Your Biggest Bully
May 8, 2017
I was in the ninth grade walking to the pencil sharpener. A boy that was a lot stronger and meaner than I began to taunt me. He pretended he was going to poke me in the face with his just-sharpened pencil. “What you going to do about it, fag?” he continued.
Just as I neared the pencil sharpener, I made a move the #bully apparently didn’t expect. The razor sharp pencil jabbed me between my cornea and the corner of my eye. The scar remained on my sclera until I decided to have it removed 20 years later.
I mention this story because I don’t even remember this bully’s name. He was my personal antagonist who decided he didn’t like me simply because he had no idea how to deal with someone different than he. I understood that even at the time. I made light of the situation and pretended it didn’t hurt to the school nurse and my father. I didn’t want anyone in my family or my circle of friends to talk about what happened. I was afraid of my own unique attitude toward life and how I was perceived by others. I knew I was gay way back then. I guess everyone else did too, especially the other boys in my class.
As I got older I had one objective concerning those bullies in my class: To be smarter and more talented than any of them. When I would get punched in the stomach in the stairwell by someone I didn’t even know, I encouraged myself with how I would “show all of them someday.” I wanted to be a star because I wanted to prove them wrong. This was a terrible premise to live by for half of my life, maybe most of my life.
What happened as I grew older was that I became my own worst antagonist. I became the bully that they were. I forced myself to do better, to be better at any cost. I have the work ethic of three people put together. I love efficiency, but most of all, I must be efficient to accomplish the most of EVERYONE. Again, the bully comes out.
I see this bully side of me when I have a day that I can’t motivate myself to do anything. I just want to sit on the couch all day long and eat bonbons. Taking a day off is the most difficult day of my life. I can’t just rest unless I’m sick in bed and cannot get up. Even then I’m practicing Spanish in my mind.
I am my biggest bully. There is no doubt in my mind. I have replaced all of the mean people in my life and my father’s strong will with my own “must be the best” attitude.
The only way to change this position is to become an observer of this behavior and discover why I feel I have to try so hard. Even though I know the premise, I have not succeeded in changing the behavior. I still must do this… must do that. I don’t feel successful unless I’m accomplishing.
The truth about life, though, is that the only action that you NEED TO DO is be the light that God is through you and as you. Anymore than that is by your own volition. There’s nothing wrong with having a strong work ethic. But you must recognize when you bully yourself and overwork. We can’t replace our lifelong antagonists with an alter ego that is as bad or worse.
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