Thursday, November 21, 2013

Learning to Forgive

I moved from Colorado in the middle of the 3rd grade.
Since I attended a private school in Colorado - and was put in public school when we moved - I was a bit ahead academically than the rest of my peers. 

Instead of skipping a grade and becoming "that girl"for the rest of my academic career, I decided to do my own work in the corner of my class instead. 

The move to the corner didn't help my social life, which was already damaged due to being the "new girl". In fact, I spent most of the 3rd grade friendless. 

Going into 4th grade, I abandoned the corner and decided to join the rest of the class in the normal curriculum, thinking I was bound to have more friends that way. 

4th grade did not go well. 
I was in Miss Peter's 4th grade class. 
Madge was in Miss Peter's 4th grade class. 
Madge didn't like me. 

I thought maybe just my doll playing was "the worst" so I attempted to join in other activities. 


Still the worst.

Madge seemed to take delight in making my 9 year old life miserable.  

She would never let me play with her or the other girls in my class, made fun of my lack of glasses (how does that work?) and convinced my only/best friend Tessa to ditch me every other day at recess. 

I hated school. 

Every morning I would drag my feet getting ready, dreading the moment I had to walk into the classroom and spend the day alone. 

One morning, I had an idea.

If you're sick you don't have to go to school - so I started my acting career and faked sick.

It worked on day 1 - I got to sleep in with the "throw-up bowl" and a bottle of 7-up by my bed. 

Later - my tummy ache went away and I got to play all day long. 

The next day I was sick again. 

Having used most of my drama skills the day before, I kept it simple.

She was skeptical on day 2 but retrieved my bowl and sprite anyway. 

And then I played with mom. 

Day 3 my acting career was over.

I was out of sick days. I couldn't fake it again and, unless I came up with some other reason I couldn't grace the halls of Greenville elementary, I was going to school. 

I contemplated 

1) "Falling out of bed", anding on my arm wrong and hoping that it broke. 
2) Pretending my teacher was force feeding me drugs
3) Running away forever. 

Instead - Mom found out why I didn't want to go to school. 
She did what any good mom would do - she hugged and me let cry. 

Then she came up with a plan. 
I imagined her marching into school, dragging Madge out into the hall by her stupid hair and either hurting her feelings or her face. 

Mom had another idea.

Mothers are wise beyond all reason, I don't know where the wisdom comes from but I hope it's just naturally grown with pregnancy because I definitely do NOT have it yet. 

As I walked into school with Madge's cookies, I couldn't help but feel angry and bitter. 
Whey on earth does Madge get cookies when she is the meanest girl in the 4th grade? 

I pouted the whole way into school, running scenarios in my mind on how to give Madge the cookies AND be super mean all at the same time.

The Idea Fairy visited me once more.

Yes. I ruined Madge's cookies and then gave them to the office as a "special delivery". 

She was paged to the office 20 minutes later and I smirked as she left the room because I knew she was going to pick up a pile of cookie crumbs. 


15 years later - now that I am friends with Madge and we've discussed this fateful 4th grade day - I found out she threw away my cookie crumb friendship offering.
I don't really blame her. 

I did eventually forgive Madge and she is one of my best friends now, but I harbored the hate for almost 3 years before I finally let it go. 

I'm sad to report I may not have completely grasped the lesson my mom was trying to instill in the 4th grade me - 

love your enemies and forgive easily. 

I am a natural harborer. 
I believe it's because I have such a great memory - but that may just be a euphemism to excuse my own vices. I am also accused of being judgmental, elitist and, at times, unwelcoming. 

This isn't to say I don't have any good qualities - but this post is not about my many (and there are MANY) talents - this is about my quest for change.

Do I like sharing these faults on the internet with all of my friends, family and acquaintances? 
No, not particularly - but I've come to some new realizations lately and think some of you may benefit from my epiphany. 

So here are my 5 steps for learning to forgive. 

1) Remember that people rarely hurt you for the fun of it. 
What they do is mostly about them - whether they're doing it unintentionally, in an effort to make themselves feel better or because you did something to them first, it's usually not about you. 
It's about them. 

2) Realize it's easier to forgive than to nurse a grudge for the next 20 years.
Anger takes energy - let it go and you have much more time for adventures - which is what life is really about anyway right?

3) Focus on the present 
Instead of dwelling on the past and reliving all the reasons this offender has ruined your life (or the 4th grade) focus on all the great things you've got going on. 
If you're reading this - you are using a computer, which means you have more than most of the people I love in other countries.

4) Service and selflessness. 
As much as I hate to admit it, my mom was right. By serving someone you think more about them than yourself. You put their needs above yours, which will make you happy. 

Plus, if that doesn't work, they'll at least feel super crappy about being mean to you because you were a sweetheart and they were a jerk. 

5) Cookies. Everyone needs a cookie. 


  1. Moms do know best, that's so true. I love your "I could give Madge ruined cookies" face!! So you're really still friends with her?! Haha so cute!

    1. Yes "Madge" is actually one of my best friends now - in fact we did lunch twice last week.

  2. Awesome post, Whit! Hope you had a great week. :)

  3. Amen to cookies. Loved this. Ooohhh, I can recall all too many similar experiences in elementary school. I was such a sensitive kid, hah!

  4. awesome post
    wanna follow each other via gfc and bloglovin

  5. This made me laugh :) But also brought me back to my 4th grade horrors. In all honesty my whole education experience was the worst.....but there is no way you are THE WORST at dolls ;)

  6. Cute post! Love your blog!
    New follower via GFC :)

    ~ Shayenne

  7. Oh, childhood. That was such an ... interesting stage of life. I'm glad that you eventually learned your lesson (and hopefully Madge learned hers as well), and that you two are now friends!

  8. I love, love, love this. Your illustrations are amazing and I'm pretty sure this was the EXACT message I needed today. You're brilliant. xo

    1. Aw thanks I'm glad you liked the moral - this is my first "moral" story - they've all been written for comedic effect up until now. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I love this so much!!! I read the whole thing & took a lot from it!


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