Monday, May 20, 2013

I Can't Hear You, Na Na Na Na Na

Ben & Kate, "Reunion

Kate is explaining to her boyfriend Will why she doesn't want to go to her high school reunion. There was a girl, Anne, who absolutely tormented her with a cruel nickname that ruined those years for her. Will, however, insists that she must "slay that dragon."

He drags her reluctantly to the reunion, and pushes her into confronting Anne, who denies any knowledge of this alleged slur. Kate backs off, but Will won't let it go, and Anne eventually blows her cover and sneeringly taunts Kate with the name. 

Kate, humiliated, leaves, but Anne follows her to the parking lot, and continues to heckle her. Kate then squares her shoulders and tells her off, something along the lines of: 

"Anne, this is the last conversation we will ever have, so listen very carefully. You are beautiful. You are amazingly talented. But you are sad. I love my life. So you can call me whatever you want; I don't care."

Anne can find no retort to this, and quietly returns indoors.  

Since I was the sort of child that passively accepted the world around her, it took me until, well, now, to realize how much I hated my time in school. I love to learn, so it wasn't that; it was the classmates. 

On the occasions when I would crawl home, Ma would tell me, "They are just jealous." Frankly, at that age, it wasn't very helpful; I couldn't understand why they would be. 

But could it be that when those haze others, it is usually the innocent, the clueless, one who has no issues with her existence. The bullies are unhappy, and wish to bring others down to their level. 

Adulthood has its own brand of childhood torment. The comment casually slid into a conversation, the snide innuendo, the discreet put-down. But well-armed with enlightenment, I hear such verbal abuse for what it is: A small, sad person's weak attempt to lower anyone who dares to possess a higher level of contentment. 

When anyone makes any sort of remark regarding my single status, this premise is no different; deriding the unmarried community is merely an "acceptable" form of harassment. So when they piteously "tsk, tsk, tsk," I know it has nothing to do with me. After all, they just met me; why should they care? I smile a brittle grin and walk away with as much sashaying dignity at my disposal. 

'Cause lady, you are sad           


FrumGeek said...

I was bullied a lot in school, and I think the reason why was because I was easy pickings. I was short, had different interests, talked with a higher vocabulary, etc.

"Adulthood has its own brand of childhood torment. The comment casually slid into a conversation, the snide innuendo, the discreet put-down."
As an adult while I do occasionally see this, most of the time I don't notice such things. Then again, as a guy I'm usually more often than not oblivious to subtle insults. Or subtle anything, for that matter.

Sun inside Rain said...

I wasn't bullied in school but I'm still happy to be done with the social pressures! But sometimes it seems like that was child's play compared to the adult version of social pressure, especially re: shidduchim. It's a good thing maturity (usually) comes along with this shift. Good for you for letting it go over your head.

Princess Lea said...

FG: The higher vocab is a killer. Same here. As for subtlety, well, you're a guy. Boys don't know how to be subtle.

SIR: I am still thin-skinned, so I nurse pain even though I know it is not about me. Words do hurt, no matter the motivation.

Sun inside Rain said...

Me too, if truth be told. I convince myself that it doesn't bother me, but deep down I know it does.

Lost and Found said...

I was bullied as a kid because I was easy pickings. That's the only reason I can think of. I didn't really stand out in any other way except that I reacted poorly to teasing and insults.

A few years ago I came to the enlightenment that you mentioned about them being small and sad. While I have no good feelings for those who bullied me, I pity them and the people that they are.

There are still times when I get offended by words said to me, but I've been forced to thicken my skin. Such is life.

Princess Lea said...

My skin gets no thicker. My sarcasm merely increases.

Lost and Found said...

I think everyone who has commented on (or read) this blog is well aware of your adeptness with sarcasm. :)