Surviving Bad Behavior

Surviving Bad Behavior

Bad memories I’ve tucked away for years seeped to the surface recently, and it comes from reading posts from others sharing their painful experiences as a child or as a teenager. I have very few good memories of high school—it was a bastion of bullies—a boot camp that separated the men from the boys, the women from the girls. I suffered alone, often going home and pounding a pillow like it was the bully of the day, then breaking down in tears, sobbing silently; the pain was so bad.

Despite those difficult circumstances, I believed it was possible to have your own personal pep rally; to encourage yourself that things will get better, situations will improve, you can go on, or in some cases, move on. I’d tell myself things would get better when I got out of high school. Grownups don’t act like that.

No. They sometimes act worse and in more deceptive ways, not caring what lies they tell or whose life they destroy to get what they want. Although those bullies are classified as adults, they’re often more vicious than any pubescent or teenage antagonist ever thought about being. One major difference is that young people who are victims of bad behavior usually don’t have enough life experiences to understand one important fact.

Something I didn’t learn until I was well into my adult years.

Here it is. No matter how high or mighty we rise, no matter how rich or powerful we become, whether we’re beautiful or handsome, or ugly as a Blob fish, and no matter who protects us, we do not get away with mistreating others.

Eventually, a day of reckoning will come, the Karma bus will arrive, we will reap what we’ve sown, and we’ll sometimes get it back much worse than what we gave our victims.

Since Dan died, I’ve had to reconvince myself of this more than once. He was the one who kept me grounded, who reminded me to let things go. In the last several years, I’ve found that a few people not only stuck a sword in my back, they twisted it and forced it in deeper, and in some cases took advantage of the fact that I’m a widow.

I’ve wanted so many times to go home or call Dan to tell him what happened, so he could tell me everything was going to be all right; they would get theirs someday. That’s not an option anymore, for the house is empty and of course, there’s no way I can call him.

People who belittle or bulldoze others in their way may think they’ll get by with what they do or what they’ve done to others, but in time it’ll catch up with them. In my cases I may not see it happen, but I can rest assured and you can too in your situation, that no matter how badly someone has treated you or where you are in life when it happens, what goes around, comes around. It may take a long time—I’ve seen it take over thirty years, but it will happen.

I still see some of my tormenters from those horrible high school days around about and occasionally their profile picture will pop up on Facebook. As I write this I’m looking at one of them who made it her business to let me, and anyone else around, know which of my physical characteristics were mock worthy.

I know some of her history since we left high school, and it hasn’t been good. It’s been painful, in fact, and I do feel sympathy for her. But I can’t help but wonder does she remember how she made me feel so inferior, making fun of me for what I had no control over.

And I sincerely hope no one has told her Father Time has not been her boyfriend.

Yep, payback can be hell.

 

© Dee Hardy | Encouraging the Discouraged, 2018. All rights reserved.

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Butterflies

Butterflies

A few weeks ago, I spent a nice afternoon shopping with Kim and Emmy. Three generations together celebrating Kim’s birthday. The day reminded me of shopping trips I took with my mother and grandmother when I was single, and with my mother and Kim later. It was also a wakeup call to remember we’re only granted a certain number of days in life. Now in my fifties, my own mortality is glaringly real—a reminder of how quickly we move from being the youngest in a family circle to the oldest, and the need to treasure each moment and make them count.

I remember the days when my mama and grandma and I went shopping together. We would often pick a store and fan out like Butterflies among flowering bushes in warm weather. We’d meet up and discuss what or who we saw, the things we bought. This was a long time before texting and cell phones. Sometimes we’d stop by Baskin-Robbins and indulge in Triple Delight Sundaes. The ride to and from the stores, we lived in a rural area, so we shopped in a nearby city, was the best because of being together and the conversations we had.

As strong-willed as I am, I sometimes grew weary of their advice, and I didn’t appreciate what they had been through, those difficult experiences that made them who they were. Since those days, I’ve learned I come from a long line of strong women who faced and lived through harsh times.

My grandma suffered through a very difficult experience as a young child, the kind that would cripple a lot of folks, male or female. Later, she and my granddaddy worked hard, lived off the land, and made it through the Great Depression. She had much wisdom to share.

And Mama, a widow who also lost a child before I was born, she raised three children alone. She faced tragedies and failures, but she never lost her faith or her smile. Mama was my best friend. She taught me to fight, to keep the faith, although I have struggled with that one since Dan died, but it is still intact.

I remember shopping with Mama and Kim, from Kim’s baby years until her mid-teens. Those were happy years. Mama and Kim were so close. Mama died when Kim was fifteen, and it saddens me when I think she didn’t live to see Kim graduate from high school or college. At her Nursing pinning ceremony when Kim walked across the stage, I fought back tears to keep from embarrassing myself, but I knew Mama was looking down at the scene, so proud.

Yes, we were like Butterflies. Only I realized as I grew older and understood more, the older Butterflies in our little family possessed backbones made from titanium. They shared their struggles with me, and it’s now my job to pass on their stories of survival for future generations.

Thinking back on these days is like I’m there with them, I blink, and they’re gone. Time zooms by, waiting for no one. We can’t relive moments, we can only remember them.

Time has turned the pages, and now I’m in the elder role. It’s me who walks a little slower, gives out quicker, but ready to dispense motherly advice, solicited or not, at any time. Someday it’ll be my turn to fly away and join my mother and grandmother. Before that day happens, and I pray it’s no time soon, I want to, like Jack Dawson said on Titanic, “make each day count,” only I’m going to reduce it down to a smaller scale; to making each second matter.

On the way home that afternoon I thought about those special times, and the memories we’re making now. Yes, I plan to make each second count. We should all do that because as the old saying goes, life can change on a dime. Enjoy every minute. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

Featured Image Photo Credit: 66875278 – Apricot flowers in spring, floral background © seqoya — Fotolia

© Dee Hardy | Encouraging the Discouraged, 2016. All rights reserved