Posts Tagged ‘Sorry’

Unworthy confessions of a bully

So earlier today [much earlier] Chrisselle posted something about being bullied most of her life and it made me realize that now is the right time to share something I’ve been meaning to for a while.

Firstly let’s just define bullying as doing anything that breaks someone down and makes them feel less than worthy. Now, by this definition, we have all been guilty of bullying at one stage or another, what’s worse is that most of the time we don’t even realize it… we’ve become so focused on self preservation that we’ve completely forgotten how to be compassionate and care about those around us.

I’m sure people have said mean and hurtful things to me, but somehow I really don’t remember most of them. There is one I remember and well, I haven’t really spoken to my once favourite cousin since then. As for the rest, my mind has wiped it out, as a defence mechanism, about 5 seconds after they said it. Maybe it was that fact that I’ve always had a solid family support and surrounded myself with amazing friends, so it really does take a lot to hurt me. My friends always say that if someone wanted to insult me they’d have to put it on a huge neon board with spinning wheels and flashing arrows pointing at it or else I just won’t notice it.

Partially this is because I tend to believe the best in people, so when you say something that could potentially offend me, I tend to explore every option just to dig the compliment or well meaning thought out of your insult. And I’ve pretty much been comfortable with who I am since I was 6 years old. Obviously I went through a bit of confusion when I was 14 but that didn’t last long and again right after my dad died when I was 19 and wondering if my choices really were my own or simply just what was expected of me. As it turns out I’ve always lived by the same 4 rules I made on the play ground when I was 6 and the people who didn’t like it either removed themselves from my life or got removed by…uhm… unforeseen… fists.

The point of this post is not to brag about how perfect my life is but rather to confess. I’m pretty sure I was a bully at school. It’s not like I intentionally set out to hurt people or anything like that but being comfortable in your own skin has a way of making the people around you feel less than worthy simply because they haven’t found that confidence yet. And I remember being 12 years old and knowing exactly where I wanted my life to go and very above the pathetic “look he’s wearing billabong” crap. There’s this one moment I won something [ honestly cannot even remember what, was probably a math-olympics or long distance something] and I was surrounded by all these kids asking me questions and being all excited and I remember looking up and way over there on the slopes my 4 closest friends were sitting… Just sitting there patiently waiting for me to work my way through the crowd and at that exact moment I remember wishing I could just duck under this group of kids and just be with my friends, the ones who’ve always liked me not just when I win stuff.

My friends were awesome but we were all very different and had our strengths, I like doing a lot of things so more often than not, I would end up beating one of my friends, even if it was just 1 mark on a science quiz. I remember feeling incredible guilt over this during grade school and high school, which is why I started tutoring and it helped me feel like I was sharing my knowledge so I didn’t have to feel guilty for knowing stuff. This is not really where I intended this post to go but this is my defence mechanism kicking in; I don’t know how to say what I want to say without potentially losing any amount of respect you may have for me, so I attempt to bore you into not noticing my confession.

So here it is: whenever there was a fight [physical or verbal] on the play ground [even during high school] someone would come to call me and obviously I’d run towards the fight. In the beginning I’d break it up or simply just through myself in between the punches [being a girl and all, it had a tendency to stop the fight immediately] then I’d talk to them and all the rest. But in later years I didn’t even have to say or do anything, if they saw me coming they would disburse or even just the treat of me coming would end the fight. I don’t know how that happened. I don’t understand why they were so terrified of me. I can list the 3 physical fights I’ve been in, in my life and how that may have changed people’s perception of me or how I never backed down from a challenge or how I have the pain threshold of an African Elephant but ultimately I don’t think any of these things would explain why people feared me or had photos of me in their closets that they were throwing darts at.

My oldest friend came up to me once when we were about 11 and said: “I’m not your punching bag” And to this day, those words still haunt me and I still feel that sharp pain meets utter disbelief. To me it was a game and I didn’t think twice about it but to her, I was crushing her. I still admire the guts she had to say that to me. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not like she had to be afraid of me beating her up or something, but at that age you have a very set circle of friends and if you fight with one it disrupts the entire thing and you could end up spending your breaks alone. I hadn’t realized that I was hurting her and simply by having the guts to tell me that I was making her feel less than worthy, I stopped. As in: immediately, that very second! My friend was way more important to me than any game and we changed our friendship circle too. Which I was really happy about because they were running it like it was a monarchy and everyone had to bend to their rule, which did not sit well with me, so we started our group with the out casts.

It was a lot of fun! We always had the new person in school join our group so we were very different and awesome at the same time. I did run into trouble with one of the other groups’ leaders who all of a sudden decided she wants a bigger group and would like the new kids to join her. I found it pretty funny, like I would actually fight someone for the opportunity to be someone else’s friend~ people are not possessions, if you want to be my friend you’re welcome but I’m not going to treat it as a trophy that can be owned. The silly things we do as kids have a tendency to alter our lives far more than those test scores we spent hours preparing for. We really should spend a little more time teaching our children how to be decent human beings and a little less time pressuring them into being our version of perfect.

My parents loved me and I never doubted that for a second. My friends and I fought at times but when push came to shove, I knew they would be there for me, like I will always be there for them. Somewhere along the line, I hurt a lot of people simply by being me and as much as I would like to apologize for hurting them, I cannot apologize for being me. So all of you, who shared those years in primary school with me and hated me in high school, I’m sorry for making you feel anything less than worthy. I honestly never intended to harm any of you but I’m sure that you are stronger than the kids we were back then and I’d like you to know that you have shaped the person I am today. Because of you and the times I made you cry or burst out in frustrated anger, I am more empathetic and aware today. I’m still sorry that it took me this long to say sorry to all of you… I managed to apologize to a few of you before the end of 2005 but to the rest of you: anything I said that hurt you is not worthy of being remembered.

My deepest apologies,

AM

PS: if you’re being bullied or feeling less than worthy, talk to someone like DLYG or TWLOHA

Apologize To A Dead Man

Since I’m sharing loads of things today, I thought I’d share this thing I wrote about my dad awhile ago: Apologize to a dead man

*****

Have you ever felt that it was your time to die?

Absolutely certain that the end was near

And you had to make amends, the last chance to fly

Terrified but confident, not going to show fear

 

Have you ever had to live with the mistake?

Knowing the torment you endured was his cross?

Should have helped him but were too wrapped up in yourself?

Have you ever had to apologize… to a dead man?

 

Have you ever felt that you could read their mind?

Know what everyone’s thinking, word for word

Creeping you out but loving the wisdom you find

Wavering but standing, have to pull the safety cord

 

Have you ever had to live with the mistake?

Knowing the torment you endured was his cross?

Should have helped him but were too wrapped up in yourself?

Have you ever had to apologize… to a dead man?

 

Have you ever felt like you could feel all emotion?

Felt the pain of those around you before they see

Empathy for those a million miles over the ocean

Paralyzed but healing, hug them till it kills me

 

Have you ever had to live with the mistake?

Knowing the torment you endured was his cross?

Should have helped him but were too wrapped up in yourself?

Have you ever had to apologize… to a dead man?

 

Have you ever woken up and realized it wasn’t you?

Sulking without true reason as pity triumphed

Saddened by the knowledge that you didn’t have a clue

Relieved but angry, life not lived is wasted

 

Have you ever had to live with the mistake?

Knowing the torment you endured was his cross?

Should have helped him but were too wrapped up in yourself?

Have you ever had to apologize… to a dead man?

*****

Sharing my view,

AM

Too hard to apologize

I discovered something I’m utterly useless at: apologizing! I have no problem admitting you were right; it’s just the part about me being wrong that seems to be eluding.

For the last two days, I’ve been trying to write an apology letter/ speech to my cousin. I haven’t spoken to her since sometime in 2008. We exchanged a few comments on FB earlier this year but it was more of a family-grape-vine situation and I was at our grandfathers house on her birthday so I spoke to her on the phone for a few seconds but nothing note worthy, not like we use to.

We had sort of a strange relationship. At the time it seemed perfectly normal but as I think about it now, I just don’t get it. We had practically nothing in common and she’s about 8 years older than me. I like sports and maths and 20 million other school activities and she hated most of them. She did all the things I vowed I’d never do, because I thought they were dumb… She probably felt that way about me too. I’m not really sure how we ever ended up together alone. I remember being 5 years old and playing with her twin brothers and hating how she and her sister wanted to play dolls with me when I could be building something disastrous with her brothers instead. And then suddenly my memories jump to being 12 and seeing how most of our family have picked sides.

First everyone just had ‘a favourite twin’ and then they seemed to pick one of the girls too and this went a bit further than just the four of them but somehow I remember feeling that she was being overlooked. I saw potential in her and really wanted her to see it too. At the age of twelve I found that younger kids often came up to me and thought I was so cool because I had a badge for something or other or won that competition or something else equally silly and most of all I remember how their attention inspired me to be a better me, sort of like I didn’t want to let them down. So I figured that the best way to get my cousin to see her potential was to treat her like she’d already reached it and maybe guilt her into being a better version of herself [whatever that meant]. So I gave her this present, actually it was more like 10 little presents that had their own meaning [which I spelled out very clearly]. I remember being very surprised about how excited she was about it and I guess I’ll have to use the cliché and say: the rest is history.

The fact that I’m choosing to write about how our relationship started instead of why it ended should give you an indication of how lousy I am at apologies and how hard this really is for me. We had such a strong relationship that I could literally feel when she was sad or in pain even though we were on opposite sides of the world. Then we lived practically next door to each other for about a year and somewhere in there a few things rocked the boat.

There was this situation with my mother that my cousin never understood, mainly because I refused to tell her my side of it. It’s not like I wanted her to stay mad at me, I just needed her and the rest of our family to not be mad at my mom and since I was further away, I didn’t want their sympathy vote. So I broke one of my own rules: I hate when people with hold information because they believe it’s better for you but in actual fact it’s just better for themselves. I’m probably never going to tell her what really went down; actually I’ve only told one other person by accident and using only one short sentence. Anyway, around the same time I really needed to talk to someone about my dad and since I trusted her more than anyone else in my entire life I figured she’d be the best one to go to.

As you may have noticed I tend to be melodramatic about really strange things, so like a poker player I have a few tells most of my friends are aware of. These basically tell them whether I really need them or if I’m just looking for someone to listen or if I actually want them to kick my ass and tell me to get over it all ready. So in no uncertain terms [or at least so I thought] I laid down every single one of my tells and the rules I live by. My cousin couldn’t get out of that conversation soon enough but I figured it was just her way of digesting it all. So a few days later I told her some things I have never and probably will never again, tell anyone else. She didn’t even care enough about me to listen to me and later I would find out that this was because she misunderstood the rules I told her a few nights before… so for that I forgave her after we had a fight about it and everything came to light. But the trust was still broken because it wasn’t easy for me to open up about those things.

Somewhere in that same conversation-fight she also started miss quoting me, once again proving that she didn’t care enough to listen to me in the first place. The things she believed I said also proved that she really didn’t know me at all. If she could believe that I would actually do and believe those things, then she wasn’t the kind of person I needed in my life.

She also brought up my friends [whom she’s never met] and totally dissed them. Maybe because she thought I had changed or because she was afraid of losing me but I think that’s just wishful thinking on my part. I honestly have no idea what she was thinking. She also miss quoted things from my diary[ she asked me once if she could read it and since I whole heartedly trusted her, I had no problem with that as long as she read it cover to cover] that just confused me because my opinion changes as I gain new information i.e. I grow as a person every day. I found it annoying that she was trying to defend people against things I wrote a year earlier, not knowing that I had already had that conversation with them. The fact that she drew so many uninformed conclusions made me wonder why I ever trusted her in the first place…

There was also a comment about my dad that I have completely blocked from my memory but I remember my reaction clearly. Such a strong reaction wouldn’t have come without a huge provocation. Whatever it is she said, I really want to forgive and forget but I think it’s exactly that that caused this whole mess.

Every time I see a picture of her or think of her I have a flashback to my reaction and all I want to do is shove her down the stairs. That is not healthy!!! I have never felt this way about anyone! Even Robert Mugabe has never been that hated by me…

I know this was supposed to be about me apologizing but clearly I’m not quite there yet! I wish I could just spit out those words and stop wasting my energy on this hatred but I think first I need to get over the crushing blows she delivered. I’m sorry that you have to read my psychotic babble but hopefully it’ll lead to the words: “I’m sorry” coming out of my mouth soon.

AM