Alyssa’s Expat Life—One is a Comforting Number Sometimes

I am going to do my best to speak in generalities in this post, because I don’t want to group one group together due to a few bad apples in a bunch. I’ve been reading a lot recently about suicide and bullies, and to be honest I really didn’t know what I thought about the whole bullying subject. After recent events and things said by adults, not even children, nonetheless (seriously, I feel like I’m back in high school on most days) I felt like it was a good time to address my thoughts because I’m stuck here just like in high school. It’s not regular life at the moment, and I can only walk so far away. It’s a trapping feeling, and as many who know me well know, me feeling trapped is torture to my psyche.

My “favorite” thing about bullies is how they react when you try to defend yourself or you try to explain why something they said made you feel hurt or bad. The bully will say “Oh, you took it the wrong way,” or “I said that in jest.” The backward compliment is one of my favorites. Dr. Phil said on his show once that “Most truths are said in jest.” It’s a coward’s way of saying what he or she really feels, and then manipulating you and making you feel like you’re the bad guy because you “reacted wrong.”

For example, this week when I was told by someone I’ve literally met three times, “Oh so that’s what you look like without makeup on.” And I say, “Wow that was a jerk thing to say,” and he responded with something to the effect of it was just a quip or that’s the way he jokes around. Don’t quit your day job, buddy. Was this supposed to make my day better? Was it supposed to make you feel better about yourself? I’m not sure what purpose “jokes” like that are supposed to serve.

Of course this one little dig wasn’t that bad in a huge world of reality. However, after a two-day ordeal of more thoughts about my blog and how I “should” be reacting to China because others don’t have a problem with children shitting in the streets, or even being told the kind of therapy I should be getting, again, by someone I’ve met all of three times, it was the icing on the cake. It has made me rethink who I’m so eager to befriend while I’m here and made me appreciate those who are closest to me.

So, my thoughts on bullying are this, and again, they are only MY thoughts. They aren’t gospel. No one’s thoughts are. Just because you feel or think something doesn’t mean someone else does. So quit thinking you are right just because you feel it and someone else doesn’t. I believe too much focus is on the bully. Did we used to battle it out on the playground in our own way? Of course! Are some parents or people too sensitive? Of course! I think bullying is more about the person who is being bullied and how the words (which I think are way worse than actions) or actions made that person feel. Have you said or done something today to make a person feel bad or even worthless? I wouldn’t go so far as to call you a bully, but you definitely didn’t throw sunshine over that person’s day. And for that, you’re probably a jerk. Apologizing later (which one of the people did) has its effects, but human nature shows that words sting and resonate in people’s minds long after they roll off a person’s tongue. With your words comes extreme power. Try not abusing it next time.

I realize that in being a writer, and even more so in writing a personal blog, that I put myself in harm’s way with words. I’m not sitting at home judging people silently–I’m writing about my thoughts and feelings while trying to get through a life-changing experience abroad. Do I feel I possibly subject myself to more scrutiny then most by having the, for lack of better words, balls to say how I feel? Historically speaking, of course. I’ve been been told in the same sentence of being scrutinized that I’m in the wrong for feeling that way because I have a blog. Amazingly manipulative. I’m impressed.

In reading other authors’ works recently, I also feel with that comes a strength and a power. I much more respect people who have the courage to speak up. Thinking before we speak, however, is something I think we all need to work on.