I remember the stranger who laughed at me...
As the family of the pastor, we often had guests over at our house for dinner. This was something I usually looked forward to. I enjoyed entertaining people, and new guests were a new audience who hadn't seen all my old material!
One afternoon there was a few people over, grown-ups without any children. I was cavorting around the kitchen listening to their conversation, when one of the men looked at me and laughed. He made some comment, I don't remember exactly what, about the enormous size of my tongue, and then proceeded to stick his tongue out like someone with Down's syndrome and roll his eyes at me. Everybody laughed. Except me. It so happens that I do have a very long tongue, and as a child when I was concentrating on something, it would sometimes rest on my lower lip with my mouth partly open. This was an unconcious act that I didn't realize I was doing...until this man pointed it out. I was humiliated. I discovered what it meant to be self-conscious.
I spent the next few minutes alone in front of a mirror, purposefully trying to recreate my usually absent-minded tongue placement. Even I had to admit, it looked ridiculous. It made me look dumb.
Friends, thinking of this memory still fills me with hot shame and anger. I want to find this man, who's name I thankfully don't know, and kick him in the shins, just like an 8 year old would. I can't believe I am still holding onto the hatred I felt for him. I guess it's time for me to let it go, to realize that a man who would mock a child and laugh at her like that must be a small man indeed, with a small opinion of himself, and probably needs my forgiveness more than I need his respect. So, little man, wherever you are...I forgive you for laughing at me.