Today was another one of those amazing Sundays.
I went to Boomers with some of my favorite kids, we got soaked in the boat ride, we dried off by going go kart racing several times, we spun around and around on dizzying rides. I laughed and screamed, ate overpriced pizza and drank a lemonade sprite.
On my way to the bathroom with the group, something caught my eye and I saw a group of three young boys, probably around the age of 11 or 12 on the driving games at the arcade. They were horsing around and two of the kids were pushing one kid in particular. I didn’t think much about it. Moments later we were about to get in line for laser tag and I saw the same trio sitting on the couches and that one kid in particular was definitely being pushed around and the two boys on each side of him started to mess with his face, squeezing and poking as he sat solemn and silent. I was infuriated with a rage I didn’t even know I had. I backed up into the air hockey table observing with unspeakable anger boiling up. Someone behind me shoved me off, they obviously were playing the game but I was too bothered to notice or look behind. Their shove positioned me right in front of the boys.
“Does he want you to be touching him like that.” My tone was stone cold. I surprised even myself.
The two boys quickly dropped their hands, turned a little red and kept repeating “I’m sorry.”
“I don’t think it’s right to treat people like that.”
At that point, one of the youngest girls we were with came up to me and asked me to go with her to the bathroom. I went with her and as I walked away I never felt so empowered!
That was not easy for me. Even if I notice something that’s wrong, I usually don’t say anything. I’m one of the most self conscious people I know. And usually so many things stop me from using my voice. “Someone else more brave will deal with this.” “Maybe they are brothers and this is how they always act.” “What if they laugh at me.” This was one of the first moments in my life where I used my voice, despite the voices in my head, and it was the most empowering moment OF MY LIFE. I wanted to live my life like this. Not afraid to step into the awkward moments and say what’s on my mind.
Later, I saw them in the same line for laser tag no longer pushing each other but standing there and talking. I saw the boy who had been pushed earlier several times this day. What struck me was I saw his eyes for the first time. Earlier, his head was always down and eyes always glued to the floor. This time, he made eye contact with me and had a hint of a smile on his face.
“There is nothing more genuine than breaking away from the chorus to learn the sound of your own voice.”