Our supervisor at work gave us each sweet little figurines for Christmas. Mine is a little mouse with the hugest ears and the body is the shape of a pear. My card reader is not working or I would post a photo of it for you.
Opening that little mouse gift reminded me that my nickname in high school was "Mouse". I said it out loud yesterday and someone asked me why that was my nickname. Here's why.
Until I was in my mid 30's, I had ears that stuck out like a mouse. I was born that way and I suffered all through my school years into adulthood with those ears. My hair is quite fine and although I tried to wear it in a style that hid those ears, I didn't do a very good job of it. I remembered in the flash of a second the pain of being burdened with such a physical flaw. I hated windy days because I felt terribly exposed. I hated that I couldn't wear my hair very long or pull it back in a pony tail like my friends. Those mouse ears were something I thought about every single day of my life.
I always wanted to have cosmetic surgery to fix those ears but it was expensive so I could never quite justify having the surgery done. Long story short, I ended up scheduling another medically needed surgery (breast reduction) with a cosmetic surgeon and asked him if he could do something with my ears while I was under the knife. He gladly said he would do it and at half-price since I was already on the table. While the breast reduction was awesome to have done, I was extremely happy to get my ears "fixed". The recovery for the ear job was much more physically painful than the breast reduction.
Surprisingly, it took over a year for my psyche to register the fact that I now had perfect little ears. I liken it to those who have gastric by-pass surgery and lose weight quickly. The mind has a hard time catching up with the fact that our physical appearance has changed.
I have all but forgotten that I had mouse ears and huge, back-breaking boobs at one time. One of the things that came up for me yesterday when opening that gift was the memory of how cruel kids can be and even some unthinking adults. While I know my friends' nickname for me was a term of endearment (my close friends were not bullies), I am certain they never knew how incredibly painful it was having mouse ears.
It's easy to think that our off-handed comments are funny or witty but I write this post for myself. I am as guilty as the next person to make an unthinking comment and opening that gift yesterday reminded me that I need to choose my words thoughtfully. I'd rather not be the cause of some one's feelings being hurt.