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When I Realized Other Kids' Bodies Didn't Hurt Like Mine

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I honestly don’t remember a day when I wasn’t in pain. For as long as I can remember parts of my body always hurt.

I knew that since I was always super tall for my age, the doctor told my parents that as I stopped growing taller, my muscles would finally catch up me, and for example be able to finally catch a ball when it was thrown to me . So I thought that possibly as I grew older, and as my muscles caught up with my height, the pain just might go away. I have to admit a huge part of me thought since my body always hurt, maybe everyone else’s bodies hurt, too. In second grade I learned that wasn’t the case…

It was a picture perfect spring day. I was in an elementary PE class that was accurately named named “fit kids.” Our teacher had all of us kids get in a giant line at the edge of the playground and told us to run as quick as we can to the kickball field that was on the other side of the playground. He started us off with the magic words ” On your mark, get set, go!” I pushed off with as much strength as my little legs would allow. My classmates effortlessly zoomed past me and I was left in the dust. My legs were throbbing! I was in shock! Reality slapped me in the face as my little mind came to the resolution that my classmates couldn’t move that fast if they were in pain, too. I must be the only one of my friends, maybe even the only little girl in the world whose body hurt all the time!

Then to make things worse, the unit on kickball started. That game ended up being my childhood nemesis. All my friends loved it, but my body ached and throbbed during the whole game. I would find myself sitting by the old oak tree when it was my teams turn to kick and I would just pray that The teacher wouldn’t notice that I never took my turn. And when we were put into the outfield, I would walk as far back into the outfield as I could. And I would stand tall and ready, honestly trying to be in the game, but then my legs would start throbbing, so I would end up sitting in the outfield, watching butterfly’s and praying that that little ball of red torture would come no where near me! It seemed like more often then not the cards wouldn’t be in my favor, and that ball would fly towards me, I would of course miss it and be hated the rest of recess for “ruining the game.” 

I realized during the next week that my friends wouldn’t ask me to come play with them at recess because they were playing kickball. And if I did join them, I would be picked dead last, and then teased because I wasn’t any good. Kickball, which I viewed as a great evil in the world, was taking all my friends away from me! I decided I needed to go to great lengths to make kickball’s reign of terror in my life come to an end! For a whole weekend I plotted what I could do to save my social life. As I was plotting that weekend, I realized something. Even though I was in pain, I had one thing going for me. I was funny!

That following Monday I walked confidently out to the kickball field. A big smile spread across my face when a classmate called out that it was time for the captains to pick out their teams. It was time to put my plan into action! Whenever the captain looked at me I pulled a funny face, or did a silly little dance. I ended up being picked in the middle! I was overjoyed that I wasn’t picked dead last. The plan was working! Then it was my team’s turn to kick. I didn’t cower beside the old oak tree like usual. Instead I got near the front of the line. When it was my turn, I kicked, and of course I missed the ball by a long shot. But I made a joke about it before anyone else could! Their words couldn’t hurt me if I made a joke about it first! They started laughing with me, not at me — it was awesome!

Day after day I made up for my bodily pain and lack of physical abilities with humor. At first it was completely a coping mechanism (heck it still probably is) But that discovery of humor ended up being one of the biggest blessings in my life. At a very young age it taught me that no matter what I faced, I could be strong, and find the humor in every difficult situation.

My humor helped me find my place among my peers, led me to actives I love to this day, singing, acting, and performing, and helped me build my confidence. I knew that even though I was physically weak, I was just as important and just as cool as any other kid. Humor broke me even further out of my already cracked shell, I gained the confidence to talk to anyone and everyone! I was even the type of girl who had the guts to stand on top of my desk and perform to my class the latest song I learned in singing lessons.

When I realized that other kids bodies didn’t hurt like mine did, and that I may forever be different than every other kid because of it, it led me down a hard but amazing road that taught me you don’t have to be like everyone else to fit in. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. It may be true that most kids born with healthy, somewhat athletic bodies that were made to effortlessly run and play kickball. But others like me were born to do a silly dance and cheer their friends on from the sidelines.

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Originally published: February 23, 2017
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