If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.
- Hermann Hesse
This was on my google home page. I like having a quote of the day. It reminds me of my 6th grade teacher who kept a large jar on his desk filled with the small tags of saying from salada tea bags. Once a week, we would each pick one and our homework was to write a short essay the quote inspired.
Today, this quote resonated with a video one of my facebook friends linked to. A PSA/plea from Ellen Degeneris to work to protect children's lives from bullying.
It always comes down to fear. Fear of the 'other'. Fear that the 'other' is us.
Well, in a way, it's true. We are all 'other.' No one of us is the same as any one else. And yet, doesn't that mean that we are all fighting the same battle?
We have this drive, this need to connect. Yet fear keeps us apart. And our fear drives us to do terrible, hurtful things.
I remember being a young teen and feeling 'other.' Feeling desperate to be part of something, but not knowing how. In Jr. High school, I had a friend who was a 'geek'. A 'dweeb'. He was in the computer club. He was the first boy I ever kissed. And when some of the more popular kids let me beg the crumbs off their social table, I shunned him, as if he were a leper.
35 years later, I am still ashamed of myself.
I know I caused him pain out of my own selfish need for outside acceptance.
He didn't deserve it.
I rejected him because I knew I was also an outsider. And being an outsider was anathema to the acceptance I craved. So in rejecting him, I rejected myself.
I don't remember his name, but 35 years later, I still remember the feel of his chapped lips and his laugh. I still remember feeling ashamed.