It always seems to start with clean sheets. But for those of you who don’t know my backstory this will appear as a strange opener. So I will just say this:
Every time I find myself engulfed in a personal crisis, I wash my sheets. Weird I know, but I do.
The Backstory of Bullying
Let’s fast forward to this one specific washing day, this one little cycle if you will. This one freaking earth shattering, down on my knees, come to Jesus spinner.
I got the “snub”. The “piss off”. The “eff” you”. It was executed so sweetly I almost didn’t see it. Pretty mean girls are good at this, covering up their own insecurities with prickly, targeted avoidance. You know the kind that delicately screams you’re not welcome anymore. This quickly becomes the crippling, “you don’t deserve an explanation for our bad behavior" silence. The kind you can never learn from, never take direction from and certainly, (almost) never recover from.
The POSITIVE SHIFT
I like to call this Bullying experience My Shift. Bullying is horrid, soul destroying, and a self-esteem raider. It shows up everywhere: in the home, playground, office and establishment. My Shift was holy hell excruciating, but was a hallelujah blessing in disguise. It pushed me into self-discovery, followed by empowerment and in the end renewed my self-worth. Though agonizing at the time, I realized that I was compromising my integrity to desperately belong, where I apparently did not belong at all.
The Healing Process
I’m not going to say this realization happened overnight, and Oprah did not descend from her aha infused billowy cloud (p.s. I actually love Oprah).
That would be a bold lie. I also do not want to trivialize the deeply profound impact Bullying has, or has had on others and on their recovery. For myself, my recovery included a lot of numbing self doubt, couch therapy, introspection.. and wine! And you may ask, “Do I still feel its sting?” Absolutely, though not often. I now know that my Bullying experience had nothing to do with me. Research shows us that many Bullies themselves are in protection mode of their own worth, with fear and uncertainty being the buried motivation behind the behaviour.
Now, armed with my new understanding, I can feel empathetic towards their personal struggle. I wish for them the strength they need to ask for help, and a Shift so large, that it rocks their worlds straight into a self-accepting beautiful stack of fresh laundry... just as it did for me.