Speak Now


If you're a blogger, you know that literally anything can inspire a blog post.  When you're looking for something to blog about, nothing comes to mind.  But when you're not...when you're just living your life without any thought of what to write, life hands you a blog you never intended or expected to write.

And when that happens...how do you write it?  Because those are the ones that are hard to put into words.  

Take today, for example.  One of the teachers at the high school that I went to is retiring so he's cleaning out his classroom.  My brother-in-law just happens to be in his class and was amused to come across some old High Times Newspapers (our high school newspaper) that date back to my days in that school.

Finding my name in the newspaper, he texted pictures to my husband who later teased me about it.

"I didn't know you like to watch wrestling..." he commented to me.

Completely confused, I eyed him supiciously, "I don't like to watch wrestling..."

"I didn't know that you used to like wrestling," he corrected.

Confounded by this out-of-the-blue subject, I looked at him as he pulled out his phone and showed me this:


I instantly recognized that it was from the "Did You Know...?" section of The High Times, but sixteen years later I have no idea what conversation came about that caused this to even be put in the newspaper to begin with...especially since I've never actually watched wrestling.  (If I have, it must've been horrible because I've blocked it out completely)

He showed me another one that I didn't recall the origins of, either.  But it got me to thinking about how when we were teenagers, everything seemed big and important and life-changing.  And now...many of those same things don't even register as a blip on my adult radar.

I wanted to go back and look at the rest of the "Did You Knows" and see what memories were called back, so I asked Jason to forward them to me while I composed a blog in my head around that idea.

And then I got the texts with the pictures and the whole blog changed.

Because the next line in that picture took me to a different topic altogether.


"...cows go moo?"

Seems oddly placed and obvious enough.  Surely everyone knows that cows go moo, right?

Except this had nothing to do with real cows, and everything to do with the freshman named in the statement above it.

Me.

You see, when I was in eighth grade, my then-best friend became my boyfriend.  And the next year, in ninth grade, he was neither.

And he and all of his friends did what teens typically do to ex-girlfriends.  They made fun of me, mocked me, and--though I never considered it at the time--they bullied me.

Yes.  Bullied.  When it's basically ten to fifteen kids against one, I consider it to be bullying.

But I never thought of it that way at the time.  It wasn't until I read about a similar situation with another individual and I became outraged that the individual was being so blatantly bullied and no one was doing anything about it.

Even then, I still didn't connect the dots to my own experience.  I formed the opinion that it definitely was bullying, but that's as far as I went with it.

The thing about getting older is that sometimes things bother you now that didn't bother you so much then.  You become humiliated because of things you did or didn't do.  You become proud of decisions you made that you were ashamed of at the time.  (Sidenote:  My middle-school Pre-Algebra teacher had a sign in her classroom that said, "What is right isn't always popular, what's popular isn't always right"...whenever I remember those decisions I tried to hide, I almost always remember this sign and how very true it is.)

And for one reason or another, there have been several times recently that I've remembered this time in my life when people who were previously my friends moo-ed at me and called me names every time they saw me.  At school.  At church.  On a church ski-trip.

And I never understood why.  Then or now.  I was beyond skinny.  In my teenage-mind I was curious why girls larger than me were referring to me (aka Toothpick Girl) as a cow.  In my adult-mind, I see no logic in any of it whatsoever. But that doesn't matter.  

What matters to me now is the number of adults who witnessed the name calling and the ostracization and said nothing whatsoever.  

What matters to me now isn't that I didn't know how to stop them or shut them up...it's that adults who should have didn't care enough to.

Church leaders, friends' parents, teachers....

When I was fifteen years old, I was being mooed at, called names, and had hateful, rude and hurtful poems written about me and passed throughout the school.  I was even mocked in print in our High School Newspaper.  And I was ashamed.

Now I'm thirty years old.  I am not that girl and those kids are no longer the individuals they were then either.  But still I'm ashamed.  I didn't have a voice to defend myself because none of the adults who were aware of what was going on gave me that voice.

I am ashamed and they should be too.

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look upon evil and do nothing."  -Albert Einstein
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.