Pinkie Beatrice Berrain was in grade school when she started to get picked on. She did not know which she hated more: her real name or her nickname. It was her real name that led to her nickname, so maybe she hated both. She inherited the name Pinkie from her great-great grandmother whom she had never met.
She was now in high school, and it did not help that she was academically bright either. Nowadays, she was just called “The Brain.” It seemed worse. But she got through day after day of teasing. She did not want to cry about it because she thought it made her look silly in front of the other children.
Mum, Dad, and all her grandparents, aunts and uncles adored her since she was the only girl in the family. She had all the comforts and delights a girl her age could ever want. Except for one thing – she did not know what to do with bad feelings.
Whenever she told Mum or Dad about how and what she had felt growing up being teased by other children, they did all they could to make her feel better in the moment. They were not with her the next day when the bad feelings towards her name and the teasing came back. No matter how much she tried to replace them with good feelings, they always came back.
Sometimes her head would hurt trying to ignore her bad feelings, and she thought that she was damaging her intelligent brain. Even with all the teasing, she liked the fact that she was clever. She just did not like the bad feelings.
One day, she had a conversation with her favourite – Grandpa Thomas – before bedtime. That day, she was struggling with those bad feelings for the umpteenth time, and her grandparents had come to visit. After dinner and dessert, Grandpa had come to tuck her and her little brothers into bed, before heading back downstairs to join the adults for coffee.
He knew her better than any of his grandchildren. She was his favourite girl, and he could tell that she was upset. She also hardly touched her dinner and dessert. “What is on your mind, sweetheart? I know that look at your face.” he said.
If there was one person Pinkie felt safe with in the entire world, it was Grandpa Thomas. Not even Mum and Dad made her feel safe to talk, because they always told her what to do and how to feel. He always listened first, and he helped her work through her feelings.
“Grandpa, my brain hurts”, she said. “It hurts when I ignore my bad feelings or try to replace them with good ones. Nothing can help me with the pain. Why is that?”
“I know, my darling. I used to do the same thing. The reason your head hurts is because you are supposed to feel those bad feelings together with the good ones.”
Pinkie usually knew all the answers to the challenging questions in her school tests, but the answer was so simple, it surprised her! All she had to do was to let herself feel the bad feelings. Surely it was more than that!
“But Grandpa, I thought that you had to chase away bad feelings.” It was what she had been told by others to do with bad dreams and bullies who scared her little brothers at school. Only good feelings and good people were allowed to stick around.
Grandpa Thomas explained to Pinkie that all feelings were normal and need to be felt. But it was what we did with those feelings afterward that mattered most. The first step was to feel them.
He explained that all her bad feelings about being teased and being called weird names at school were normal. It was OK to feel angry, hurt, and not like the children who had teased her at school. Grandpa said that he would help her decide what to do with those bad feelings.
Pinkie wished she had asked Grandpa for his help sooner! She felt so much better to go to sleep that night! She asked Grandpa if he would help her other friends also. “But you can do that, sweetheart. Just tell them what I told you. It’s OK to feel good and bad feelings.”
Pinkie repeated it to herself over again until she fell asleep every night – It is OK to feel good and bad feelings. It is OK to feel good and bad feelings. It is OK to feel good and bad feelings.
Her wish for you is the same. She wants to tell you that your brain does not have to hurt like hers did. It is OK to feel good and bad feelings because that is the way it is supposed to be. It is what you do with them that matters.
This story has been written by Lisa Thomas, a Bedtime Stories For Kids contributor