Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Own New Beginning--Jamie Manning

First, I'd like to thank the wonderful crew here at YA Outside the Lines for inviting me to be a part of their blog. It truly is an honor, and I hope I do my part justice.

This month's topic, in case you may not have figured it out by the dozen or so posts before this one, is New Beginnings. We all get them. We all have a love/hate relationship with them. We all must inevitably accept them as part of the human experience. That's the part I'd like to talk a bit about today: accepting New Beginnings.

If you can remember back that far (for those of you who still have the word "teen" attached to your age, this should be an easy one), you may recall your first real New Beginning as being the day you started school. I myself can remember the excitement I felt. I can remember being anxious and happy, ready to meet new friends and learn new things. Heck, I was even excited about riding the bus for the first time. (author's note: my awesome mom actually let me experience that New Beginning when I was four, when she dressed me and packed me a lunch and put me on the bus with my older sister, only to be waiting at the school when we got there to take me back home. But I digress...)

And like that first day of school, there are many, many more signature New Beginnings one experiences throughout life: first best friend; first boyfriend/girlfriend; first bicycle; first book; first job. The list is truly endless. But the common thread throughout all of the aforementioned New Beginnings is that we tend to accept them with excitement and smiles, with open arms and hearts. These New Beginnings are ones we embrace as positives, things that we know without a doubt will enrich our lives and shape us into the people we want to become.

But what about those New Beginnings none of us see coming? Those none of us want to ever experience? Everything from living the rest of your life after your beloved pet moves on, to living the rest of your life after your beloved human best friend moves on... How in Hades are we supposed to accept those with the same high spirit and sense of wonder? It ain't easy, lemme tell ya. But we must. 

I can remember the first time I was bullied. 

I was in the fourth grade, and it was recess. I was playing by myself on the jungle gym, happy and carefree like all kids should be. One boy in my class, one boy who was bigger and therefore thought he was better, started bothering me. First it was taunting, making jokes and slinging names. I did my best to ignore him, having known this day would come since he had already done the same to countless others. And that worked for a bit, the silent treatment I was giving his teasing.

But this boy... This boy knew the game. He knew that simply throwing words was never enough. He had to see the pain, see his victim crying and cowering back from him. So, he moved in. 

I was at the top of the jungle gym, the very top, so I thought I was safe. I knew I couldn't stay there forever, but for the moment, I was okay. 

Until boys just like him began circling like starving coyotes in the middle of the desert. I was trapped. I knew this was it. This was my time. I had to come down from there, face what was going to happen. 

So I did. Scared and shaking, I climbed down that jungle gym and faced my bully.

Looking back, I'm so very glad I did.

On that day, a New Beginning started for me. One that gave me strength and courage. One that taught me that although life will sometimes give me a swift kick (or several swift punches, thanks to a bully and his friends) between the legs, I would survive. 

And that, readers, is how you accept those New Beginnings that, at the time, are too painful and scary to face. Whether it's having to go on after the death of a loved one...or moving away from the safety of home to embark on your own life...or standing up to a bully... 

Always know that each New Beginning, no matter how exciting or happy or terrifying or sad, will ultimately change you and mold you and make you into the person you were always meant to be.

And above all else, always always remember that yes, you will survive.


  1. Awesome post, Jamie! You're right--sometimes a new beginning feeling like a punch, and you're right too, that we can survive those punches. We have to. So glad you've joined our group!

  2. Ugh, so sorry you were bullied. But this was a great post. Happy to 'meet' you!

  3. I'm sorry you were bullied; bullies like that often tend to "forget" what they did once they get older, but that doesn't change or erase what they did. It's good that you faced the bullies; it shows you weren't willing to back down.

  4. I love this take on new beginnings--the beginnings that TERRIFY you. Great advice...

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