Some days it seems inevitable. Especially these foggy, gloomy days. Bullies just keep getting their way. They push, they pressure, they get ahead by making you feel really shitty about yourself. If you hear it for long enough, you believe it. Maybe you are not as smart or deserving as they are. Maybe they’re right, and you need to give up.
They may win some battles. Even some big, national, all-important ones. But you can stop them in your circle of the world. You just have to believe you can do it.
Almost everyone I know was bullied or teased as a kid (Really? You weren’t? I don’t buy it.) I definitely was. I went to an extremely diverse school on the border of Queens and Long Island where I didn’t fit in at all. We had kids on food stamps and kids driving brand new Mercedes with their nickname stamped on the license plate. I was somewhere in the middle. On the peripheral. I hung around with a few outcasts. I shaved the back of my head, I wore fishnets and Dr. Martin’s up to my knees. I had older boyfriends with ponytails and smoked cigarettes outside of the school gates. I was on the gymnastics team, though I wasn’t very good. I stayed away from sports that involved running because the boys would all holler “MOOOOOSE” anytime I’d run past. Don’t feel too bad for me. I did my share of bullying too. I think about it now and can’t believe the person I was back then. I still feel terrible about it. I want to reach out to the people I teased to apologize, but I always chicken out, not wanting to open old wounds. So if you’re reading this, and if I made you feel bad about yourself, know that I regret it, and I’m truly sorry. And yeah, I know that’s a cop out.
But now it’s different. Adult are actually more cruel than kids. Adults manipulate and deceive. They force their opinions on you as facts, even though you know their’s is not the truth. Think about your boss, and how he or she slyly takes credit for your work, or doesn’t give you opportunities to move up. Or your family, and how they laugh or patronize when you say you want to start a business or change careers. Or maybe the mom on the playground who gives you shit about looking at your phone instead of at your kid the whole time. And then there are friends or co-workers who just push and push and push until you’re so damn tired of fighting that you’ll agree with whatever they say just to end the conversation.
We all know it. No matter what the situation, we all have people in our lives who want to keep us down. I’m not saying we need to wish ill on them or yell and scream (though it would feel SO GOOD). We just need to stand up for what’s right. Don’t cower. Don’t ignore. Keep asking for an invite to the big meetings. Thank the pushy mom for her concern, and tell her you got it covered. Don’t change your mind or give up on your ideas because someone else doesn’t like them. Keep pushing, and don’t be afraid to speak up, to shout your opinions, and to persevere. And once you do, start doing it for others if they haven’t yet found their voice.
The view is nice from the top. You made it because you didn’t give up.
But most of all, don’t stay home instead of going out to vote because you think everyone else will do the right thing. It doesn’t work that way (obviously).
We are all stronger than we think. I promise.