Today, I started off in a ridiculously good mood. The sun was shining, the weather was promising, the radio was playing my song and I have a night off from practice. Usually I am not that perky first thing in the morning, so I grabbed that spark and said “You! You will power my day, and it will be GOOD.”
Maybe that was radiating from me, because as I walked in the door one of my coworkers took a shot to try to bring me down. No “Good Morning!” Not “That sweater is a pretty color on you.”
She raised an eyebrow, curled her lip scornfully and said “Are you wearing Silly Bandz?”
“I am,” I replied confidently. “I’m doing a show with high schoolers right now, and they were distraught that I didn’t have any.”
(My collection has grown from my original rhino to include a Princess, a tiara, a star and a guy with a guitar.)
(Who The Director looked at last night and said “WHY IS THAT A GUY RUNNING AROUND WITH HIS PENIS OUT?!”)
(Now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. You’re welcome.)
As much as I felt confident, and wearing something quirky makes me smile, the fact that this coworker chose to jump on it in a negative way still stings. She did it in front of a group of people, all of whom said nothing or adopted her smug expression. She did it to make me feel small, she’s a bully. I know those things.
It still brings back echoes of so many times throughout life when I’ve let people make me feel “not cool enough.”
In a group of my friends, I’m vivacious. I’ve got quick wit, I feel that I can always have something relevant to add to the conversation. I’m the exact same person among these people at work, and yet it feels totally different. Because I’m not “one of them,” my humor is never funny enough. What I say isn’t insightful or relevant. They get blank stares on their faces and I retreat back in my cube, feeling embarrassed.
Sometimes I tell myself that I should just keep a low profile, not talk to any of them unless I’m spoken to. But that’s not ME. And if they don’t like me, or walk away thinking “Man, what a dork,” they can (quite plainly) go fuck themselves.
These same people were the bullies in high school, the so-called “cool kids,” who made the rest of us feel like being artistic or different made us losers.
There are times when I still feel “Oh crap, I shouldn’t have said that. I’m such a dork/nerd/geek/loser…” I have to WORK to not feel that way. Just because someone isn’t quick enough to follow me, or has a bug up their ass that day is not a reflection of me. I own the right to open my mouth just as much as they do.
I wear my silly bandz. I wear them because the young people who gave them to me ARE me. They’re quirky, funny, loving and generous. They’re going to deal with the same feelings of being “different” because they’d rather read than go to parties, practice than drink. I hope they are braver than I, and never let someone with a bitchy question make them hestitate to fly their freak flags, even for a minute.