But ultimately, I was never bullied and I never was the bully. There were a few guys who played football who probably were considered the “school bullies”. But I usually told them off and made them look stupid when I could. If I made fun of anyone, it was them.
Turns out, there are bullies in the real world and they’re so much worse.
Maybe “bully” is the wrong word. And maybe I’m a little slow because I only just now figured it out. But I am disappointed; I expected better of these people.
I expected better from those who live in urban or suburban areas, who have been exposed to greater diversity than I was. I expected them to be more open-minded and accepting. To give the new girl at the office a chance. To appreciate her prior experience and to use her failures and mistakes as teaching moments. Instead, at the first wrong word or minor error they immediately write her off. They judge her when she comes into work on her phone speaking Spanish and they assume she’s doing it to show off. (She’s from Colombia. You assume she talks to everyone in English? Or, maybe, just maybe, she speaks Spanish so fluently she doesn’t give any thought to what you would think about it.) These people, they rebel against any change in routine, any attempt to break the monotony. They “hate reading” or “don’t own books” or some other phrase I’ve always found ridiculous. They barely even read their emails, only skim. Any knowledge of the world outside their homes or cubicles they only know from the insanity that is TV News. If they do read anything, it’s only from one of those “happy news” websites because CNN makes them “sick” or “sad.” They don’t understand how pronouns work for those who don’t follow gender norms. They’ve always been comfortable. They’re still surprised by interracial marriages and they avoid talking about or reading about anything controversial.
Once upon a time, I was blatantly politically incorrect and I was proud of it. Even if it wasn’t out of hate for any particular group, I was just in a rebellious stage where I didn’t care what I said. Then I went to college and grew up and realized I was a feminist and that political correctness is real for a reason. I realized how uneducated and uncultured I was. I was humbled by it all. Stupidly, I made the assumption that any other college-educated adult went through this same humbling process. I was wrong. Every day I’m surrounded by these people, these closed-minded bullies who attack anything out of the ordinary like a bunch of antibodies on a virus. These are the same people who judged my solo adventures. The ones who try to turn “creative brainstorming time” into the least creative process.
Maybe they just make fun of everyone and everything and it’s all in good fun. Maybe I’m just becoming too sensitive and need to relax.
These people who decided I was worthy enough to be part of this in-crowd used to be the reason I loved my job. They’re fun-loving people. But now, I’m just growing to hate them (and my job) more and more every single day.