February 24, 2010 § 1 Comment
I have a question for you. Am I really 25 and still being bullied by people?
Through out my life, I have encountered a certain personality type, usually female, that is a master at making girls like me feel worthless with what seems like an effortless flick of their wrists. These people are sort of my kryptonite, because for the most part I am a pretty strong, outspoken, confident individual. During college, I lived with a girl who by far, is still the best example to date of what I’ll call mean girl. No matter what I did, whether it was the way I washed the dishes, or how I walked down the hallway, if I slept through my own class, the boy I dated, how I studied, it was always wrong, annoying and inconvenient to her. And everyone else loved her, or more accurately feared her, and thus worshipped the ground she walked on. Her rule of cruelty went on unending. No one challenged her, least of all me. I did nothing but further worsen my predicament by trying harder and harder to win over her affections. We all know, that with any bully this does nothing but make matters worse.
Once I freed myself from that living situation, I always regretted never having told her what I thought of her—that she was a BITCH. I used to fantasize that we’d had sort of a last stand in which I said to her with a cool and composed stare, “It’s a good thing you have your looks, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get away with being such a bitch.” (You see, she was a blond haired blue-eyed California dream physically). Of course, she becomes a slack jawed speechless mongrel in response to my outrageous uprising as I walk away with a smirk of satisfaction on my face.
But I never did this and for good reason. My delivery would have been poor. I probably would have been fighting off tears, my blood pressure would have been off the scale, and I’d already begin doubting the justification of my words mid-sentence. This leads me to believe two things: I care too much what other people think and that I get a lot more peace of mind from just letting things go.
For some reason unbeknownst to me I still wanted the mean girl to like me. Why? Why?!? That makes absolutely no logical sense. I must be a little overly concerned with what people think of me in general. Remember Road Rules, back when MTV was actually worth watching? When I was 13, I watched an all day Road Rules marathon and gleaned a bit of wisdom from one episode in particular. A mission took the cast members to the hometown of one of the male characters. During his stay at home he decides he needs to break things off with his hometown girlfriend. He hates the fact that his decision causes her to become unhappy with him. The wisdom was his realization that it is impossible for others to always be happy with him. Just like it is impossible for everyone to always like me. It is a waste of precious energy trying to make everyone like me, especially means girls, not to mention futile.
Television and movies depict a justifiable telling off as a rewarding, exhilarating and cathartic experience. Do those Hollywood redemptive qualities make the cut in a real life confrontation? I’m not so sure. In my own experience, I usually end up feeling worse than if I had just kept my mouth shut. With adrenaline in play, I never really say the right thing, after all I’m not reading a rehearsed script written by some witty screenwriter. Even if I were to deliver the best speech in the world, would it really be worth all the energy I expended getting upset in the first place? My blood pressure goes through the roof, my skin grows hot, my focus wavers, and a huge pit begins to engulf my stomach, all physical afflictions I would prefer to avoid. The only way I can see around these discomforts is to let the confrontation go at the first opportunity. Let’s face it the less stress, the better.
I have been operating under the false pretense that things change as you get older. However, recent experiences have shown me that no matter what age I am, where I live or work, I will continue to encounter the same type of mean girls from time to time, and it is my responsibility to learn to deal with them appropriately. Blowing out an extra candle on my birthday cake each year doesn’t magically make it any easier for me to resist crumbling at the feet of another tyrant. I need some practice at effectively putting these realizations into play. Letting go and not worrying about what other people think–even mean people–is a lot easier said than done.