Shaken Not Stirred

Friday, December 02, 2005

Never Been Kissed

This post is going to be a sharing moment, something my friends have claimed I don't do enough of....It isn't to ilicit sympathy or thoughts of woe. I have a feeling however, my buddies won't let me live this confession down.

I recently donated blood to the American Red Cross. I give whenever I can, which is every three months. My church usually has a drive every three months, so I qualify, stick my arm out and let them drain me of this much needed human commodity.

The place they hold the drive is on the same grounds that I went to school. Yes, I'm the product of a Catholic school upbringing. Light blue oxford shirts with dark blue pants for boys and white oxford shirts with pleated plaid skirts for the girls. Boys walk on one side of the stairwell, girls walk on the other to the lunch room. Prayers were said before class started and at the end of the day. Whenever I pass the school yard on sunday services, the memories overwhelm me like the smell of disinfectant in a hospital hallway.

When it was my turn to lay my arm out--to be poked I heard the children from the school pour out into the yard for recess. The sound of their voices could not subdue my fear of needles. You would think as many times as I've donated, been practiced on by fellow medical students, and had shots that this would be nothing for me. Surprise, I always let out a yelp when I get stuck. And I feel a little lightheaded as I watch the blood drain from my arm into the bag below. Just my blood, makes me feel this way. Watching the other donors get stuck or watching their blood pour forth has no effect on me.

Anyway, when I tilted my head, I saw my nephew Elias pass by the window. He was holding one of those big red balls we use for dodgeball. I thought about a visit with him after they pulled this gi-normous needle from my vein. Then I heard several voices scream out "We're ignoring you, we're ignoring you!" in a taunting tone. My heart slowed, skipped a beat and I'm sure the blood flow stopped. I was thinking, why would someone be mean to Elias.

Like a B-movie flashback, I was once again in the sixth grade. Faces of former classmates circling around me in a kaleidoscope manner, each face blurring with the next. Instead of taunting however, their mouths didn't move. No one was exactly mean to me in grade school. They just didn't know I existed. Just an invisible little boy--with about two, maybe three friends at the most. I hated going to school, not because I didn't want to learn, but because being ignored is worse than being teased. This stayed with me throughout high school. I occasionally got ribbed for one thing or the other, but for the most part remained a faceless, nameless fly on the wall. I observed while everyone else lived what I can only imagine was a life like Brandon and Brenda Walsh. I didn't even know what a high school party was like, until I came home from college one weekend to visit my siblings. They were part of the "in-crowd". They had the parties which destroyed my parents home (thus causing migraines whenever my parents went out of town).

This all changed for me when I went to college. A fresh new start. No one really knew me, save the few people who came from my school. I went from oblivion to something more--had quite a few friends and a few parties which destroyed our apartments--thereby losing our deposits. I went from being introverted to extroverted, speaking up whenever I got the chance, unafraid to tell people what I thought. And my opinion actually mattered to more than just three people.

Flash forward..a woman's voice coming in muffled and then clearly....the nurse told me I was all done. I immediately went to the playground to find Elias. I was going to explain to him that today's shadows are tomorrow's light. However, what I did find was that he was one of the boys taunting someone else. Before I could cut in and save this other child from humiliation, another line of kids cut across me, severing me from the "mean" boys. By the time they disperesed onto the playground, Elias and his friends had gone their separate ways. And because everyone was dressed the same, I couldn't remember which little boy was the outcast.

I was going to pull Elias aside and explain to himthe rule of not being mean. But I know that being disciplined by one of your relatives on the school playground can also cause severe stress. I looked again for the tormented kid. Just a sea of blue and white shirts. I hope when he gets older, he'll realize that the playground is just that, a playground.


  • Great story...& good for you for giving blood so often...I need to do that more regularly...last time I went...the nurse was so bad...she stuck me about 7 times before finally giving time should be better.

    Why are kids so mean? I felt free when I went to college too...there's nothing like a fresh start.

    By Blogger Chick, at 9:11 AM  

  • Giving blood scares me, I don't do it as often as I should.

    By Blogger coloradohurricane, at 9:56 AM  

  • That was an awesome story angel!! I loved it. It took me back, made me think, and taught me more about you all at the same time. Thank you for sharing it. Your closer friends are should do that more often!!! (smiling)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:18 AM  

  • So sad. Don't make me blubber.

    By Blogger Luke, at 11:23 AM  

  • Something parallel happened with my daughter a few weeks back. She didn't see it actually happen, but one of her larger friends was a little too rough with another little girl and the little one started crying. My daughter came in and saw her crying but didn't know what was going on. I had to explain to her what happened, and that if she sees one of her friends crying next time she should help her and find out what's wrong.

    Would you consider yourself a late bloomer?

    By Blogger Walter, at 12:08 PM  

  • Wow! That had so much emotion in it, I'm now searching for a tissuse. Great story.

    By Blogger SkyeBlue2U, at 1:31 PM  

  • A nice post. I am glad you came out of your shell and became the person that you are. Too bad you had to deal with all that bull shit. And your comment that today's shadows will be tomorrow's light was awesome.

    By Blogger mrshife, at 2:03 PM  

  • Chick,
    You would have loved me as a medical student. I was so careful with sticking people. I rarely made mistakes. I took my time.

    Yeah, I think everyone needs to donate a time or two.

    My friends laugh at this stuff. They can't believe I was awkward or geeky.

    I changed my favorite Christmas cookie to Almond Crescents by Keebler. Elves rule!!

    I bloomed late and I'm still trying to catch up.

    Cool, I moved someone to tears. Hehe. That wasn't the point. I just wanted to show some of my buddies that I do share moments of my inner self.

    Matt Shifely,
    Yeah, that quote came from nowhere. I'm going to use it more often. Maybe I should put it on a t-shirt before Paris starts staying it (she came up with a new catch-phrase by the way).

    By Blogger angel, jr., at 2:15 PM  

  • Awesome story, Angel.

    By Blogger Vince, at 2:33 PM  

  • i liked the comment about today's shadows becoming tomorrows light too. too bad i was ignoring you at the time or it may have sunk in better.

    good for you for donating. rob gives blood all the time. he considers it like an oil change. i can't while i'm pregnant. i think i will post sometime soon how two people i love dearly are alive because of blood donors. my sister being one of them. so from her and families like mine, i thank you. from the bottom of my heart.

    By Blogger cher, at 2:37 PM  

  • Well writtena nd very interesting.

    By Blogger Ruben, at 4:35 PM  

  • Vince,
    When are you going to link another video. I can't get dancing Daniel out of my head--it's freaking me out, like some sort of drug induced flashback!

    I do what I feel is necessary. Wouldn't it be cool if my blood ran through someone you knew?

    Thanks for the undeserved compliment. I mostly think of these posts as idle babble.

    By Blogger angel, jr., at 6:35 PM  

  • Angel, being ignored isn’t the worst that could happen. Being teased and bullied throughout high school, that’s the worst of it. Being ignored by my classmates was a holiday. Unlike you, college didn’t change much. The teasing stopped, but I didn’t bloom. Seriously, I am socially stunted because of it. I have few friends, and I trust very few people in my life.

    You need to talk to Elias about bullying. Maybe not in the playground, but a quiet word when you seem him next. Anything to make that kid’s life a little easier. It would help if Elias befriended him, but failing that, ignoring the kid is better than teasing him.

    By Blogger blackcrag, at 8:12 PM  

  • I can't believe how early we start to taunt one another. I can remember being taunted and then turning around and taunting someone else! What instills this in us? What makes it necessary for us to show that we're the biggest and the baddest and the best?

    I wish it changed, but it never does. Adults do it, too. We taunt those who aren't successful, aren't beautiful, aren't thin, aren't intelligent . . . it's all just kind of sad.

    However - having said all that - going through those things is what makes us who we are! And I doubt very much that anyone would want you any different than how you are right now!

    By Blogger meghansdiscontent, at 8:30 PM  

  • College has a way of bringing out the inner us. Those who say high school is the best time of our lives are full of it.

    When I taught junior high, I saw firsthand how vile these little creatures can be. It makes me ill, especially to imagine seeing someone I know being bullied like what you witnessed.

    The thing is, what do you tell a kid to do if they see one of their friends being picked on? If they tell an adult, the dialogue will go something like this:

    Kid: Mrs. Soandso, Timmy is kicking Kimmy.

    Teacher: Okay, I'll keep an eye on him.

    End of story, because the teachers can't/won't do anything about it!

    It really is sad.

    By Blogger ***Double_Oh_No***, at 2:30 AM  

  • I can't say I have been bullied or ignored in school but this post made me think if I had been mean to anyone in school. Perhaps not deliberately..

    By Blogger missy, at 3:58 AM  

  • Oh gosh! This brought back so many memories. I too used to be the teased kid and NEVER forget it and the humiliation and pain it caused. EVER. I'm like you, I try to do everything humanly possible to protect others from that. Maybe you should have a little talk with your cousin later.

    By Blogger Lindsey, at 7:45 AM  

  • angel: um...I wrote a comment yesterday but for some reason it ain't here. okaaaay.

    Anyways, thanks for the story. it was well-written and touching. I was taken aback by the twist- that your nephew was one of the bullies. I felt bad for the kid who was...

    My father faints at the sight of blood. Don't look at the needle!

    By Blogger Anhoni Patel, at 12:12 PM  

  • Another beautiful story that you've shared with the world. We must be two peas in pod b/c I was the same way all the way through high school (no wait I did get away w/some crazy things!). However I didn't let that stop me from making friends wherever I roamed. Now the only lesson is not to trust everyone who comes along the way:-) Be kind, but smart. Not every stranger in a library is who he claims to be..hehehehe!

    By Anonymous Babette, at 12:58 PM  

  • okay first off, your a wussy. (kidding of course)

    second, i agree with some of the other people here that you should talk to elias, and quickly before someone gets really hurt. if it doesn't faze him maybe you should back him into a corner and give him a dose of his own medicine, wait, let me.

    i got called names, and stuff, then just like you i was ignored. but then i discovered 'ALCOHOL". and then later "alcoholism". and then later "divorce" and then later still "depression". need i say more? but i am now very outspoken and when i tell my buds i was shy in school they tell me i lie.

    i wish i could go back and do it all over, and boy, what fun time i would have.

    and i tell my son, don't ever let anyone push you around, push back. yes i know thats now what jesus would do, but then again, he wasnt' in school with the mean kids of today. "hey, fatcheeks" "hey four eyes!!" yikes.

    consequently i am somewhat of a meany. i do'nt let anyone get away with anything, and anyday now, i'm going to punch someones lights out, i'm just waiting for my opportunity. and then when the police come, i'm going to hide my broken hand and say "whay? who ME?"

    By Blogger Badoozie, at 2:56 PM  

  • i think you should still have the talk with elias. sometimes kids don't realize how cruel they are being, and how powerful their words can be until someone else explains it to them.

    great post. :)

    By Blogger vani, at 11:04 PM  

  • I can relate. I suffer from A.D.D, and my coping skill was the class clown. Teachers were on my ass 24/7 and I was a small kid back then, so the target of many a bully.

    Same deal-All changed after HS.

    By Blogger twolf1920, at 12:30 PM  

  • Nicely written, very nicely indeed.

    I remember myself as a noisy kid who was always with the "in" crowd

    In fact after school I found myself sobering a lot, but i guess I never was a bully, I just liked to have a good time - live and let live kind of guy

    I'm still like that !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:11 PM  

  • As squirm mentioned, some more stories like this please :-))

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:12 PM  

  • my son was recently bullied at school by a younger but meaner kid. somehow that story had a good ending and they are on good terms now. Thank you for your story.

    By Blogger Chloe, at 5:13 PM  

  • Mad Props for donating the gift of life!

    By Blogger Greg - Cowboy in the Jungle, at 8:55 PM  

  • Hey Susie..pushing back never works. Been there and learned from that! BTW..Jesus did get pushed around, and he still advocated the path of least resistance.

    By Anonymous Babette, at 9:01 PM  

  • I didn't go to a private school, but my school was a bit different. We had an extremely strict dresscode. The boys had to wear collared shirts and dress pants (there was even hair length standard for boys) and the girls had to wear dresses. We also had to do the "Boys walk on one side of the stairwell, girls walk on the other to the lunch room. Prayers were said before class started and at the end of the day."
    Isn't it great that college gives us the opportunity to start fresh, and become who we want to be!

    By Blogger Lee Ann, at 9:54 PM  

  • i grew up in a catholic school too, so i know exactly what you're talking about angel. to this day, i hate the color navy blue. haha! kids can be mean, but you are right, that's what makes us stronger. that's great that you give blood. if i could, i would. i think it's kind of funny that you're scared of needles though :).

    By Blogger mysterious in blue, at 10:42 PM  

  • Your story definitely struck a chord with me. Playgrounds are not always great places for kids to be, as I remember well enough.

    The good thing is that it's usually the kids who get teased who grow up to be truly interesting, talented, worthwhile, and compassionate people.

    As I, and many of my friends, can attest to. :)

    By Blogger Spider Girl, at 10:29 PM  

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