Woke up feeling yucky so I called in sick to work today. Pretty much didn’t leave my bedroom for most of the day. Thanks to the power of a laptop, I was still able to be connected to the outside world. I started stumbling around on the internet and came across a blog where someone wrote out their favourite messages that were written on the website www.makesmethink.com (MMT)
If you have never heard of this website, I suggest you sit down and check it out. You will laugh, you will cry, you will be left with no choice but to click through to another page. And another page. And then one more after that. Before you know it you’ve gone through 20+ pages. You have read about soldiers thankful to be alive, soldiers wives being left alone. You’ve read about people showing their love for a sibling who made them smile, or how a grandparent showed them what love is. You’ll have seen beautiful moments captured from people of all walks of life, and of all ages.
As many of you know, I’ve been reading www.postsecret.com for years now and have had it linked. I love the idea of sharing personal thoughts and ideas in a beautiful form. It’s still a fantastic site, but as it is constantly changed every week, it’s hard to go back and see old favourites. From what I’ve seen from MMT is that the records continue on. Here are a few samples:
Today, after working for him for the last several months, I asked the owner of our company why he chooses to keep his hair so long (right now it touches his shoulders). “When I was 17 my baby sister began to sufferer from a medical condition that made all of her hair fall out. I had long hair at the time, so I shaved my head and donated my hair to make a wig for her. Ever since, I have grown my hair out and donated it to Locks of Love every couple of years.” MMT
Today, I asked my younger brother who has been in and out of rehab over the last year, “Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?” “Why do you assume I see two roads?” he replied. MMT
Today, my sister, who has Down Syndrome, followed through with her plan to sing at the school talent show. She’s been practicing her song diligently every afternoon for the last month, but it still worried me. I was terrified by the thought of how the students in the audience would respond to her. I just felt like there was a strong chance that they would be mean. But they weren’t. In fact, she was the only act that received a standing ovation the entire night. MMT
Today, two years after I was told I would never walk again, I got up out of my wheelchair and took my first few unassisted steps into my wife’s arms. MMT
Something that really really stuck with me was that I wished I was more grateful to those that had helped me and I wished that I had apologized to more people that I had hurt. Reading some of the stories from those that had lost people really touched me. I know their pain. In reading I felt connected to those people and their hurt.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to see a boy I went to elementary school with named Nick. He had just had a baby girl and I was so incredibly happy for him. Nick was one of those overly happy but incredibly different people. He was teased, and often and I’m pretty sure I could’ve been put in that group of people that did it to him. When he came in to my photo studio with his daughter for some portraits he was so happy to see me. So friendly. As I worked to capture some of his daughters smiles on film I built up my courage and I apologized for teasing him.
In that moment, Nick looked me in the eye and then smiled. “You didn’t tease me,” he said looking at me with the same face that I used to see in elementary school. “Other kids teased me but you were always nice to me.”
I thought I was a bully myself but here was one of the most picked on kids telling me that he thought I was nice. Something inside me changed that day. I knew that I needed to stop letting bullies get away with being mean to those that are different than them. I’ve tried to live my life differently since than, accepting others for who they are and trying not to judge them by the colour of their skin, their accent, their clothing, their sexual orientation or their physical capabilities. I like to think that if I had a child that I would raise it to be the same way. Accepting. Loving. Giving. Confident.
It’s amazing how reading this one site has brought this memory etched on my mind back to me. Now my memories of Nick from when we were at school together are filled with his bright eyes and his smile that could light the whole room. I no longer feel guilt or shame for the way I treated him and I wish him well in all that he does. I’m so glad that he’s happy and that he’s created a daughter so beautiful with long dark hair and dark eyes. I hope she will inherit his positive attitude and that she will be just as strong as he was coming to school day after day and being friendly even if others are not.