This joke really offended me but I dealt with it. Here’s what happened:
Last week an accident happened in the office I work in – a colleague of mine wrote on the fridge a note. It contained my name, “call me” + a mobile number and a heart below. You may think it’s funny, romantic, harmless and inoffensive. At the beginning I thought so…
I said ok, somebody from my colleagues is making fun with me. Let’s see what the rest of the colleagues will say. And there it was – the big, long silence. Nobody shed even a word. As if they didn’t notice it. Or maybe they really didn’t. But that didn’t bother me. I am not very tight with my colleagues. I work as a technical assistant in a mobile repair service. I guess, I appear to be too extraordinary to my fellow colleagues and for me they are too ordinary, sometimes even boring. But I respect everybody. So, from that moment till 5 pm when my working day is officially over, every time when I went into the kitchen, this note “welcomed” me. I asked myself several times why such a little insignificant joke bothered me so much, but you see, I could feel the negative energy behind it, I knew who did it and why and it upset me. I have to add that the handwriting was very ugly and it looked as if somebody had intentionally altered it, so that it couldn’t be easily recognized. I wondered why would anyone bother if they have good, romantic or innocently funny intentions.
I started asking myself questions: “What does this scribble tell me?”, “Why was it written?” “Is it just fun or is it a maliciously written note concealed behind an anonymous love message?” Doubts and suspicions started creeping in and at the end of the day I felt the energy behind the “innocent” note – animosity. At once I figured out who could be the doer. I asked him. Of course he denied but he said something very strange: “Why don’t you dial the number?” Ha! So he knew there was a number.
I didn’t go into a criminal investigation – I am far away from Miss Marple’s style. Yet this event awakened something in me. It reminded me of my past experiences with some men and how they mocked me. When I was 12 the coolest boy in my class said at a friend’s party I was a cross-breed between a man and a woman. Later on, on the eve of my 18th birthday, some classmates mocked me on the same issue. Since then, whenever I experience troubles like these, I have always tried to avoid and forget them as quickly as possible. But this time I wanted to take control of the situation. Whenever I am in confusion, there’s one big question in my mind: “What can I do to feel better?”
My ego was hurt, I felt hurt as if this note was shouting to me:”You are not wanted, nobody wants to date you, you motherfucking loo-ooser!” I needed to get back to normal, at least to feel better. So what could I do? I used to beat various objects in my room in order to relieve the rage. In fact, I hit this time a few objects in my room too, but it didn’t feel right. Whenever I am overwhelmed with anger and express it physically, it’s like a snowball – I want more and more. In order to make it this time right, I made a conscious decision to:
· Practise yoga nidra.
This is a short relaxation practise. If you are not familiar with it, you can try observing your breathing consciously. Or do any relaxation practise. From my experience, I definitely feel better afterwards. Even during the practise I managed to calm down. If there’s anyone out there doubting the benefits of yoga, I can assure him or her that yoga nidra does really calm your mind. You don’t believe me? Go and try it for a while with a good teacher. A teacher is very important but he doesn’t substitute your responsibility for a regular daily practise.
· One must also choose the right response.
In my previous bullying experiences, I didn’t inform anybody. Only after I went into a nervous breakdown the second time, when I was 18, I confessed to my mother and she went to my school and talked with the psychologist there about the way I was tormented.
When I went back home this time, after seeing the note on the fridge, I was feeling terribly only thinking that the message is still there on the fridge. I was contemplating on taking a sick leave or even quitting the job. Na-ah, that was too panicky and irresponsible. Instead of fleeing from the trouble, one has to face it bravely. On the next day, my first job was to talk to the manager and explain her the issue. I had the luck that our manager happened to be a woman so that she was more sympathetic. I showed her the note in the kitchen and explained her my concern. Ironically, the colleague I was convinced to have done it, was there and heard everything. He became interested instead of staying indifferent. Later on, the manager made an announcement and asked the doer to erase the note so that I could feel better. I asked her for that. In a few hours the “love message” was gone. I knew, the real doer didn’t delete it. Instead, it was my supervisor who did it. Out of the whole buzz there was something positive. I showed the doer that I won’t stay indifferent and silently bear his anonymous attacks, and secondly, that we are responsible for what we do and create. There’s always a counter reaction in this universe.
· Your attitude towards the hatred.
This is crucial. You need to develop a right inner attitude along with the response. Saying aloud “I don’t care” sounds great but is there a person out there who really doesn’t care? For me it’s just how much I care and whether I depend on their opinion. I cannot be liked by everyone and I don’t want it but there’s some portion of appropriate reality-checks from the right people. In my case the doer wasn’t any reality-check, actually, I didn’t like him long before the incident. However, when something like this happens even to grown-ups, you have to make a clear inner statement: “This is not about me. I am not a loser, ugly or stupid. I simply can’t be liked by each person in this 7-billion-people world. “Don’t let the hatred from one person lead you to any cardinal conclusions. Of course, I wasn’t that wise or Zen with my inner dialogue. I was in fact thinking aloud: “Should I even care what men are thinking of me? If I’m not straight, as some men before were implying that I was a hybrid, then why do I need to care about their opinion?”
Ironically, on the next day after the incident, I was reading articles when I found one about the dysfunctional blogger. The author gave examples with well-known bloggers and how they failed with everything but made success by describing their failures. The first one was James Altucher with the post
“ “. Alone the title made me laugh out. I leave it to you to decide whether you want your daughters to be lesbians, but I can tell that every woman at least once has wished to be a lesbian. Of course you cannot just become one by wishing it. Maybe I am still straight. In fact, the above experience also released a powerful energy in me. What’s important is only what shape will the experience take and how we’ll handle it.
So, we have to be positive, turn the hatred, the backlash and obstacles into our friends and helpers. If we cannot handle the small problems, how will we face the big ones?
No joke here.
Disclaimer: I am aware a lot of people won’t grasp how such a dysfunctional, bad joke offended me but the whole experience came from the energy I felt behind the note and that I know who wrote it and why. I don’t want to offend men in general or LGBTQ groups. After a long consideration on whether to publish this or not, I opted to hit “publish” because the post shows my current experiences and I promised to be painfully sincere. I would like to hear your comments and whether you have faced similar experiences.
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