I have had blog envy over the past week or so -- where everything that I have read (and I read a lot) is better than what I have written. I am trying to remember that my blog is MY therapy. It is supposed to be for ME. I love to write for all of you, but this began as my outlet from the everyday grind of Nick Jr. and Pop Tarts. I keep expecting it to be "perfect" and that is the one thing that it can never be because for good or bad, this blog is a reflection of ME. And I am far from perfect. So remember that...
This post is actually 3 posts that were very similar that I attempted to edit into one cohesive post. I am afraid that I have fallen short because I am quite certain that you can see the seams....apologies. Regardless of how incoherent it may be, I hope it makes you think.
I have a confession to make. Apparently, I am a bully.
No, I don't follow people smaller than me and beat them up, and I don't belittle the smart people, or make fun of the people with weight problems, or those with less money, or any of that. I call a spade a spade, so to speak, and I have a lot of opinions. Some of my opinions are widely accepted by others, some are not. Some of them are based on commonly accepted social norms, some on religious preferences, and some on the fact that I am not just like every one else. I am educated and I express myself extremely well (most of the time). My verbal filter sometimes has holes that allow my random thoughts to escape my lips (or flow through to my typing hands). This is what makes me a bully.
We talk a lot in our society about honesty.
Be true to yourself.
Speak the truth -- even if your voice shakes.
Don't be fake.
Don't let others define who you are.
But then as soon as someone says what is on their mind or speaks the truth, we call them a bully. Or, as I was recently referred to -- the "Snark Queen."
I am blessed with a quick wit. When I was a teenager, this made me a popular, yet rather mean kid. It almost always started out as a defensive weapon -- either as a way to defend myself, my friends, or someone that I thought was being unjustly picked on. I could use my words like a razor -- they would cut down the person they were directed towards with brutal efficiency. But the more I used my sarcasm and wit, the quicker the retorts would pop into my head. By the time I was well into my teens, I did not have to be provoked to start spewing the sarcasm. I would not say that I was exactly malicious it was more like I was clumsy with the use of my words. I would think that something was funny and I would blurt it out. Thankfully, as I matured, I learned more about the power of my words -- how they could hurt -- and I learned a little self control. As an adult, I am able to look back on some of the things that I said to people and see how hurtful they were to an awkward teen who was still trying to discover who they were. I have apologized to some friends that I verbally bullied and let them know that I now see what I didn't see then -- that although I wasn't trying to be, I was a bully. I am now equally capable of using my words to wrap hurting friends in comfort, or to tickle them into hysterics. I still have that razor sharp wit and it whirls and dances around in my head with all of the things I COULD say but know I shouldn't. (Which is why I blog anonymously here all of the snark that I think, but do not use....)
Although there are acts that are most definitively bullying, there is no clear or definite definition for what constitutes "verbal or emotional bullying" so everyone uses this ambiguity to their advantage. Speaking the truth, without malice has become bullying. Stating an opinion is bullying. Giving someone a mean look -- intentional or not -- has been called bullying. It has gotten a little ridiculous. Bullying is very hard to define absolutely because it is not an absolute. It is dependant upon so many intangibles like human emotions, intentions, and perceptions. What you PERCEIVE may be in direct conflict with what I INTEND. Am I saying that bullying is okay? Not at all. There are many instances of when it gets out of hand -- it is not recognized or it is purposefully ignored and the outcome can be tragic.
The problem is, bullying has become a "cause," a buzz-word, a catalyst -- it has become a weapon of bullying in and of itself. Politicians use it to bolster their campaign platforms, social advocates use it to silence the opposition, and parents use it to excuse their kids' behaviors.
I think that as a society, we have become so focused on making everyone feel good that we have become a bunch of liars. I do not mean that I think that we should go around just blurting out every random thought that pops into our head, but I think that there is a point where "tact" becomes a "lie" and people don't seem to know what that is anymore. When I ASK for an opinion, it means that I really want your opinion -- I don't want you to lie to me. It bothers me when people say "Do you want the truth?" because it makes it seem like there are only certain times that the truth is given. Like when I ask for it. We have become so concerned about not offending anyone, that we cannot speak the truth without fear of the repercussions. Having an opinion that differs from the socially accepted norm and voicing that opinion out loud gets you labeled as a bully. Saying that someone is being an idiot when they are actually being an idiot, can get you in trouble for bullying.
I hope that I am not really a bully. But if society wants to define bullying as being honest or standing up for what YOU believe is true and right, for speaking your mind, or for openly being who you are, then I guess I am a bully. Sometimes it is hard to hold my tongue even when I know I should. Being a smart and educated woman with a sharp tongue that I must constantly keep in check is an easy burden to bear as long as I can dump all of the snark here. I try to reserve my snark for those who deserve it -- teachers who pick on my kids, politicians, those who think that they're better than everyone else and need to be knocked off their pedestals.
And yes, sometimes I proudly wear the crown of the "Snark Queen."