Words Worth Spreading: A #LessonLearned by Julie Davidoski
When I think of Julie Davidoski, I think of chipmunks, side-ponytails and slap-bracelets. You heard me. This girl is single-handedly trying to revive that fashion craze. And she’s actually doing a pretty good job of it.
Julie has a happy-go-lucky blog where she (generally) writes about happy topics that make people smile. I feel honored to have her here today so we can see another side to our spunky girl: the introspective Julie.
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Words Worth Spreading
You might think this post is going to be about the day I realized real love is better than endlessly staring at posters of Jonathan Taylor Thomas, or the time I almost needed stitches because of an unfortunate incident involving an unusually sharp shower faucet. Well, no. I still idolize actors and I still reach for the soap with abandon. I’ve got a lot to learn.
There is one lesson that seems to have stuck, though.
In 1999, I was 17 years old. I had recently earned my GED and was overcoming a history of panic attacks and a “mild” eating disorder (talk about NOT living up to that Prince song). I saw a wonderful therapist and felt heard, but I had one setback: I couldn’t stop myself from snooping through my mom’s email account, eager to catch a glimpse of my own name. It seemed like a no-brainer; she never signed out of Yahoo! (I’m not sure she knew how).
“Be careful what you wish for,” could easily be the lesson learned here, because surely it didn’t take long before “Julie” graced more than one of my mom’s emails. The email I remember best was to her friend, and the focus was on my weight, which was increasing at the time. The tone was disappointment. I cried. How was I going to stop obsessing over the numbers on the scale if she couldn’t?
For weeks I kept reading. I can only remember my name being associated with a number and nothing else. I knew my mom loved me unconditionally, so why did there seem to be a condition? As I read, I thought about all of the things my childhood girlfriends would say behind my back. I knew they’d all rather hang out with the other girls than me. I remembered the 8th grade schoolmates who said my crush, a geeky boy with a feminine side, might go out with me at the end of the summer – if he was desperate enough.
Then I realized something.
My mom had probably always talked about me. She would probably always talk about me. And there was nothing I could do about it.
Except there was.
My therapist didn’t bother masking her surprise when I shared that I’d stopped reading my mom’s emails.
“What made you stop?” she asked.
“I just realized I don’t want to know,” I replied simply.
She raised her eyebrows and jotted something on her notepad. “That is incredible progress.”
Her sincere praise made me realize, for the first time, that this might be a significant turning point in my life.
Now I know it was.
Not long ago, a co-worker blurted, “You should hear what Lucy said about you when we were friends.” My response? “You know what? Please don’t tell me. I’ve been down that road, and nothing good can come of it.” I know she was not only taken aback, but also disappointed. She tried to tell me repeatedly, and I continually turned her down.
I get it. It’s like picking a scab.
But I don’t need any more scars.
Don’t get me wrong. I like sarcasm, juicy gossip and all Perez Hilton has to offer, but I never, ever want to make others feel the way I once did.
For the last twelve years, I have avoided seeking negative opinions, and have done my very best to refrain from spreading others’ harsh words**.
Positivity is a powerful thing, and as strongly as I believe in keeping negative words to myself, so strongly do I believe in spreading upbeat ones.
I think it’s working, because my family’s doing really well in the compliments department lately.
And by the way, you are looking so hot right now! Is that a new shirt?
**In other words, I’m the world’s best secret-keeper, so you should totally email me and tell me everything.
How are you when it comes to self-restraint when it comes to talking about other people?