Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesdays With Rita

Hello All,

Today is a strange day. I'm actually thinking back to the years I wore glasses...such as these in Fifth Grade. I was bullied and even physically hurt at times. I frankly don't imagine the bangs helped any. 

There was one girl in particular...Sandra. She was a little thing which may be why she bullied somebody like me who would never dream of standing up for myself. I remember one day in particular when we were an the turning bars. I had my hands resting on the bar and she was next to me and putting her leg up over the bar. She was stretching her heavy brown shod foot as far as she could so she could squish my fingers. When I said to be careful she told me, in her snotty way, to move my hands. I promptly backed down.

I can picture all this as if it was yesterday. I don't remember if it was that day or another day but I fell off the bar flat on my back. All the wind was knocked out of me. I sat on the edge of the sidewalk and tried to recover while some of the girls tried to get me to go to the teacher on duty. I looked over at her but the fear of saying anything was stronger than the pain in my back and trying to get my breath back. I slowly recovered and made my way to the classroom as the bell rang.

Sandra and another girl named Janet have haunted me all these years. The hurt and sorrow. Being alone and lonely. I was sixteen when I finally got my contacts but for the most part the damage was done.

Why am I dwelling on this? I'm having cataract surgery tomorrow. I had high hopes of not needing contacts or glasses (except reading glasses) again. However, my eyes are such an odd shape, "special" as my surgeon said, that he can't get a replacement lens that will correct my eyesight. I am so disappointed. I will have somewhat better sight (he said I'll be able to find my way to the bathroom at night without glasses) and the cataract will be gone but not what I had hoped for or what I understood would be the outcome.

Still, although I've had my ups and downs I'm trying to turn my attitude around and hope with getting rid of the cataracts (the other eye will be done next week) I will somehow get rid of these negative memories. I feel like putting this photo up on the Internet is a first step. Those glasses were a part of me and contacts will remain a part of me. That's okay. I won't let Sandra and Janet (picture Nellie from Little House on the Prairie) cause me any more pain. As I fight the cataracts and the depression I will shrug them off and fully appreciate all the wonderful people in my life.

What memories are you carrying around? How do you plan on putting them in their place in the back of your mind and replace them with positive thoughts?


  1. Hi Rita ~
    I so appreciate the honesty and courage in your post. Isn't it a shame that we remember negative words and actions our whole life, but quickly forget or dismiss the kind words and praise? I would have been your friend! I was always the kid trying to talk to other kids about the reasons behind their mean actions...I guess that's why I became a counselor? Anyway, I'm sending lots of good thoughts your way for the surgery tomorrow, and thanks again for your post.

  2. This post has really touched me because your school memories sound very similar to mine. I think I was an easy target because I wouldn't have hurt a fly either. I wore bunches and ribbons in my hair and I was as skinny as a pin. I suffered at the hands of relentless bullies and one extremely nasty teacher for most of my school life and it is only since I was in my very late teens that I began building any confidence at all. There is no doubt that those days have affected my whole life - certainly my education and ultimately my career. Once I had my own children I found a strength in me that I didn't even know existed. One thing's for sure, I have never allowed bullying to be a part of their lives in ANY form. Looking back now, I think that in the long run it has made me who I am now and I am strong... now. I have heard of what became of some of those bullies and alomost all of them have had a string of children from a very young age and are single Mums with no prospects and no real life. There is a part of me that looks at my life now - as a very happily married woman, with two beautiful children, a close family and a lovely home - that wonders if there is a reason for that. Having said that, I realise now that those girls were really the unlucky ones. They were simply masking there own insecurities, had problematic lives and that is really very sad. These days Rita, glasses are worn even by people who don't need them as a fashion accessory! So, go and get some lovely frames that suit your face and wear them with pride!
    Best wishes - Sandra... a 'nice' Sandra I promise :0)

  3. Hi Mom.
    This post reminded me about my school days. Kids can be so cruel. I can remember being tormented about my glasses and short hair. I was called a boy, even at girl scout camp. The reason I am writing is because I agree with the previous post from Sandra. I think the bullying made me stronger as well. Also I remember that you had strength for me during that time. You helped me write that book for second grade, The Turtle Who Had Glasses. Remember that? That really gave me strength, and I am sure that through your own experiences with the bullying, you were able to gain some confidence by helping me. Thank you. I know you are dissapointed about the surgery, I would be too. Just know that its only on the outside. You are so strong inside. You are talented, kind, a loyal friend. You are the first to help others, and to listen. The bullys in our past dont matter. Focus on the good people who are with you now, and who will always give you strength. I love you mom!!!

  4. Dear Rita,
    I'll be sending good healing vibes to you tomorrow for your cataract surgery. So sorry to hear that children were mean to you. That is truly awful!
    Just in case you haven't heard, SARK has a new book out called Glad No Matter What. I just got it and read it this past weekend. I think it is her best book yet. If you are unable to read due to your surgery, maybe a friend or relative could get it started for you. I highly recommend it for dealing with all feelings, especially difficult ones!
    All of my best,

  5. Rita,

    I think you look cute in those glasses! I have a similar pair in a bureau drawer -- but not as fancy as yours. I think they must be the ones I wore in seventh or eighth grade. I didn't particularly like wearing glasses, but I don't remember ever being bullied for it, and I'm so sorry you were. I trust your surgery went well. Who knows? You may see better than you think. But in any case, Sandra's right. You can buy a terrific new pair of glasses and make a fashion statement.

  6. I pray your surgery will go well and you will be able to see better than you think.....

    With me it was green tights....One Christmas I got a pair of green tights and I proudly wore them to the first day of school after vacation with my grey jumper and at recess a couple of guys said I had frog legs and continued to call me that for some years.....no green tights for me; I wore pants for along time after that....

    Kids can be so crewel....but then there are some nice kids out there too....I remember qu.ite a few.....

    Thanks for your transparancy...it helps us all.

  7. You are so not alone....really i think we all have suffered something in our past that really has, in effect, made us who we have become.

    I know I had my enemies in school...one girl in particular made my highschool days hard...until the final year...

    I was walking down the hall and she was sitting on the floor in front of her locker. She was staring me down with all her might..looking directly at me with great distaste, right in the eyes!

    Normally, I used to look away....just to avoid causing any unnecessary friction ... but this time, in the final year..I had had enough...
    No I did not beat her up...although every bone in my body might have wanted to set her straight...lol

    rather...I stared right back at her as I got closer and closer to where she was sitting.....holding my own...
    and she says in the nastiest voice...

    and looking right into her eyes..I said....

    "N o t h i n g M u c h"

    she never bothered me again....so what I learned was...we don't need to get physical...we don't need to get angry or sad, we don't need to do anything but stand up for ourselves.

    Stand Up to your emotions now...that's all that matters....the past is in the past..and that's the best place to leave it! Am I right!

    thanks for sharing...this morning therapeutic cup of coffee was brought to you by...

    Creative Carmelina

  8. Oh and how rude of me to neglect this part...

    i hope all goes well with your eyes....
    take care...see you soon!

    ciao again..

    Creative Carmelina

  9. A very touching post - thanks for sharing. This brings back memories, for me, of being taunted and even beat up in my segregated elementary school for being light-skinned with long hair. Perhaps I'll write about it one day on my blog.



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