On Saturday, I went to a high school choir reunion with a few friends. As we were checking out the new cafeteria (well, new since 2008 anyway), I saw all these anti-bullying posters on the wall and got super annoyed. Since when has a person ever stopped doing something because of a PSA poster on the wall? In fact, these posters in their cheerful teenage girl script and their stupid blue ribbons made me WANT to go out and bully someone just because I could.
I am a bad person.
But it got me thinking. No one ever thinks they are the bully. (At least, I don’t think they do.) I mean, look at me. I’m a nerdy Chinese girl who went to a high school with mostly white people and I was definitely not popular (or unpopular, really), so in my memories, I was always cast as the underdog. But was I, really?
I recall being part of a group of girls on the color guard (we called it the drill team) and we basically threw a coup d’état and got our tall flags team captain (we’ll just call her Captain Girl) demoted to a regular member and somehow got me to be the captain instead. My friends were the co-captains of the entire color guard and had convinced me that I should be the one to do this.
Here’s the thing though. Captain Girl was a good team captain. I never had any particular problem with her. She had solid routines and was very organized and talented. (She eventually was good enough to teach at USA Spirit Camp or whatever it was called. You don’t get to do that if you suck.) I also didn’t particularly want to be captain. But I went along with the plan to overthrow Captain Girl anyway because, hey, being captain would be good for my college applications! Also, I was too cowardly to disagree with my friends.
Well, I ended up being team captain, sucking at it, and hating every second of it. In fact, to this day, one of my recurring stress dreams is being at a band competition/football game/parade and not knowing the routine. (This is a close cousin of the taking a final for a class I didn’t even know I was enrolled in type of stress dream.) Captain Girl was very gracious, never made a big stink about it, and was kind and helpful. More than I ever deserved.
I bet Captain Girl thought I was mean for targeting her and systematically taking away her captaincy. And then, to rub salt in the wound, I wasn’t very good at it. But because my friends were the co-captains of the entire color guard, I got away with the coup. I’ll bet you that my friends didn’t think they were being mean, either. They were just as nerdy and dorky as I was.
This incident is one of my biggest regrets from high school. You know, I think I’ll find her on Facebook, message her, and apologize (if that’s not too creepy). *heads off to google then message*
Ok, I’m back.
Another incident that I look back upon with immense shame is from elementary school. I was in the third grade and thought this boy, Crush, was SO CUTE! I liked him SO MUCH that whenever possible, I would sneak up behind him and then kick him in the balls. I thought it was hilarious. I did this to this poor boy at least once a day. He eventually moved. I hope he can still have children.
When I think back on this, I feel so awful. Poor Crush! Can you imagine being kicked in the balls daily by this tiny Chinese girl with Coke-bottle glasses? Not only would you be kicked in the balls every day, it would be by a girl. A TINY, little Asian girl. Can you imagine having to tell your dad this? POOR Crush!!!
Anyhow, my whole point, I guess, is that even though I thought I was this poor victim in high school and elementary school, I was actually a perpetrator. I was a bully! I find this mind-boggling and totally at odds with my self-perception, but it is completely true.
I was a mean girl.
Sometimes, I still am. I regret to say that I often take delight in being a complete and utter bitch. Hapa Papa will tell you how I am the Queen of All That is Petty and Small. I used to think I was a nice person. It took being married to Hapa Papa and him actually seeing the truth of who I am for me to realize that I am NOT nice at all! *sigh*
Now, before everyone protests, (Anyone? Hello?) I am capable of being a civil and polite person. I am also capable of being a good person to my friends and people I like. Big deal. Anyone can be nice to people who are nice to them or people they want to like them!
“If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.” (Matthew 5:47 NLT)
I must say, the broken part of me enjoys the notoriety of being a mean person. And truth be told, I’m not sure I want to be a nice person. I would rather I be a good and kind person. However, we are living in the realm of Reality, so don’t hold your breath, people.
Let’s hope the kids take after Hapa Papa. Although, come to think of it, he’s not really very nice, either.
My kids are screwed.