I Got it Right the Second Time Around or I Found Your Noses, They Were In My Business, Again, Butt Out

A few days ago I had an incident by the downtown library. I was on my bike, but stopped at a red light. Two females were on the sidewalk, after coming out of the library, walking towards me. One of them was yelling about me, an insulting comment. I didn’t want them to come near me so I looked back at them to let them know I heard them and didn’t like the way they were acting and that I didn’t want them coming nearer to me. I will point out that they could have gone in any other direction, but chose to wait more than twenty feet away from the curb for the light to change and for me to bike away. I think I communicated what I wanted in that one look.

One stopped and grabbed the other female and said don’t go any further. And then she repeated her insult to me, blankety blank biker. The blankety blank was a slur about a body part, apparently they both thought they had a right to judge and insult and bully me. They believed that someone has to be tiny in order to be a bicycle rider! What incredible misogynists and body haters they were.

I love biking and I love the freedom and independence that it provides. Nothing else matters when it comes to biking but my own inclination and joy. I won’t be doing less biking because of any haters, I love my body, no one else gets to tell me what to do and how to think, act, and feel, and how much to love my body. Like what they think, believe, and say has any effect on me, how I live my life, my self-esteem, my self love, and my body love. It doesn’t. At this point in my life I can confidently say, it won’t ever.

As a consequence of their behavior and beliefs they mean nothing to me. They will never mean anything to me. I will never love them. I will never be their friends. Their losses. They might not ever know how big a loss it is to lose me, but I know. I am wonderful. I am a great person. I have tons of great qualities and I love people and care about them. But I will never care about them. They will never have me in their lives.

As the saying goes haters gotta hate. And squeaky wheels gotta squeak. That doesn’t mean I am going to listen to haters spewing hate at me or squeaky wheels squeaking at me. Those two hate-filled haters sure were entertaining themselves and they sure were toxic.

The light changed to green and I biked away. I didn’t give them any words and I was proud of that. But as I biked away I gave them the middle finger and I know they saw it and knew it was meant for them by the hooting and yelling they did right after they saw it. They appeared shocked and amazed that someone would not stand there, be silent and endure their abuse.

I biked down the road and then decided to take myself out to supper, because I love me and because I deserve it. I had a great time and had a great meal.

In reflecting on this incident I have to say I wished that I had not engaged with them, by looks or in any way. But I was not going to bike blocks out of my way, I told myself, and they can stay away from me. I think my look gave them that message loud and clear. And I think that I intimidated them and that is why they continued being loud, even though they knew that they should respect my space and not come near me. Like how dare I not care about them, their opinions, or how they were acting. And I don’t.

I would have preferred to not give others a hard stare or not to lose my temper and give the finger to someone. I don’t like behaving badly, even in minor ways. I like being good and kind all the time, even though I know that I can’t always be good and kind when interacting with others. When being yelled at and bullied, and called names I can make the best choice for myself, while trying to behave as good as possible. Having good boundaries sometimes precludes having a tender heart, being good and kind to all others. Practicing good boundaries is a good thing.

I would have preferred to ignore them and ignore what they were saying and to ignore their existences. It’s a bizarre thing but I was thinking how I would like to have another incident in order to do it right the second time. Let this be a cautionary tale to all of you, be careful what you wish for.¬†Here is the bizarrest thing! I saw the same two awful young females a few days after the first incident! I am not kidding, the same two!

I was on a bus going down the same street, right by the library. They must have got on the bus at the library stop and sat down, but I wasn’t paying attention. ūüôā Freaking hilarious. When all of a sudden I hear, very softly, the same voice saying, I can’t believe it, it’s the same blankety blank biker. It was said in a way that sounded like she couldn’t believe that they hadn’t driven me off the streets, hiding in my apartment, ashamed of myself, my body, and in fear of being abused in the future. Didn’t happen. Not going to happen.

This is the bizarrest thing, I don’t normally have other women saying hateful things to me, when I am on the bus, in the library or stores, on my bike, walking into a building. I am flabbergasted, mostly because I am at a place in my life where the opinions and words of others that are hateful don’t mean one single thing to me. I have a good self esteem and I accept and love my body. I’ve done a lot of good and hard work on healing and they don’t even register a tiny blip on any of these areas in my life. They are pathetic and cruel.

My resolution had been to give nothing back to someone who bullied and verbally abused me. Cesare Millan, The Dog Whisperer, who I love so so much, teaches something fabulous, that I love very much, and had been trying to do myself for several years before learning about his technique; when around people who’s energy is hyper, mean, inappropriate, scary, etc, is to step outside of their energy field, physically and metaphysically, and not interact with them, to resolve not to take part in their energy.

So I gave them nothing. I didn’t look at them, I didn’t give them any hand signals, I didn’t acknowledge their existence. Neither of them said anything else about me.

I stayed on the bus and a few stops later, where I wanted to go, I got off the bus. I got off the bus and I went to Target and had a good time shopping, bought something extra special just for me, and then went home.

Abuses in College

I wanted to write a little bit about bullying, emotional and verbal abuse, and non-protection of students in a college environment. I have been very upset lately by the news that children students can now bully someone if their justification/rationalizations for the abuse are because of religious reasons/intolerance. We call it intolerance for a reason, it is hate speech.

No one, not a child, not an adult should be subject to verbal/emotional abuse because someone else is unloving. No one, not a school teacher a school district, a governmental body should make a law that it is legal for one student to abuse another or be allowed to stand by while a child is abused and do nothing. This is reprehensible. This is disgusting. This is institutionalized abuse. This is a bunch of law-suits begging to happen. Hopefully the courts will deal with this. But there is no reason that one child should not be protected from hate speech.

I’ve heard lots of stories from other survivors of emotional/verbal, bullying, and other abuses in learning institutions. It breaks my heart. As a culture we are saying we just don’t¬†care about abuse¬†and that is sick and pathetic. I went through it much of my education while being a minor. I’ll try to write about that another time.

In college I had several really bad professors and by that point I knew it was not my fault, that I did nothing to encourage or foster inappropriate behavior and I went to my advisor, who was the head of the department I was majoring in.

It was a professor who did not manage his class. Half the class was police officers and if I’ve learned¬†anything about cops it is that they enjoy power and pushing around others with it. During the first class session they were loud and disruptive, making disparaging comments, one was about me in front of the whole class. The teacher did nothing. The next week he showed a film where everyone seemed to feel empowered to be loud and make inappropriate comments during the film. He didn’t address that. The next week everyone was now loud and verbally abusive, even about the professor who had lost all their respect and who was openly being ridiculed as well¬†by students’ comments.

My complaints to him, which started after week two, were explicit on what was happening. I was emphatic, I was not there to be someone’s abuse victim. I was not there to be yelled at and to have my words yelled down and drowned out. His first suggestion to me was to drop out of the class and lose all the money I had paid for the class and to take the class another semester. My response was why should I have to pay, why should I be penalized, why should I have to alter my educational semesters for bullies? His efforts to combat the emotional and verbal abuses resulted in the behaviors getting much worse. He implied several times that it was up to me to come up with a method of addressing this. I found that hilarious.

As I told my advisor I had no desire to be part of some great societal/educational experiment with the groupings of the law enforcement majors and the social science majors into one class.

I had no desire to sit and be silent while a County Sheriff discussed the thesis of his study, which was to be that African Americans distrusted police officers due to a move away from community policing starting around 1900 to a more direct approach with criminals. But apparently not due to racism inherent in our society, in the police departments, and in specific police officers.  Yeah right and not due to people of color and poor people being disproportionately targeted, arrested and charged with crimes and incarcerated. Or beatings, or assaults while in custody or deaths while in custody. Or refusing to adequately police their neighborhoods or engage the communities and people. Yeah I totally believe that it was due to changes in policing more than 100 years ago. Wow, social science at work.  

My advisor finally forced him into openly addressing the issues in class and making a no talk rule during lecture and question and answer periods. It took him until about week five to gain some measure of control over the class. The departments decision at the end of the semester was to offer the class separately for the departments.

Another time my advisor went to the other department and insisted they address the issue. The issue in the other department was a student who was harassing other students before the start of a specific class and the department made all kinds of excuses for him; as he had a mental health issue (recently diagnosed with bi-polar) and the department was psychology and he was on disability, getting his college tuition paid for by the state.

My stance, and I stand by this, was that it doesn’t matter what personal issues someone is dealing with, they must adhere to the student code of conduct, or they must be made to or be ejected from the school.

No one should sit and stare at me for forty-five minutes while I was pointedly ignoring him. No one can make me talk to him. I had already seen how he treated others. This was a college campus and certain behavior was expected of me and by me, by the school, and of and by the other students.

No one should be harassed or bullied or forced into conversations, at any time or for any reason, with someone about their private life, his recent mental health diagnosis and hospitalization, the break-up of their marriage, his child, why he used force on her to stop her from leaving, but only once, and why it was okay to do so. And no department should be allowed to defend, excuse,¬†and explain that behavior and say it was okay, he’s not a stalker, he didn’t physically beat his wife (which we don’t know and I don’t think it enters into his using others for his own “therapy.”).

I aint his momma, I ain’t his therapist, I ain’t in a support group or a twelve step program with him. I owe him nothing. I am there for me and for knowledge and learning. I am there for learning and I paid. I am not there to take care of someone. I am not there to expect someone to take care of me. I am there for me.

My advisor went to the professor first. She was all excuses for him. She suggested that I wait for the class in another part of the building and offered a room for me to sit in that was far away from the classroom, too far to walk. 

My advisor went to the head of the psychology department. She was excusing his behavior and explaining his mental health issues, diagosis, life story, as though it is okay that he be in college and be explaining how special he really is because he is now in college and also has a mental health diagnosis. Big deal! So did tons of other students. I did and I had never asked for one special treatment by professors or fellow students.

My advisor told me the story. I said I don’t care what his story is. You don’t see me telling everyone my story of heartache, accosting students while they are relaxing and preparing for class, interrupting their efforts and reading and studying, talking at the top of my voice so everyone in the classroom can hear me, demanding their attention while I use them as therapist, staring at them and pissed because they won’t take part. She said yes I agree.¬†

She had told them they were going to stop this behavior and they were going to stop this behavior this week, end of story. I think the head of my department standing up for me and demanding they stop him was what really had an impact. She told them they were going to have a meeting with their student and inform him of proper and appropriate behavior. And they did. And it stopped.

Otherwise I would have gone to the Dean of Students, the President of the College, and if it continued and no one intervened I would have sued their asses. I think they got that threat and it was why they stopped it. I was lucky that time, I was much older and more capable of standing up for myself. I also had an incedible advisor/head of the department and she was one empowered woman. She was the only professor that I sought out at my graduation night. She helped make that night possible.

Songs for Healing 44

Mean by Taylor Swift

You, with your words like knives
And swords and weapons that you use against me
You have knocked me off my feet again
Got me feeling like I’m nothing
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard
Calling me out when I’m wounded
You picking on the weaker man

Well you can take me down with just one single blow
But you don’t know, what you don’t know…

Someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean?

You, with your switching sides
And your wildfire lies and your humiliation
You have pointed out my flaws again
As if I don’t already see them
I walk with my head down
Trying to block you out ’cause I’ll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again

I bet you got pushed around
Somebody made you cold
But the cycle ends right now
Cause you can’t lead me down that road
And you don’t know, what you don’t know…

Someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean?

And I can see you years from now in a bar
Talking over a football game
With that same big loud opinion
But nobody’s listening
Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things
Drunk and grumbling on about how I can’t sing
But all you are is mean

All you are is mean
And a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life
And mean, and mean, and mean, and mean

But someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean, yeah
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so?..

Someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city (Why you gotta be so?..)
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean, yeah (Why you gotta be so?..)
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me (Why you gotta be so?..)
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean?


Resources: Anti-Bullying

Survivor Resource Pages (Forty pages of resources, non-profit organizations, articles, and healing support for survivors of child sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and dealing with the aftermath of child sexual abuse.)

Emotional Abuse Resources

Signs and Symptoms of Bullying

Bullying Facts and Myths

Just the Facts, Ma’am: Statistics

School Bullying

What is Cyberbullying?


Surviving Bullying Workbook

Surviving Bullies Quiz

Bearing the Scars: For Those Who Still Remember

Impact of Painful Words Can Last a Lifetime

Bullying is a Complex, Dangerous Game in Which Everyone is a Player

Bystanders Play a Part in Bullying Behavior

School Bullying ‘Not Inevitable’

Words Out of Shadows: Outsiders’ Own Stories

Workplace Bullying

The Surviving Bullies Charity

Raven Days

Bullying Resource Page