” I roll my eyes; at least a hundred times a day, at my husband. It’s a good thing I was born cross eyed. Otherwise I might have to be concerned about ruining my eyes” -AUTHOR-ME
This post is dedicated to all the misfits out there. Who never felt like they fit in. This is a big Fuck you to all the people who bullied, ridiculed, and laughed at us. Because you might have tried to knock us down with your words. But we got back up. And every time you pushed us. We came back stronger. Like the lyrics from Suicidal Tendencies, “You can’t bring me down!”
Growing up in general sucks! But when you don’t look a certain way or you are different you mind as well paint a target on you. Because those are the things the bullies will zero in on. I spent my youth wishing the saying, “Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words can’t hurt me” was true. I wished to be stronger. To not care what people thought of me. But in reality each cruel word chipped away at my self esteem. Eventually, taking away all my confidence. I felt worthless and didn’t think my existence mattered. And when I was 17 I tried taking my own life. But that’s a story for another day. Because this isn’t a story to make you say, “Oh, poor Kari!” No that is not what this is about. It is partly about me confronting the ghosts of my past. But it is mainly to give people hope. Because I guarantee there is someone else going through this right now. This story is for that person. Let me be that light in your darkness.
I guess my first strike against me were my eyes. My dad use to call me”Clarence the Cross eyed monkey”. If I could add a smack my head emoji I would. To this day I still don’t know what the hell that even means. So, yes my left eye use to cross like no one’s business. People probably didn’t know what eye to look at it. That was okay though. Because I didn’t know which one was the real you anyways!
To correct that problem;at the age of 5, I got bifocal glasses. Now days, that’s not really a big deal. Because they have drastically changed the look of them. I mean come on. How many people do you know with perfect vision wear glasses to look “cool”(I was so born in the wrong decade). But back in 1980 those suckers were huge. They were called “Coke Bottle” lenses for a reason. I’m really surprised I didn’t set things on fire when I went outside. Because it looked like some genius stuck 2 magnifying lenses on a frame and sold them as glasses. And if that wasn’t bad enough my parents tried to help me look “cooler”. So, they upgraded me to the “transition” lenses. In the 80’s that was a really bad thing! We’re talking worse than the days when I use to crimp my hair and kill the ozone with Aqua Net. Back then those suckers didn’t transition back right away. We’re talking I had to walk around looking like my Grandpa. And he only wore those huge, god awful looking sunglasses because he had cataracts! So, to all of those other thoughtful parents out there. Please don’t try to help make your kid “cooler”. To this day I rather get blinded by the sun then ever get those lenses!
As you can imagine my elementary school years and parts of Jr. High were filled with real original names and sayings(that was written in extreme sarcasm ppl.) “crossed-eyed” was one on my favorites. Like that person should have won an award for state the obvious! “Four eyes” was one of the most common ones. My parents told me to just tell them, “4 eyes are better than 2 eyes”. I wish I could say that helped. It didn’t. But I give them credit for trying to teach me how to insult people back. And my favorite line said to me was, “Can you see the future in those things?” I wish I had balls back then. Because I would have replied, “Why yes I can. And guess what? You are still an Asshole in the future”. Sad how I think of great comebacks decades later. Where’s a time machine when you need one?
So, your probably thinking that’s not so bad! Well, that was before life decided to become an informercial. “Like wait! If you order bad eye sight now. We will throw in a speech problems too!” And my parents were like, “For Free? OMG what a deal. Throw that one in the “genes” too! That’s right I was a lisping mofo. I was in speech therapy until the 7th grade. Years spent saying, “Sally sales seashells by the seashore”. Years of holding my tongue practicing in the mirror. Years of getting pulled out of class to learn to talk better. That was always fun. Because my peers wanted to know why I was special and got to leave class once a week? I couldn’t even tell them, “Because I’m Special that’ s why!” Because special has the letter S in it. So, they wouldn’t have understood my comeback anyways. So, I always had people copying me and laughing at the way I said things. It caused me to get severe anxiety when I had to do any kind of public speaking. Because I knew there would be snickering while I talked.
I wish I could report that my speech problem magically went away. It didn’t. I’m still screwed when I have to say words with S’s and Th’s in them! Like I’m always screaming at my phone, Alexa, and automated systems. Because they never understand me. I can’t even do voice to text. Because it spells out some crazy shit. I’m like WTF? That’s not what I said! But that’s okay. Because those things can’t laugh at me. I’m no longer afraid to talk in front of people. I don’t like doing it but when your an adult you discover job orientations love making you do exactly that! But it no longer gives me anxiety. Mostly, because I’m older and no longer care what people think of me. Now days most people think I just have an “accent”. So, they always try to guess where I’m from. Usually they guess I’m from the East Coast. Maybe, I need to move there.
And to match all these wonderful physical qualities about myself I got an awesome name. It probably would have been an awesome name till Stephen King made the name “Carrie” famous. And not in a good way. Thanks Stephen! And did you realize my name rhymes with Scary and Hairy? I probably wouldn’t have either until elementary school happened. Like my sister got the cool name Leanne! And I got named after one of the twins my mom use to babysit. Oh, the injustices of it all! Okay, that is slightly dramatic. But it did influence me on choosing names for my kids. I made sure they didn’t rhyme with anything bad. Your welcome kids!
But this story wouldn’t be complete unless we made our main character “Poor”. I mean others had it way worse than us. We had a nice house. Lived in a nice neighborhood. Went to one of the nicest school districts. But it was an illusion sometimes. Because my dad was in construction. And got laid off a lot.Those times were tough. My parents were doing everything they could to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. So, materialistic things like your Clothes being in style or a name brand were definitely not in the budget. We got a lot of hand me downs from one of the neighbor’s nieces. And that was awesome. And in high school I use to babysit a lot. So, I was able to waste money on clothes to “fit in” But Jr. high was like my own personal purgatory. That’s when name brands became a symbol. Unfortunately my Kmart blue light special clothes didn’t have Espirit or Guess written on them. Which gave the “in crowd” lots of ammunition to ridicule me. It’s funny to think how I let something so stupid as that to have so much power over me. Now, days I get most of my clothes from GoodWill. Ha! Take that snobby rich kids!
I’m not going to say that everything magically got better after I became an “adult”. My first husband was verbally abusive among other things. But I’m not here to bash a deceased person or my kid’s father. But I will say that once I got away from all the negativity. I was able to focus on the positive. I was able to start working on myself. Because if you love yourself. It won’t matter what other people say about you. Because if you can look in the mirror and be happy with who you see. Then, that’s all that matters.
Now, I won’t say everyday is “perfect”. I still have days that I struggle. I battle depression. And sometimes that does plague me with old insecurities. But I would like to think that I handle it a little better. I might not have morphed from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. But I’m okay with who and what I have become. I might have struck out in the gene pool. But I did get one hell of a sense humor. And if I couldn’t laugh about life I probably would be in some corner rocking myself. But that’s the beauty of it. I can laugh at myself. Because I know I’m not perfect and I do some stupid shit. But I know I am strong enough to never let other people’s words or actions have any power over me.
To all you kids out there still struggling. My heart goes out to you. I wish we lived in a “perfect” world. But we don’t. But I promise you this too shall pass. That one day you will look back and laugh at yourself for letting people doubt your self worth. But in order to get to that you need to start loving yourself. And surrounding yourself people that love your imperfections. Those are the friends you need in your life. I know during this time in your life you are probably obsessed with looking a certain way or having certain things. But you know what? None of that really matters in life. What matters is what is on the inside. Don’t let these bullies take away your light! You are a star that shines in someone’s sky! Remember you are loved. And that the people taunting you are probably more insecure with themselves. I can’t promise you a life full of perfect blue skies. There will be dark days. But remember to look for the rainbow and the sun afterwards. Because they always come out after a storm!