It comes as quite a surprise to everyone who gets to know me, the first time they see me take down a bully.
Because I’m so soft hearted. So sweet. So ridiculously kind. I’m someone who usually has a smile on my face. I make a lot of jokes. And I go out of my way to compliment people.
I generally try to see the positive in people and focus on that. Part of it, I think, is that there were decades when I felt invisible and unloved, when I desperately wanted to be noticed and appreciated. Instead of picked apart.
Anyway, I can’t say that I don’t have a mean bone in my body. Because I do. I just tend to use it to hit bullies over the head. Never preemptively, mind you. I don’t go around looking for fights. I’m not addicted to rage. Frankly, I hate the way I physically feel when I’m angry — the shakiness, the sense that I’m out of control.
But there comes a time when kindness means shutting down cruelty. And so I’ve had a lot of times in my life where something steely within me sprung to life and humiliated bullies.
It started very young — when I was on the elementary school playground. Most of my early friends were shy kids I rescued from bullies — mocking those bullies rapid-fire to the point that they’d leave my new friends alone.
Later, when I’d be bullied after my older sister came out in our small rural town, my shy friends wouldn’t return the favor. But that was okay. I survived those years — and I’ve grown into an adult woman who has no patience with bullies.
I’m told it’s quite a transformation, how I can go from being a smiling kind person to a sharp-tongued bully-shamer who has had quite enough of their shit.