ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS
|RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER|
I grew up anticipating watching Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer every year on TV. It was part of Christmas. Did you know Robert L. May wrote Rudolph as a poem for his employer, Montgomery Ward back in 1939?
I mention this for a couple of reasons. I love Rudolph. I loved Rudolph as a child because of all the adorable characters: Rudolph, Hermey, Clarice, Sam the Snowman, Yukon Cornelius, The Abominable Snow Monster (Bumble), and Santa. But do you remember the Island of Misfit Toys—Charlie-the-Box, the Spotted Elephant, Bird Fish…
As an adult I love the story of Rudolph for numerous reasons. What a great way to inspire children to accept others who are a little different. Because when you think about it Rudolph was all about bullying. Wasn’t it?
Never sell anyone short because you never know when you might need them. We do need that difference. To survive in this world, we all need to embrace differences. If we don’t it would become a world of Stepford Wives.
Have you ever felt like you live on the island of misfit toys? That you are that Charlie in the Box? That you don’t quite fit into the peg on the board… That’s okay.
I have a thing about bullying in any form. I was at work the other night. I was working with a couple of people who might be considered candidates to live on the island of misfit toys. I guess I’m different because instead of seeing their failures, I see what makes them shine. If you only focus on the negative, you will miss out on the light inside of a person.
This blog today is a tad personal because I’ve seen what bullying can do to a child. My daughter was bullied when we first moved to the town we live in now. She was only in fifth grade, but was never accepted. Think of Mean Girls. Everyone wants to fit in and liked. Even today my daughter who now is in college, I can still see the effects that bullying has left. Bullying destroys confidence. And lack of self-confidence leads to a multitude of issues especially in children.
It isn’t only children though that are bullied. I learned that this year with my writing. It’s not a good feeling. I know what I have gone through and I can’t imagine a child questioning themselves.
I know what it’s like to be different. I have always walked to a different beat. Growing up, I was different than my siblings. I always thought differently. I never kept back my opinions either, which got me into more trouble than you can imagine. I still remember my mother being embarrassed that I came in second place in a writing essay contest about the Civil War when I was in middle school. Not because I came in second place, but because the teacher told her that I would have come in first place if I hadn’t said I thought the South was wrong about seceding from the Union. My sister hid the essay from me and threatened to show it at times when she thought it would embarrass me. She still has it because I never cared if she did show it. I wrote it and believed it. But at the same time, it hurt because my family thought I had done something wrong. It hurts at times to stay true to your beliefs.
Being right doesn’t necessarily mean you will be supported. I believe that you have to find the strength within yourself.
Over the centuries people have been ridiculed for thinking outside the box. Can you imagine the person who tried to convince people that the world was round? That you didn’t just fall off the edge when you got to the end. Can you imagine the courage it took to sail off on that ship to prove your theory?
Sometimes it takes bravery. Other times, we just want to exist in a peaceful environment and live our lives.
I will admit this year I considered stopping writing. I took so much enjoyment from writing and meeting both authors and writers until last February. I lived in a little bubble world where I wasn’t making much with my writing, but was having the time of my life being part of a community.
Oh…the reality of the world outside can be harsh and cruel. In my little bubble world, there is a place for us all. In reality, it’s like the show Survivor—to outwit, outlast, outplay the other contestants. Nice guys don’t always end up first.
What I have learned over the last year is what I really want, I have. I am fortunate that I have a loving husband, children and friends. I need to write because I enjoy it. I can’t worry about the other factors that come into play. I can’t and won’t worry about the things I don’t control. The only thing I can control is what I write.
So I fit better into the world of misfit toys than I do in the outside world. It’s who I am…that naïve country bumpkin who still dreams.
So this Christmas, grab your child, your grandchild, or just by yourself and watch Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. You don’t have to wait for it to be shown on TV. It's out there somewhere to be seen on DVD, on demand…it is out there. Enjoy it!
Not promoting any books today, but I do have a new website with all my books and pen names.