Why is it that I always feel cheated, used, and walked upon? Is it because I am female and young, or because I am brash and bold? Or am I simply playing the victim over and over again? Are you one of those people that no matter what you do things just don’t go right? I am. Friends, family and love relationships fall apart. Many jobs have gone awry for me, many arguments have been lost, and won. Sometimes I feel as if I have been riding an emotional rollercoaster my whole life. All I want to know is when can I get off?
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not on the verge of jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge or even anything remotely like that. All I am asking is why do some people get dealt the bad hand in life? Why is it that everything we do is not good enough, not smart enough, or fast enough? For example when I was a kid growing up in white suburbia I was the only person with African American heritage that I knew. All the kids in my class where white, people at my church were white, and everyone in the entire town was white. It never really bothered me because my mother is white but it bothered other people. She was never good enough for them because she married a black man. So in turn, I was never good enough for them either.
Growing up wasn’t really that hard because all of my friends accepted me for who I was. I was always good enough for them and they never complained. But, there’s always that one person who wants to make your life living hell. For what reasons I will never know but they are all the same bully to me. In middle school it was Sarah who constantly picked on my hair and clothes and never made me feel welcome. In high school it was Erin who spread lies about me and stole my boyfriends. And even in college there was a bully. Delilah, I will never forget her. She was the rudest, meanest, most crass woman you have ever met.
Delilah, who openly called me a slut in front of teachers and class mates, the same Delilah that poked fun at me in voice class calling me stuck up and racist and the very Delilah that made me feel horrible. And why did she do all of this? I never even said one word to her, let alone never even looked in her direction. Why did she choose to pick on me? Through it all I managed to come out on top. Even though Delilah tried she could not break me. All through my life, my parents said “kill them with kindness” but I never really believed it worked.
That same year Delilah had been torturing me, I was in choir and we were about to have our first big concert. As usual Delilah did her best to make me feel unwelcome, giving me dirty looks, and whispering to her friends. But, I noticed something she didn’t; her tag was sticking out on the back of her choir dress. At that point Delilah gave me the meanest look she had ever given me as if to question why I was looking at her. As I calmly walked toward her she turned her back on me, expecting to be confronted. When I was an arms length away from her I said “Delilah, your tag is sticking out” and then I proceeded to tuck it back in for her.
From that point on Delilah never bothered me again, never called me names, and stopped trying to embarrass me. I felt empowered for one of the first times in my life. I just couldn’t believe such a simple act of kindness worked like a charm. Sure, I could have confronted her about all the times she picked on me but why bother? At least it was over. But like I said, there is always someone trying to make your life a living hell.
After college I got a great job at a shipping company and within months I had moved up to management. Things were going great for me and I was really beginning to see my life take some shape and direction. And that’s when all the trouble started. Whenever I was feeling really good about myself and I was doing a great job there was always someone there to kick me in the stomach. This time it was a double team effort to take me down.
For whatever reason, two of my employees felt the need to question my authority, call me names, and simply abuse me. Joe was the ring leader and Paul was the follower and when they got together it meant I would have a terrible day. They refused to follow instructions and finish assignments. I was called a bitch and a whore repeatedly, I was kicked, pushed, had things dropped on me, and I was even spit on once. When I complained to my supervisor he took it lightly and no action was taken to stop the abuse. As usual I was being walked all over and no one was looking out for me.
After repeated complaints I realized that nothing would be done for my sake. So I quit and I have regretted it ever since. I let them get the best of me and that’s what bothers me the most. As it goes, you win some and you lose some. But I didn’t let it get me down for long. Instead of relying on others I went to work for myself but I still couldn’t get it right. As a private contractor I found it much easier to deal with customers and people in general. There were no time lines, no assignments, and no boss; it was great.
I easily dealt with hundreds of customers, but as usual there is always one person who has to make it hard for you. For me, that customer was Bill and he was terrible. We had closed a deal and I took his payment and about a week later I got a chargeback statement from the credit card company. The cardholder had alleged he never bought the item and wanted his money back. When I questioned Bill about the chargeback he threatened me, called me stupid, and refused to be cooperative. Ah, the bully again; this time after money. When does it stop?
Even just yesterday, I was moving one of our cars from the back driveway to the front of the house. As I pulled up to the stop sign at the corner I saw a police car, but there was plenty of space for me to pull out so I did. As soon as I pulled into the driveway in the front of the house the officer flashed her lights and wanted to question me. She asked me if I had a driver’s license, if I knew the rules of right away, and all sorts of stupid questions that didn’t even have to do with the situation. I explained to her that I didn’t have to observe the right away because there was plenty of time and space for me to enter the roadway. Needless to say she didn’t agree so I started to get upset with her.
Then, out of nowhere comes my boyfriend from beside the house saying “Yes officer I saw the whole thing and she pulled right out in front of you”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. So I said “Hon, don’t. I can handle this” and he went to say something else and I screamed “I got it!” Why is it that the time when I need him most, he takes the other side? How dare he do such a thing? Why didn’t he just write me the ticket himself? I was having a bad day to begin with, and I really didn’t need the one person who loves me batting for the other team. It was at this moment I realized something I had been missing all along.
You think people love you, and that your friends are true, and situations are good. But people always have underlying agendas and that is what you have to see. Like Sarah from elementary school; she picked on me because her self esteem was low and she thought making someone else feel bad would make her feel better. Erin and Delilah were just jealous of what I had and wanted to be like me. Paul and Joe were mad because they thought I didn’t deserve the job appointed to me, and Bill was just a crook that had nothing to do with me at all.
There’s always a reason why people treat others the way they do, and more often than not it has nothing to do with you at all. Just take it in stride because life sucks sometimes and there is not much we can do about. When people try to push you down, use you, or bully you stand up to them. Kill them with kindness, it really works. Realize that people have motives for doing what they do. It’s an eye for an eye world and you’re the only one that’s got your back.