At nearly 26 years old, I thought that I’d left bullies in my childhood, but as it turns out – I was wrong.
You’re the creep in our inbox; you’re the stranger in the street; you’re the clique in the workplace; you’re the loved one who ‘means well’; you’re the keyboard-warrior; you’re the anxiety in our lives – you’re the bully who never grew up. In some ways you’re more toxic than the childhood bullies we encountered in our youth – only now, you should know better. That’s what shocks me the most about your behaviour, on some level you know that what you’re doing is wrong, yet for some reason you can’t seem to stop yourself.
When I was younger, I looked at those older than me with respect. Surely, adults couldn’t bully one another and surely life would be better because of this. As we grow older, we are supposed to become more mindful towards others, right? But it seems that many of you haven’t grown out of your bulling habits and forget that the people you pick-on online are real people; that the colleague you make fun of has a life outside of the workplace; that the stranger you just belittled didn’t need that right now; that the throwaway comment you directed at a family member will cause a rift to last a lifetime.
Because, if you asked yourself honestly, why does it matter to you that someone’s body is larger than yours? Why do you care if their interests are different to yours? Who gives a damn who they’re sleeping with or how often? Why are someone’s habits your business? Why does someone’s position in the workplace concern you? Why do you feel such a deep-rooted need to make someone else’s life a misery? Please, enlighten me.
Frankly, none of the above is of any concern to you – so why do you feel the need to bully someone because of their differences to you? It could be jealousy? It could be ignorance? It could be downright meanness? Or it could be that deep down, you’re actually inherently unhappy and the only way to make yourself feel better, is to make someone else feel worse. Which is sad, really and if I’m honest – I pity you.
Speaking as someone who has been bullied in her adult life, you know not of the impact you have on someone’s life by making seemingly inconsequential comments. If you could live a day in your victim’s shoes, you’d see the, sometimes irreversible, consequences of your actions – you don’t know the mindset of the person you’re bullying, nor do you know the effect your actions and words may have.
The thing is, our bodies and minds are not a democracy. Society seemingly attempts to bully us into a place of submission whereby only thin, white, cis-women and men are deemed successful and attractive. But more and more of us are standing up and overthrowing these pre-conceived ideals relating to the way we should look and behave. Slowly, we are finding our feet and voices within a community that previously shunned us and supported you.
Many of us are now summoning the strength to tell the bullies who never grew up, to grow the fuck up – once and for all.