The general buzz fills the air as the questions flow between each person in the milling group. The pertinent question everyone wants to know is “how was your weekend?” I watch as a silent competition starts between the assembled group. Everyone seems to require to have a better weekend, a more adventurous weekend, a more exciting weekend. At one stage that would have been me. Trying to “fit in” and be part of the gang, be accepted, have space and group to call my own.
It wasn’t that long ago I would have been part of the group feeling awkward about having nothing exciting or life-changing to contribute. Being scoffed at because my life as a single mother revolved around my son. In contrast, others attended parties, or entertained groups of people, or going off on some great outing. Today I realise it for what it is a soft form of bullying.
The need to harass someone who is different or doesn’t come up to someone else idea of perfection or expectation. So what is to be done to bring the different person in line? The world currency of ridicule, scoffing, belittling, making fun of, making them doubt their decisions. Call it what it is. Abuse.

I was one of those different people. I knew how those being tortured were feeling. I had lived with the “kids being kids” all my life, unable to defend myself and not knowing how. Adults telling me that one day it would be better or being punished because I reacted by punching the person.
Today I still feel that anxiety just thinking about being put in this position over and over and over again as I lived a single mothers life. Breathing in, I hold my breath a moment, picturing all that tension gathering into the breath. When my body doesn’t feel any more stress or anxiety, I let it go, and my shoulders relax, my mind clears. I tell myself that my choices are my own. If I decided to spend my weekend in my PJ’s with my cats, my family, eating leftovers from the Friday night cooking spree, watching movies or TV shows, playing board games or watching the sunrise and sunset. That is my decision and it is what I needed at that moment.

The inevitable question comes from the group bully as the swaggering egotistically form makes its way to me. Stopping just in front of me, demanding my attention, which I ignore and continue preparing for my day. I see the shuffle of feet in my peripheral vision and still, I ignore the pretentious tormenter. Eventually, the courtesy of addressing me by name is extended my way. Only then do I give my attention to any enquiry made. The weekend question is asked with a prominent sneer.
I do not answer immediately.
Instead, I pick up a stack of papers and move to the nearby drawers to put them away.
“I asked you a question,” is drummed into my space and my hearing. I refuse to buckle under the intimidating way the words are spoken.
Finishing my task, I turn to the furious, presumptuous, overbearing person expecting an answer worthy of sneering. Slowly walking toward them, I keep eye contact. Today, enough is enough.
“I heard your question, but I also heard the sneer,” I stop a little way from them, “I can answer any time I like or not at all. You will be patient for my answer should I choose to give it. But I don’t think you deserve to know what I did with my time in the past two days as the only thing you want to do with it is pull it apart to make yourself feel better or more superior. What I do on my weekend has nothing to do with someone like you.”

Closing my drawer, I continued to gather the required items for the first meeting of the day. A feeling of liberation and relief running through my veins as I realised what I should have years ago. Information about my life is privileged and only needs to be known about by those who care about, are genuine in their interest and love me for who I am … nerdette deluxe.
Walking past the gapping, staring, blustering person, I walk into the meeting room and find a chair.

Through the years, I have relived many moments when someone tries to manipulate or intimidate another they perceive as weak or gentle or an easy target.
When life gets tough, and I feel obligated to buckle under the bullying of an intimidating manipulator. I remember that moment when I defined who and how the story of my life would be told. There are moments which stick with you forever and then there are the moments when you stand up for yourself. Making yourself proud of the person you are. If you can stand up for yourself, you can stand up for others who have not yet seen they can do it for themselves.
Part of my mission in Saving Me is to stand up for the areas in me that are overwhelmed, feeling bullied, intimated or manipulated. Regions that are crying out to be heard. This journey is about giving myself a holistic voice to be heard.

How does one go about being heard and by whom?

I decided it was time to start looking into the “how-to” and see what needed to be done. In my research, I came across some bizarre names that people like me are called. Such as hypersensitivity personalities or empathic personalities or emotional-hypersensitive personality. Wading through the articles and surveys, reading what one so-called expert has to say and another expert has to say it all boils down to something so simple. I see things, understand things, can predict things that others don’t or won’t and basically feel everything around me all the time. Someone like that should be living in a quieter world than we have at the moment.

I am more practical when tackling issues in my life, so I took to doing what I do best.  Make a list.

Step One:

  • Listen to yourself.  
  • Understand yourself.  
  • Know yourself.  
  • Be with yourself.  
  • Learn who you are.
  • What you like and dislikes? 
  • What are your boundaries? 
  • What do you want to do with your time

Step Two :

  • Address all of these points in step one individually and spend time getting to know who you are. 
  •  If you feel you already know who you are, test yourself. 
  •  Write down everything you think you know about yourself. It doesn’t have to be an essay or thesis simple bullet points with one line sentences will do.

Step Three:

  • If you have any doubt about any of the points in the previous step, take the time to answer each one thoroughly. 
  • You cannot move forward if you do not know yourself.  

Some of the articles I read added that you need to know how strong you are to accomplish this journey. Pondering this I couldn’t help but wonder if this point was correct. How does anyone know how strong they are?

Then a quote came to me: “You never know how strong you are until it’s your only choice.” Bob Marley

Take the time you need for yourself. Learn who you are and love yourself. In the words of Helen Keller.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

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