I was bullied. And I didn’t fight back. I was stunned. I was shaken. I was broken. I died for a few minutes. In pain and humiliation, in agony and regret, in tears and disbelief. I was paralyzed. I was speechless. I did nothing.
This scene is a flashback to my earlier days of wanting to write with sharpened skill. I applied with an organization that espoused “good writing”. Today, I choose to keep the name of that organization a mystery. I want the focus to be primarily on the lessons I learned along the way.
One fateful day, during the much revered, or should I aptly say, much feared “Initiation Day”, I was asked to go to a house where the applicants were supposed to be formally welcomed to the group. Or so I thought. But I was brutally mistaken.
The air became palpably stiff when the applicants were blindfolded. With no warning. No briefing. Just military-like dominance. Although my gut squirmed immediately and my mind began racing with disgusting thoughts, I talked myself into “staying cool”, looking confident, and ready to partner with the organization’s leaders and members.
A few minutes into the “Welcoming Rites”, we were instructed to wait for our turn to be called into “The Room”. The waiting was killing me. Mind you, I’m a very patient person on a normal day. But I have to admit that I’ve got a wild imagination, what with all the suspense thriller movies that I devour.
When it was finally my turn to be “welcomed” by the committee, I felt all eyes glaringly checking me out from head to foot. Yes I could see them. I could feel them. Even a billion blindfolds would not make me impenetrable to their vicious stares.
First silence. The longest, most dreaded kind. My mind went all over the place. I could hardly contain my nervous energy. I felt my heart running its race as if it were chased and challenged to survive. Then all of a sudden, I felt a chill as I heard a laughter behind me. The sickening kind that befriends the dark. I braced myself for impact and felt someone’s heavy hands over my shoulders. Then others started snickering in unison.
At that moment, I wanted to run. Immediately. To save my life. But then again, I screeched in halt. I wanted to maintain my dignity. Or whatever was left of it. I didn’t want to be labeled as a coward.
So that’s how they did it …. Torture. The crazy waiting, the guessing game, the physical intimidation …. That was the calm before the storm.
Then boom!!! Voices started hurling accusations and insults from all corners of the room. First, they attacked my colorful “happy” wardrobe. But I thought to myself, “What could be so happy about a simple pair of jeans and a white top?” I did my best to be low-key in fashion as I was advised that I needed to blend easily to be accepted. The heckling continued when they said I spoke with sharpness and clarity ….that I was better off joining an organization to hone my elocutionary skills. But I whispered in my head, “I’m already comfortable with public speaking. I just want to be comfortable with written communication. Is that a crime?” The ghastly haunt went on. My memory chooses to edit that portion. Then, from the center of the room, a looming voice attacked the watch I was wearing. Two voices chorused that I wore different watches on different days and that was not “timely” for that organization. I was not going to fit well. I was NOT welcome. Period.
What?!?!?!?!?! That’s when my soul screamed the loudest. I love my watches, every single one of them! Not because of their fancy looks, not because of their esteemed brands, not even because they tell good time, but because my parents gave them to me. With love. With loads of love unspeakable!
How dare they even attempt to touch on that. My watches stand for time. The value of time. For every passing second will just be that. A memory. And one can only look back. But one cannot bring back time. And so that was the deal breaker. That was my point before my V1 speed, the point before I would actually “commit to fly” with the organization.
Yes, I cried that day. In my body, in my mind, in my spirit. But that was remarkably the “Initiation Day” I needed in life. Not everything is easy on the eye, calming to the ear, or comforting to the soul. Not everything.
But it’s okay. I have learned to be okay with that.
For amidst life’s storms and pressures, amidst life’s distasteful surprises (sprinkled even on a sunshiny path), I can defiantly face these giants. I can boldly claim my space in our world. I can take the blows and fight the good fight. I simply shake the dust off my feet, hold my head up high, and wink at them. Yes, NOT ON MY WATCH! ❤️