When I was young, I was bullied a lot. I learned that because I was smaller than everyone else, I was going to have to fight back without physical strength. I learned to use my mouth. I learned to talk fast, and hard. I learned I would have to use my brain, think quick, and never be found without something clever to say in every situation I found myself in.
And just like those comedians who learn to be funny to deflect punches, I got really good at saying clever things. I was chosen for the debating team all the way through school. I became a champion at being verbally combative. And because I could also write quite well, I learned to write in the same way.
It’s a curse.
Whenever I get tired and stressed out, and feel pressured and overwhelmed by life, I revert to my anti-bullying tactics. I pick fights. I get critical. I smart-mouth and double-talk and curse and carry on, I swing wildly into the air with word-punches designed to make the world think I am big! I am strong! I know stuff! Don’t mess with me! Just, please…leave me alone.
We just moved house. Ben stayed behind to keep working while I set up home here with the kids. It’s a big city. I’ve been lost a few times, late a few times, surprised at how much this is going to cost quite a few times. I’ve been waiting for breakthroughs, pushing for them, demanding them, and then forcing myself back into a holding pattern, learning to breath and walk and wait again.
I’ve been with new people every day. I’ve walked past them and they me, and we’ve faced off, and turned away. I’ve smiled in hallways and had eyebrows raised at me. I’ve been brushed off. I’ve even been shoved. I’ve also been sat next to, greeted and invited to dinner. That can be just as hard as being ignored, but I don’t think it will be for very long. I think it will get better, and I’ll feel less brittle soon.
I’m feeling bullied by my life, and so I’m doing what I’ve always done when I feel small and weak and vulnerable. I get obnoxious. I get smart-ass. I get busy with it.
It’s not Life bullying me, just my life. There’s a difference. Life is bigger than me; better and more benevolent, an angel watching over me, a river I can lose myself on, a source I can draw on. My life isn’t like that. My life is small and crabby and mean sometimes, frantic and scrabbling and moody and very, very young. My life hasn’t grown much since I was small and got beaten up by other small people who wanted to be big. I’ve never wanted to be big. Just safe.
But Life isn’t small like me. Life is big, it doesn’t have to try to be. Life is out there, away, coming, in the future. Life is good and great and god and giving. Life is what I want. Life is where I want to be. I want out of my life and into Life. That’s where I’m going. And I can’t go there smart-mouthing and swearing and swinging. I need to settle myself down and shoosh myself up. Quieten down there girl. Everything’s going to be all right.
Everything is going to be all right.