The Aha! Moment

After two articles on bullying, I spent some more time processing my emotions around the incident. I’ve done stand-up comedy, and knowing what is funny to an audience and the timing of delivery is key to humor.

Pushable button image from

Pushable button image from

And then I had an Aha! Moment. In all the years I was super fat (I had a mirror, so I know), and people said hateful things to me (when I was in the middle seat of an airplane, for example) I actually felt sorry for them. I did not feel shame or diminished. I loved to eat (still do), and knew that fat people are one of the few groups we feel free to openly bash. I was capable of compassion.

Because I was not a fat child, I had no buttons to push.

But the incident at Trader Joe’s  pushed all those buttons I had embedded a long time ago.

So the work I have to do is around healing those pushable buttons is about feeling fine about being different. Taking pride in being an outsider. Because when you are outside, you have a bigger view. You aren’t hemmed in. And while everyone inside is bathed in light, it doesn’t guarantee acceptance or happiness.

A good thought for Friday the 13th.

-Quinn McDonald is moving on with a lighter step. (Carefully checking for a banana peel.)



10 thoughts on “The Aha! Moment

  1. A ittle while ago I was working with a 7-year-old boy who was teased and bullied: he is very pale, has light blue eyes and bright ginger hair and retailiated physically when teased. I asked his blonde mother who in the family has the same colour hair . . . she did and hated it! There was an uncle, a grandfather and a few others. She dyed her own hair blonde to hide the colour so shame about his hair was something he was growing up with. I suggested she help him find out more about the rare gene they carried and some of the accomplishments of her family member (and others). Maybe this will help them both embrace their uniqueness.

    There’s a parallel here for you. Not all of the feelings would have been just from the treatment of your peers . . . you would have come to school sensitised to respond the way you did.

    Kia kaha/stand strong.

    • Exactly–that was the link between the three posts. I had buttons that shaped themselves in childhood, and when those buttons get pushed, it has a different effect.
      I love the phrase kia kaha. When you use it, it sounds like a blessing.

  2. The experience of being an outsider sometimes is transformed to a capacity for empathy. The transformation seems to be part gift and part work and for those with a tender heart.

  3. on the other hand, it’s hard to defend against ALL the missiles coming your way. If you can discern the ones that will do the most damage and defend against them, that’s probably the best strategy. Dealing with stuff from the past is tremendously difficult and I thank you for writing about what it brings up for you.

  4. On Friday the 13th, peering down to avoid the banana peel just means when you walk under the ladder you don’t notice the paint coming until it’s too late…

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