A boy made me cry last night. It’s funny, I usually think I am fairly resilient, but then an arrow shoots through your defences, and you are undone.
I was walking along near Portobello, I had headphones in my ears but no sound. I walked past him and a mixed audience of girls and boys, older and younger. He called out with venom:
‘She’s a freak that girl, look at her, you can tell she’s a freak, you’re a freak, aren’t you love?’
It doesn’t matter exactly what he meant by freak, it was wrong whatever the meaning.
I was speechless. My headphones gave me the barrier I needed to be able to walk past as if I hadn’t heard him and keep walking.
My first reaction was one of defiance; what a horrible thing to say, silly boy. It doesn’t matter. You know it’s not true. You know who you are, this doesn’t need to affect you. It’s not personal.
But as I walked further away tears stung my eyes, and started streaming down my face. I then started to work through a myriad of different emotions.
The first was that he swiftly opened up old wounds. The subject of difference. In my rational mind, I celebrate my individuality with vigour and without apology, I am delighted to have reached a place where I am able to live as my true self. I know that there are people who love me just as I am. I also know I don’t need everyone to, just the ones that count.
Irrationally though, at that moment, for one fleeting moment, I wished my beautiful differences away, and that makes me sad, for it is our differences that truly make us special my friends. I’ve worked hard to find the courage to learn to live my life as the truest version of myself, and I’m fiercely proud of that (and them).
I’m just a girl, living her life in the best way she knows how, trying to be the best version of herself she can be, each and every day. And that’s the key – the best version of ME, no one else.
My emotions then turned to anger and feeling like I had let myself down for not saying something back. This human shouldn’t get to say cruel things to people without repercussion, I should have stuck up for myself, should have made him realise you can’t just pick on people randomly.
After that, I started to feel low, so focused instead on living in the current moment I was in, not the one that had happened before. I meditated, ate a beautiful meal and re-centred myself.
Once I had played out the other possible scenarios in my head and re-grouped, I then moved through to acceptance of the situation and forgiveness.
People lash out at other people that they see as a threat in some way, for whatever reason. Maybe my light was shining brightly as I walked down the street on a sunny day, maybe it was that which blinded him. People generally don’t like people who hold up a mirror to them, showing them what they could be, if they dared to live as themselves. The truth of all of it is, there will be things in that human’s world that he isn’t happy with, and he was just projecting that unhappiness into and onto me. It’s going to happen, it’s what some people do, that’s life.
I’ve seen this manifest itself in a couple of scenarios lately, with cruel, unnecessary comments made to friends of mine. It’s hard to process, but eventually we come out the other side, feeling stronger than ever. It truly isn’t us, it’s something lacking in the person firing the shots.
I have also forgiven myself for my reaction. Both for what I did do, and also for what I didn’t do. I was not at my shiny best yesterday, emotionally speaking. On another day, it might have bounced off, but yesterday it didn’t, and that’s okay too.
I have woken up this morning with a bright positivity all around me, happy to be in my skin, walking my shoes, learning the lessons I am learning. I didn’t need to fight him, but I do need to get better at not taking on other peoples energy, not taking on their emotions and not reacting to them. External reactions are easy to control, it’s our internal reactions that no one else sees that we need to be mindful of. For its what goes on inside that’s most important of all, and that’s going to be my focus instead. Freak and proud.