“Despite our usually sunny dispositions and dedication to the practice of “assuming positive intent,” we all occasionally find ourselves having to deal with an incredibly unpleasant individual. While I’m sure you always handle it with the tact and finesse for which you’ve become so well known, I’m going to ask you to step outside yourself for just a moment.
Think back to such a situation: if the gloves were off, how you really would have liked to have dealt with them?” (Thanks Brad! a.k.a. Geekin Hard)
I was the most nondescript wallflower yet I was still picked on.
Today’s writing prompt seemed simple on the surface but it’s funny when I read this I immediately had flash backs. Not to a recent incident of road rage or listening to a customer in line at the grocery store treat a cashier like shit. I flashed back to high school. I flashed back to the bullies and the mean kids. I flashed back to every name I got called and every joke that got played, every way that people chose to put me down and every situation where I was ostracized. I immediately thought, like I have many, many times over the years, what would I have said to them if I would have bitten back.
I’ve tried to live my adult life with no regrets, and for the most part I don’t have any. When I was younger I have more regrets then would care to admit. Yes it’s part of learning and growing and no I wouldn’t be the person I am now if things were different. It doesn’t change the fact that I am plagued by the concept of what would have happened if I had stood up for myself instead of just taking it on and internalizing it all. What would the bullies have done if I had a witty comeback for every name, every taunt, every slur that I was called? Would they have stopped? Maybe they would have retaliated worse. Problem is I will never know what would have felt like to be that person and have stood up for myself
I don’t know if I would have been mean to them out of vengeance. If I would have been petty and hit them where it hurts so they felt the same. Or if I would have approached it with pity and pointed out how pathetic they were being (though in my heart I know that wouldn’t have made a difference). I know that what I did do was nothing and by doing nothing they felt as if they had permission to continue while every day it chipped away at me more and more.
Finding an image that *wasn’t* from Frozen took ages..
In my life right now so I don’t deal with these types of issues anymore. I don’t surround myself with people who act like this to me or to anyone else. There have been times when criticisms or challenging issues come up in recent years and out of fear of reacting with too much emotion I take it all in. I go away. I think it through thoroughly. Then I re-approach the situation with facts, logic and evidence and a confidence I wouldn’t have had in the moment. I am methodical about my reactions to scenarios based on my history and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or if it’s holding me back. I do know I wish I would stop regretting the things I never said and let go of it all. While I continually work to come to terms with the past I know I won’t put up with bullies in my future. No regrets from here on out.
*I feel the need to add a P.S. I’m not claiming that I was bullied severely. I was still able to function and get through life and school without major incident. I’m not trying to compare my experience to anyone else or the teens who suffer longterm mental and emotional scars. I fully acknowledge that I come from a place of privilege where this issue might seem insignificant to some but for me to be authentic about my experience I needed to be honest with myself and express what I know to be true as well as I’m able.*