My husband once said to me that I was crazy to think that my past didn't shape who I am today. Of course where you come from affects where you currently are.
Wouldn't the world be an easier place if we all treaded a little lighter, dug deeper into why people are the way they are and took ownership of our responsibilities?
The bully in highschool has two choices in adulthood. Be accountable for the pain they inflicted on others or continue to act out their childhood antics. Do you ever stop and wonder why someone behaves the way they do? Is the too-cool-for-school girl with the utmost confidence really someone who is masking their pain from childhood cruelty? Or is she actually the one who did the picking on and therefore still carries that confidence into today, continuing the cycle and perpetually and purposely trampling on whomever gets in the way?
Isn't it funny when you think you know someone, and then someone who knows them better than you, far longer and far better explains how shit really went down in the earlier years? Do our current selves try to fool new people into our fabulousness, all the while knowing if we were to run into the ones who are familiar with us, we would cringe and flinch from their knowing stares?
I've been privy to a lot of information lately, things that make me go hmmmmmm. Make you stop and wonder how it must have been for someone during those crucial self-forming years. I've been part of "the popular group" and also felt the sting of snotty stares in the cafeteria when I chose to leave the same group of people that talk about each other. Years later, I still find the same girls gossiping about each other, not wanting each other to succeed and I find myself thinking about that scene in Sex and the City where Charlotte yells at Big. "NO!!!!!!" Because nobody is going to hurt her friend like that again. And the death stare Miranda gave. Oh man. That's what friends are for.
I remember I dated a guy for a few years. To say that his sister was horrible to me is a gross understatement. Years later, ten years of being on my own in Toronto, growing a thick skin and having my life together, I would run into this same bitch that would instantly make me feel like I was that scared young thing again. What is it about bullies that have this power? And alternatively, people whom I just meet and have that power over others have no effect on me. I will never forget the day when "sis" added me as a friend to Facebook. I just sat there staring at the request for weeks. The human part of me wanted to see what she was up to, creep my ex boyfriend and show her just how strong I've become. So I accepted. She wrote me a feeble and apologetic message (I mean, how can you become Facebook friends and not acknowledge the obvious that had happened.) You may be able to trick the outside newcomers but you can't fool the people of your past. She mentioned that she had two little children of her own now and would like to think that she has become a better person and role model for them, and hoped that karma would never pay her kids a visit because of mom's mistake.
I let her apologize. I probably even accepted it. And then deleted her. Because really, who are we kidding? We aren't friends. She'll never be my friend. You may be able to forget what someone says but you will never forget how someone made you feel.
I was mortified recently to find out that someone that I know and trusted was a bully to another close friend. Like horribly. It puts me in an awkward position because I know both as grown ups. And if we were in an office type environment, I would probably just let them duke it out. After all, as adults, we are equipped with tools and coping mechanisms that we never had in our youth. But the friend in me wants to protect that young and scared girl that nobody stood up for. Because that same girl is bound to become a tough and strong bitch in adulthood. And I'm still not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing for their future encounters and relationships.
I feel so scared and sorry for the youth of our generation. I saw a post from a tween relative on Instagram....with hashtags such as #thickgirls #imfatanddisgusting #imaloserwithnofriends. And there were posts underneath from her tween counterparts that literally made me want to jump through the phone and smack their cruelty right out of them. God help me if I ever have a child who gets picked on because I'm not sure I could restrain myself.
Bullying is such a huge problem in schools these days. I have witnessed it all too many times; from outright physical violence to more subtle forms like in an office environment. There is always the ring leader of the group. Even in grown up friendships, there is usually a leader and a follower and nobody wants to go against the almighty with the power. Who are these people anyways? Isn't it true that the same dumb jocks and mean girls in highschool usually grow up to be the losers in life? It's not cool to be a grown up bully. Nobody respects that. You're not considered successful or kind or a good person; the things that matter most in life. I have the power to make people feel good about themselves through my photographs. You have the power and choice to make people feel good about themselves with your actions and words. Grown women suffer from anxiety, depression and low-self esteem. The world is a hard enough place to be in without adding to the suffering.
Please people, be kind. As Amanda Marshall sings....everybody's got a story that will break your heart.