd. I remember being about 5 years old at a party of some type; it may have been a class or family reunion. I was hiding under tables and behind my mother so much that i suddenly hit my head on a wall and went into convulsions for a moment. I remember being in my mothers arms, hidden from the world around me, protected from the crowd. Maybe that was all I needed; for my mother to pick me up and secure me in her embrace.
As I reached pre-teen years, my parents separated and soon divorced. I once again retreated into myself, scared of the world around me, afraid of things over which I had no control. I will never forget being at school and hearing a much older student in my private school say of my unbrushed hair, “Look. It’s Medusa!” I drew that deep into my inner being and retreated further from the crowd on the outside; it’s still tucked away there in a pocket of my scarred heart.
As a teen, I began to pull close to friends from that crowd that used to scare me, and I learned that I was not alone. There were others who, like me, were guarded and insecure; they too feared the world outside themselves. I began to open up and be part of the crowd that previously scared me. I heard someone in typing class say that I would be the type of person who would be divorced one day, and a tucked the fear that they were right away into my scarred heart.
As an adult, it’s only been in the last 5 years that I have learned I was never alone in my fear. I was never really hidden from the crowd. I was never really that different. I never had a reason to fear. It’s only been though the exploration of Facebook and learning more about the lives of those people to whom I felt inferior that I have seen the truth. That crowd that I feared, those people who I envied, those groups I wish I had the courage to join, were all filled with people just like me. Some feared the world more than I and some less, but we were never on fields so far from each other that I should have reason to hide. Even when they expressed hurtful thoughts, they were not doing this to hurt me, they were doing it to protect themselves.
Today, when I’m in a crowd, I remember that some of these people need me to step up and be the voice they cannot express for themselves. Some of them feel like Medusa and need me to tell them how beautiful they are. Some of them come from a broken childhood or are dealing with an unfaithful spouse; they need to hear that they are not alone. Having come from a place from where I thought I would never escape, deep within my own shell, in a corner of my own mind where negativity was my guiding light, I now find myself in such a place of irony where I am thankful for the crowd so that I can support and encourage others who have not yet learned to embrace it.