I’ve Got the Power

I’ve Got the Power

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom

I’ve Got the Power

The troubles of adolescence eventually all go away—it’s just like a really long, bad cold.
~Dawn Ruelas

I never thought I would be bullied. All through my life, I had been the one sticking up for my friends, never stopping until the person making them upset had stopped. But when I entered high school, that all changed.

It was a typical night. I came home exhausted from lacrosse practice. After showering and hurrying through my homework, I checked my e-mail and instant messaged my friends. I glanced down my buddy list when one status message caught my eye. “Aditi = Opposite of Mary. Mary = Awesome person. So what does that make Aditi?” My eyes blurred with tears. It wasn’t the first time Randy, who had been my best friend all through middle school, had posted mean status messages about me, but this time I hadn’t done anything. I hadn’t even talked to him in weeks. What could I possibly have done?

In a fit of anger I left my laptop open and ran to the bathroom to compose myself before I could cry. But while I was gone, my mom had passed by and seen Randy’s message. She asked me what was going on, and for once I didn’t give the standard excuse that nothing was wrong, and it would blow over. I poured out the entire story to my mother. The weeks of public ridicule. The months of teasing. I had absolutely no idea what to do.

My mom was sympathetic but also firm. It turns out she had to deal with a similar problem in high school and there was a boy who teased and humiliated her too. She told me to completely ignore him, and soon it would blow over. But I had been trying to for months and nothing had worked. Seeing the grief in my face, she decided to call Randy’s mother, whom she was friends with. At first I protested, but finally I consented, realizing that I probably had no alternative.

After a heart to heart chat with Randy’s mom, my own mother sat down and talked to me. She told me that Randy’s parents had been appalled by his behavior and had left instructions to tell them about their son’s misbehavior in the future. She also told me that no matter what, there are always bullies in the world. But it’s my job to know that I am a better person than they are, and rise above all of it. The next morning before school, she handed me a necklace and a note. The necklace said, “Reach for the Stars.” The note read:

Hi Sweetie,

Hope your day goes well. Nothing or nobody can rattle you unless you let them. Remember that. Be strong and think things through before you act on anything. Take care.

Love, Mommy

Talking to my mother that day helped me put everything in perspective. Now the little things in life don’t seem quite so overwhelming, because thanks to my mom, I know I can handle them. I can’t say that Randy stopped talking about me behind my back or spreading false rumors about me, but I can say that thanks to my mother it doesn’t bother me anymore. Nothing he can say or do can ever touch me, because I am above it. Thanks Mom, for teaching me that I do have the power to overcome anything. I love you.

~Aditi Ashok, age 15

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