A typical guardian angel may be a spirit or feeling or this manifestation could be a living being that guides the next moment. Guardian angels appear, send their message, do their deed and then are gone. Belief in a guardian angel is easier if you’ve had one enter your life. Fleeting yet everlasting…because in that one moment, life changes. The fork in the road appears and the safer path opens. I know this to be true because of the moment I saw my guardian angel. The fleeting yet safe feeling emerged. Then she was gone. Yet, as I’ve needed her that feeling of safety has stayed and I use it to guide myself.
From the ages of nine to 15, I was bullied mercilessly every single day in my neighborhood. A group of young people had targeted me so my community became a source of terror. Between school and the corner I lived on, these kids were everywhere. They were bigger and stronger, meaner and heartless and there were a lot of them. They knocked on my door to beat me up or waited until school ended to finish their aggressions outside of the security of school rules. The stress of being hurt by others kept my mind and body on high alert. Someone was coming to get me at every corner, really! For six years, daily, I never knew how bad it would be or when or what would happen next.
The day I met my guardian angel was a typical day. It had been a long day of being trampled on by kids and teachers at school and I just wanted the safety of my room. It was cold and I was wearing a very ugly sheepskin and lamb’s wool coat. My parents had bought this for me that winter and it was so warm and soft but very ugly. Cold and cool or ugly and warm were my choices so I chose being warm since either way I was a neighborhood target an outcast child (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/outcast the term used before “bullied” and it fits better as it deepens the understanding of the constancy of bullying).
The corner that I dreaded most was a spot where all the kids would hang out in front of a pizza place seemingly waiting for me to pass. That day, as I got closer, I saw those kids waiting at that corner and I crossed the street, hoping for invisibility. Of course, they saw me and came across surrounding and taunting me. I remember the spitting most of all as they pushed me from one to the other laughing and spitting on me. She, my guardian angel, ran towards them yelling, “stop” and they listened! This blond, long-haired girl, the girlfriend of the leader of the group, was protecting me, seeing me and actually stopping the violence in that one moment. In my memory, this guardian angel runs over screaming at them to stop and “leave her alone”. She looks at me with pity and mouths her sorry. It makes the story more real when I see her smile at me and use her power to help me even though I am just a mere diversion to these juveniles. They listened. Stopped. Moved on to something more interesting.
Lately it has occurred to me that many adults are just like me. We are adults who have lived through bullying and now must navigate a world that relies on trust and relationships. These adults have children living inside of them that are scared, tough, loving, sensitive and ready for someone to pop out of a corner and get us, yet hoping for compassion and true friendship. The story of my guardian angel experience came back to me recently when I came across this article (http://thoughtcatalog.com/kovie-biakolo/2014/09/17-things-former-bullied-kids-do-a-little-bit-differently-as-adults/). I loved this idea, that we do things a bit differently, as it speaks to our differences in positive ways and gives us a sense of how cool we have become as we age. (I threw away that ugly jacket for a denim jacket and a hoody not long after. I was then cool but very cold in the winter).
The article also reminded me of a trip I took this past spring to Elkton Community Education Center in Elkton, Oregon. They have a butterfly pavilion there and I was able to watch chrysalis struggle their way out of the cocoon in order to become butterflies. It’s interesting that if you use a tweezers to pull away the cocoon to aid the moth in becoming a butterfly it’s not able to fly. The struggle to push out of the cocoon pumps their wings so that they can be used for flying. The wings will be underdeveloped if they aren’t able to struggle through the process of leaving the cocoon. Now, isn’t that fascinating? Should I be thankful for what happened to me?
No, I should not but I can embrace it. I can accept it; carry it as a part of who I am. I can love who I have become because my wings are strong. So strong, in fact, I had some tattooed on my arm. Now I help others find their pumped up wings and see their beauty. Take a look at your wings. Notice their color. Notice their ability to aid you in your adult life. Love them.
I will be creating a group starting in February. My group will be limited to eight adults and is for eight weeks. We will talk about being bullied as children, what happened, what it means as an adult and how to heal from those experiences. Please check back for more information.