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Whose Words Are Haunting You?

A kid named Jeff walked up to me on my first day of kindergarten and laughed in my face.

He said, “You’re stupid, you’re dumb, you’re fat and you are uuuugly!”

Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those “I hate my mama because she never bought me a Big Wheel” stories. I try and take the philosophy of “always look forward.” After all, it’s impossible to keep your eyes glued solely on the rear view mirror when you’re driving without playing demolition derby with an oak tree. And, in case you’re curious, the tree almost always wins.

But regarding “the event,” I suppose it could be construed as mildly amusing now. As a chubby, terrified five-year-old who was still missing his mama, however, I remember crying. I thought, “Jeepers, if this is school, I’d rather go back home and watch ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ reruns.”

The interesting part is, I can’t tell you how many times growing up I referred to myself as “stupid, dumb, fat and ugly.” It was as if this one event, instigated by one punk, six-year-old kid—who spent more time in the Superintendent’s office than in class, by the way—stuck in my consciousness for years. It wasn’t because this kid was particular smart or popular. In fact, quite the opposite. Nobody liked him.

Bender from “Breakfast Club” would’ve called him a “neo-maxi zoom dweebie.”

Those words, “stupid, dumb, fat and ugly,” were never more than one fresh insult away. Why? Because I let them hang over me for so long, that’s why. Instead of letting go, I would drag them out of the pocket of my big bell jeans—the ones with the “Keep on Truckin’” patch on the knee—every time I was hurt. “It’s like that one kid said,” my soul would whimper. “I’m stupid, dumb, fat and ugly!”

So whose words haunt you? Maybe it’s a deceased parent or grandparent you didn’t get along with. Or a friend, cousin or uncle who relished in giving you grief.

Perhaps your dad’s constant reference to you as a “loser” has never left your mind. Your face tightens up and your stomach twinges every time you think about him.

Well, I’m giving you permission to take a deep breath, pull those insults from your pocket and let them scatter to the wind. Take the word of those who love you as fact. Don’t let the words of someone who was probably hurting worse than you trouble you anymore. The hurt you carry around from years’ past is not only wounding you, it strikes out at those you love the most, every time you pop off to them, muttering something you can never take back. Every time you sigh and roll your eyes instead of being patient for 20 more seconds and letting them explain their dilemma.

Our family motto is, “No fear of the future, no regrets of the past.”

In fact, it means so much to us that both my daughter and I have those words emblazoned into our skin as tattoos.

Think about it. Let it sink in. “No fear of the future, no regrets of the past.”

As stated, take a deep breath (one of those inhalations you can feel all the way to your sternum), and then let go of the past.

Resisting…the urge…to sing… “Let It Go”…from “Frozen.”


Sorry, Elsa’s power is too strong to fight it.

Anyway, like the illustrious Phil Anselmo growled in the song, “Walk,” just tell the past to “walk on home, boy.” You won’t believe how freeing it is until you actually take the first step and just do it.

Tell past hauntings they are not welcome here anymore.

And breathe again.

Many blessings on your day.

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