It’s funny how excited I am that my brother is the one who’s picking me up from the airport tomorrow in Houston on his way down from Dallas. My oldest brother, that is. I miss him a lot and I’m looking forward to the car ride home with him cause I just miss talking to him. Now if only 6 am could come a little faster…
I hate when people downplay personal problems I mention to them by telling me “it’ll be okay” over and over again. I understand that often times, people say this because they’re trying to provide comfort, but sometimes, I DON’T want an answer. At all. Sometimes, I just want someone who will listen. But when you tell me “it’ll be okay” again and again, it starts to sound like you’re not even listening and you just don’t get it. I especially hate when the people who do this are people who vent to me all the time. I love when people vent to me - don’t get me wrong, it’s partly why I’m in the field of study that I’m in - but if you want me to listen to you, I kinda want you to listen to me. I don’t vent a lot to people. I keep a lot of things bottled up - I know that’s bad so don’t remind me - but when I do, it’s nice to have someone actually try to understand you, you know? And if you can’t understand, that’s just fine but don’t tell me that it’s all going to be okay or “oh well” because that’s not what anyone needs.
So this actually happened about a month ago and I’m posting it way later, but that’s alright.
At school, I’m a part of this peer education group (currently all girls and there’s about 15 or so of us) called Sex-Esteem. We bring awareness on campus to issues surrounding sexuality, violence, etc. Being a part of the group is a lot of fun and I truly look forward to going to meetings on Friday mornings - but we’ll save talking about Sex-Esteem for another day. Anyway, there’s this “national holiday” called Love Your Body Day with the purpose of appreciating all shapes and sizes and well, loving your body. There’s another group of girls on Syracuse’s campus that mainly puts the event together but the Sex-Esteem girls help out in any way they can. Every year, as a part of Love Your Body Day, we stand on the quad holding big signs saying things like “You’re Beautiful” and “Love Your Body” and “Hey, Gorgeous!” I remember walking past a few girls last year on the quad and wondering what this was all about. The girls would shout out phrases like these at anyone passing by and try to brighten other girls’ days (or guys!). Little did I know, I was going to be one of these girls the following year. So there were four of us this day. Two girls on one side of the quad and me and another girl on another side, greeting swarms of students as they walked past us. My sign said “You’re Beautiful.” The funny thing is that though a lot of girls smiled and said thank you cheerfully, there was also and equal amount of guys who responded to it. Two guys in particular REALLY surprised me. There I was, holding my sign, calling out to a group of girls, saying “Happy Love Your Body Day!” and before I knew it, two guys started walking straight towards me. I was very confused and was wondering what exactly they were about to do but before I could really think about it, one of the guys wrapped his arms around me and gave me one of the most meaningful hugs of my life. He held me there for a while, pulling my head close to him and just hugged me. The other guy soon did the same and wrapped his arms around me on the other side and so there I was. Smack dab in between two guys I’ve never met experiencing one of the best hugs of my life as they hugged me for what seemed like forever. I was confused but quickly realized exactly what I wanted to tell these two amazing guys. “You guys are beautiful,” I told them through an ear-to-ear smile. The next thing that happened is something I will never ever forget. The guy who first initiated the hug grabbed hold of my shoulders, pulled me away from him and looked into my eyes with a bright smile and said -in the most sincere tone that conveyed such a sense of both sweetness and seriousness - “You’re very, very beautiful. Thank you for holding that sign.” And then the two guys walked away, leaving me stunned.
To me, it is already one of the most memorable moments of my college career so far and just my life in general. Just like I had no idea how much holding that sign would impact someone else, that guy had no idea how much his words or his actions impacted me that day - living proof that one person CAN make a difference.