Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Never Judge a Book by its Cover -- What Makes YOU Special?

I was going to write something else entirely until I ran across this YouTube video while eating dinner.


Over the years, I've gotten used to being dismissed because of my size.  You may remember this post.  I experience this sizism or whatever you want to call it (rudeness, how about?) more often than you know.  I have pretty darned good ears and I hear the comments.  I was turned away from Victoria's Secret a couple years ago because when I asked the woman at the entrance a question, she said, "I don't think we have anything for you here.  Maybe you should go over there," gesturing to the Lane Bryant across the way.  Problem is, I'm not big ENOUGH for their sizes.  I'm in that weird space in between, and being short doesn't help.


I've learned to blow these attitudes off for the most part, but as I watch my son negotiate his way through a difficult year at school, I realize how I wish he had a sign floating over his head that read, "I'm a cool kid, just please get to know me."  He's at the age where kids are starting to find their niches, and Zack is like me in that he doesn't fit neatly into a slot.  We're awkward in crowds, our interests are wide and varied, our temperaments can polarize or unite, and where Zack is concerned, finding his way is a lot harder than I would wish for him.


About age four, trying SO hard to figure out soccer.


He's an amazing little boy.  He's artistic, giving when it suits him, reserved more often than not, and sometimes downright hilarious (I brushed his hair this morning, he rumpled it up, and started singing, "I like my hair like THIS") .  He's not one to get on stage, although he desperately WANTS to.  He wants, like we all do, to be special.


It's hard to know when you'll find what makes you special.  Some people are blessed with a million things that make them amazing, and if you're one of those people, I hope you cherish that.   As I begin a very difficult health struggle, I'm learning what I thought I might be special at really may not be.  What REALLY makes me special is I'm an advocate for my child, and my primary goal in life is to bring up a happy, well-adjusted, kind child.  I do my best to bring him up to feel loved, needed, and guided.


That's what I hope will make me special.  Not size.  Not beading accomplishments.  A happy child.


I showed Zack this video, which I sincerely hope you'll watch.  I explained that it's a lesson in helping friends overcome their perceived shortcomings (in this case, shyness and weight), but even more importantly, standing up for the entire meaning of the word "friendship".  To be friends, you need two people, and you don't leave one stranded.


The song is partly in Italian (I think) but there is a line in English that is so very apt:


"Just like every child needs to find his place..."


In many ways, we're all still kids looking for our place.  Don't judge a book by its cover.  You might REALLY be missing out.

(click through to YouTube to view)




Hug the ones you love.  Share your specialness.



 

26 comments:

  1. Lori, no matter what you think, you are teaching Zack important things even while you are sick. So many of those lessons probably don't make sense to him right now, but they will in a few short years. You know I am right there with you when it comes to doing the right thing for your child...I get that 250%!! There are many days that I think I'm failing, and I have zero excuse! Size, background, even beliefs should NEVER be reason to judge...we all have something awesome to offer if only others would take the time to look past the obvious! Hugs to you and Zack!

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  2. Anonymous9:16 PM

    Awesome. Just awesome.

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  3. Thank you for sharing Lori. I usually stay away from these types of shows since they seem to be set up for shock value. Like there is an expectation you will judge. Anyways it is a great lesson in friendship. I am so rich in that department, dear, life long friends - plural - I know I'm lucky. My daughter is so incredibly shy though I expect I will be spending the rest of my life encouraging friends. Pretty sure I'm going to have to develop a thick skin! But I'll be hoping she can be a Charlotte to a Jonathan or vise versa.

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  4. Loved it! I get a lot of snide comments about how old people think I am. People often blow me off as young (therefore I must be stupid right?) and I'm 43. I get really really tired of it. I had a renter come look at our house for rent this week and the guy actually said "I'd rather wait for your father to come show me the place" it took everything in me to politely say "Actually I'm the owner, and I'm not interested in your as a tenant"

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  5. Well, I'm all teary now:) That is a fantastic video. I would say, though, that you are special in a whole bunch of ways and Zack is too.

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  6. that was amazing..thanks for sharing...creative people rarely fit in..it's always tempting ,especially as a young person, to desire and seek the approval of others, I've never fit conveniently into any niche..it wasn't until i was in college for the second time around, that i discovered people whom i resonated with..our group gets together every few years,this last weekend again..an especially dear friend commented... with these people she felt she could be exactly who she really was..felt safe ..and that we had all chosen one another and after 37 yrs, of all the things we've experienced together, the good and bad,we still choose to be friends and care about each other.. i hope that Zak can hold off putting too much stock during these youthful years ,when people might be thoughtless in their words and actions..until he can find a group, or even a few good friends who will see him for his true wonderful self.

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  7. You are incredibly, unbelievably, indescribably, unconditionally special and important - especially to me. I can only imagine how all those things and more you are to Zack. <3 you.

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  8. Lori your posts really often seem to move me greatly. Kids can be really mean. I agree with Spirited Earth that creative people don't always fit in so well. I don't think that you need to worry about Zach. I can't tell you the number of posts where you write about doing something with Zack and I think I wish I had thought to do that with my kids. From what you have written about Zach. I believe he will find his way just fine. You have instilled in him what it takes to be a good person. As mothers we all want to protect our kids and help them but sometime they have do things on their own to learn. Your youtube clip was great.

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  9. Lori many of your posts pull at my heart strings,but I have to say that none before have as much as this one.
    The video is amazing and brought me to tears. Being the mom of a child who looks and behaves a bit differently from other children,I have found it to be that it's mostly adults that perceive and judge my child,when they don't know him.

    My son at 12 is much taller than his classmates 5'8" tall and is heavier. As a parent it is my job to build him up,make him feel important,and loved. There are so many people in the world that will knock him down and he needs a soft place to land which is me.

    I have been told by many that the minute you get to know my Joey that he is so endearing. People love him for him. Although he is not your cookie cutter 12 year old in my eyes he is perfect! He is kind,compassionate,funny,talented and just a warm hearted person.

    The one thing that impresses me about him is that he rarely cares what others think,he is happy being who he is.He is so non judgmental,he can find the good in everyone and he has oodles of friends. He is my role model,as I wish I could be just like him!!!

    As parents we have to let them make there way and offer guidance when necessary. I know with a mom like you Zach will shine like the brightest star in the sky! Because you help to lift him there!!



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  10. Anonymous8:11 AM

    Your love for your child is special and wonderful, just as you are. You have nothing to be concerned with, as you are one of the best mothers in existence. Zack is a blessed kid, even though he won't realize it until later in life... he will look back and say "Wow... my mom is really incredible... someone really watched over me and put me in the right place!" You are really special to all of us, and I'm sure you're POWERFULLY special to a certain so mbd y.

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  11. The vidieo moved me to tears.. What would make me cry even more is if you really can't see how SPECIAL you really are!!! It is not about your size or how ill you are or that you are an organizational genius or that you are a person magnate or that you are a bead lover or that you have friends from all over the world or that you...YOU have changed more lives than just mine [are you getting the SPECIAL vibe now?] and I could go on for a really long time...it is all of these things and because you do pay attention to Zack and you do know how life is for him and that it won't be easy bute will and does learn from you every day! how to be strong and sweet and kind and determined and stuborn!!! We love you and for the final reason [for now] that you are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SPECIAL...GOD DON'T MAKE NO JUNK!!! Love you Have a Blessed Day!!!

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  12. So amazing!! Powerful post, Lori. The most important thing to me ever in the world was being a good mom too and my children's happiness! Shared the powerful duet with my whole family -- so uplifting and high energy! Thank you.

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  13. Thank you for sharing Lori!

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  14. (I realize that this is a little personal and touchy, so feel free not to publish this comment if you are uncomfortable with it. Still, if Zack could read it, that would be great)

    Zack -

    I don't know exactly what you are going though, but I have a good idea. I have a good idea because I have been that child, once upon a time. The creative, shy child. The child who watched his/her mother struggle with illness. I want to tell you this, darling - you are wonderful. You are amazing. You are loved, no matter what some others would want you to believe. You are special, and you are wonderful. <3 The people who truly love you, who truly care about you, will love you exactly for who you are. You are stronger than you can ever give yourself credit for - never forget that.

    Lori -

    Likewise, I do not know exactly what you are going though. But you are a wonderful mother, and that is something you should never doubt about yourself. Don't be afraid that Zack will look back when he will be older and only see his mother sick in bed - I am certain that he, like I have with my own mother, will see a fighter doing the best she can with the lot she has been given, and he will learn from your strength to make it his.

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  15. I'm raising a daughter, she's 12 now, and watching (and helping) her negotiate friendships is the most heart-breaking thing I've ever experienced. It so hard to get through the school years, where conforming is rewarded, and get to the other side, where most of us realize it's our geekiness or differences that make us valuable, and cement true friendships. It's a lucky person that finds those friends during the school years.

    Zack will make it successfully though those school years because he has you as an advocate.

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  16. I experienced something very similar at Victoria Secret. I relate so well to feeling of not fitting in with any one particular group. I found my niche about 20 years ago. Friends just like me that accept me for who I am and what I look like. Last July I had gastric sleeve surgery to "cure" Type 2 Diabetes. I weighed 200 lbs. Now people tell me I'm underweight. Geez. My true friends love me no matter what. Now I am watching my daughter struggle with her weight, wanting to get pregnant and being told she's "too fat" to get pregnant - by a doctor. Wow. Insensitive people are everywhere. Keep the inspirational posts coming and don't change who you are! You are incredible!!

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  17. Fantastic post, how incredibly inspirational. Size doesn't matter only the heart matters, and I would say you have a very beautiful heart.

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  18. I was that kid, too. Artistic, a little lonely... eventually I created my very own person posse in High School. And now I've found like-minded people that really get me. :) You're doing good, Lori, where Zack is concerned. I have zero doubts about that. <3

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  19. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Keep up the great work! God is there for you and Zack and will never leave you! We love you Lori!

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  20. Ok not that I need anything more to cry about. Thanks for sharing!!!

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  21. love this post, I am over weight, and I know that people wonder where the thin girl went. But I am still me. Thank you, Mary

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  22. A beautiful post about friendship - thank you! You have a very special heart Lori! Be well ~~T

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  23. Proof - it's the size of your heart that's the most important.

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