It was a cool and sunny day, so I did what any child in a new place would do. I went in search of other children to play with. I ventured outside, and saw some girls playing hopscotch in the car park. I hadn’t gotten far when they suddenly all stopped playing and turned and looked at me. It was a sort of stare down actually, which seemed to mean ‘March right back where you came from!’ The hint went over my head, and I approached, smiling.
The ring-leader turned and glared at me, ‘who is you?!’ I said, ‘Janessa’. ‘Wha ya want?’ she badgered. ‘Well, can I play hopscotch with y’all’. ‘Ok.’ she said, but then they all just looked at each other in a strange way. The ring-leader prompted, ‘Lewwe go by de side of de bldg’ so I walked with them. Everything went downhill from there. As we approached the side of the building, out of sight of adult eyes that may peer through their windows at the sound of commotion, the ringleader shoved me in my back and said, ‘Girl, we go beat ya..ya better run!’
And run, I did…I ran for my life, with four tough girls chasing me. Being a bit skinny, I wasn’t chancing that ‘licks’. It turned out I have some natural speed, so I outran them and came back in the direction of Building B, my new home.
I never ventured outside again, deciding that friend-making was not a strong point and resigned to being a bookworm. And, now, I tend to let people make friends with me, instead of initiating friendship. That is the one of the first memories I have of being rejected – that stinging feeling of being rejected either because of who I was, something I’d done, or some other reason that had nothing to do with me. Now that I reflect on it, I believe that those girls actions had nothing to do with me. I never forgot the face of the ring-leader. Even as an adult, I’ve seen her once or twice, and the pain of that day still stings a bit.
Another moment that stung was that cold morning in 1990 when my mother migrated. I remember climbing the stairs in Piarco to the waving gallery and watching her board the plane. Little did I know she was never coming back. It was not a rainy day, but somehow the day is remembered as being a ‘cold’ one. Maybe the lack of depth in my Mother’s goodbye had drawn the warmth out of my heart.
Rejection. A feeling that cuts to the bone, and once the pain is felt – it becomes a cycle. Unless we stop churning the pain into focus in our perspective, feelings and understanding of the world, the pain will never end. If you’ve ever felt the crushing pain of being abandoned, rejected or made to feel worthless or devalued, then you know exactly how that hurt goes on and on.
Actually, do you?
(I’m about to start writing on the topic of rejection…If you feel like you’ve been in a never-ending loop of rejection, then take this walk with me nah..)