Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Getting Over Childhood Teasing

I remember forever ago when I used to watch America’s Next Top Model, and they did an exercise where they wrote the word that made them feel bad about themselves and rephrased it to make it their source of power. For years, that has stuck with me. Everyone has one word that brings them back into a sad place. It may be a nickname they were teased about when they were younger or something that reflects their insecurities. Whichever it is, I feel like everyone has one. It’s a word that comes up every so often and uncovers feelings from the past. It doesn’t matter if you’re an adult and 10+ years past the incident, but it still has the power to open up old wounds. My word is bookworm.


I AM a bookworm. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what makes me who I am, and I knew that even then. However, when someone takes your identity and uses it as an insult, it hurts. I remember when this person called me a bookworm. It was said with so much disgust and opposition. It wasn’t the word itself that got to me – it was that this individual saw me and my hobby as a bad thing. It was that he looked down on me for my love of reading. It was that he saw myself as lesser than him because of the things I love. I never liked the word bookworm after that moment. It went from a description of who I am to the way people put me down. I felt ashamed for reading. I felt embarrassed that I was a "loser" for doing what I loved. Being a bookworm put me on the outside.


Today, I still don’t like the word, but I choose to embrace it. I’m a bookworm, and I always have been. I could read before kindergarten. I got to take books off of the big kid shelf in grade one. I hold the all time record for most read books in the same year. I once went to book camp. I can read a 400+ page book in four sittings. I am studying English in university. I want to teach English to inspire the same passion in teenagers. I write book reviews that authors have read and liked. Reading is an integral part of my life. I don’t want to shy away from being a bookworm. I'm proud of what I have accomplished; I’m proud of who I am. The thing is, what some use to take you down may actually be your biggest strength.

What word reminds you of childhood teasing? How have you overcome that as you grew up?

-Daniella