I’m wearing an orange dress today. My friend, who’s an elementary school teacher, reminded me yesterday that today is #Unity day, when we take a stand against bullying. As a former introverted, pale, freckle-y, and rather nerdy teenager who, as an adult, is still quite introverted, pale, freckle-y, and nerdy…this issue is close to my heart. And I’m a mom now. And my heart hurts when I think of how cruel this world can be sometimes.
So there I was wearing my orange dress at our local gas station putting fuel in the tank, when I noticed something unusual on the gas pump. It was a sticker with an incredibly unflattering (to say the least) picture of President Biden, mouth gaping open and finger pointing, with the words “I did that” underneath. Whoever put the sticker there had placed the finger-point strategically close to where the gas price is displayed digitally in red. Ah. I got the message.
It’s been a hard day for me emotionally already and seeing that sticker just tipped me right over the edge. The next thing I knew, I had scraped the sticker off and dumped the shreds of it in the nearby trash can. It took me three tries, but it’s gone. (Until the sticker fairy returns.)
But now, let’s calm ourselves. This reflection of mine honestly has nothing to do with my feelings about this President. Or any U.S. President past or future. What it does have to do with is kindness and love. And stopping bullying. And an awareness that hate is like a cancer eating away at us as a society. Can we learn to disagree without mockery and ridicule? Can we dislike a stance or policy or idea without seeking to destroy the person who shares it? Can we teach our children to respect differences, protect the vulnerable, and—very simply put—be kind?
So I wear my orange today. With hope. With determination. With love. I invite you to join me. And I might just wear something else orange tomorrow.