By Vaishali Jain:
Some said, “No matter what, don’t let anyone dictate you.” and some others said, “Just don’t get involved. You’ll invite trouble if you retaliate much.” I went with the latter, because my heart told me so. “Be safe”, it would caution me. “Be safe, after all, it was better to take a little bruise on the heart than to absorb the endless blows on the anatomy.” I was wrong.
It’s been a few years; I don’t really know the exact number. IÂ didn’tÂ understand then that my silence strengthened them. That my acquiescence powered them. That I was not the only one. That they would exercise dominance on everyone who’d not revolt. An easy picking,Â wasn’tÂ I? My main concern was to shun the limelight and to avoid being on theÂ centerÂ stage. Somehow, it still holds a part of me. I am an introvert. I am shy. But not like I used to be. I am stronger now. And wiser.
Being bullied taught me so much more than just the difference between right and wrong. Although, knowing that difference in itself deserves a self high five. Given below are a few lessons I learnt from getting bullied:
Inspiration need not come from all things bright and beautiful; sometimes it’s the ugly that inspires you to dust yourself and move on: Your self-respect does not let you live in shame for long. And each time you get up, you fly an inch towards your freedom. Love always made me lazy — over-confident, too, perhaps. What made me work harder were the shameless insinuations. Even if just to prove myself. I did what they never could. And now, this happened so long ago that itÂ doesn’tÂ even matter. But the point is — little by little, day by day, I did get stronger. Now, don’t they deserve to be thanked for their charms in disguise?
Not every battle needs to be won, not every challenge need be accepted: Wisdom definitelyÂ doesn’tÂ knock on your door on a sunny afternoon becauseÂ you’veÂ added green vegetables to your diet chart. No. It tests you. And whether you pass or fail, it generously lets you grab your share from what you learnt. As an amateur, it’s pretty easy to give in- to say you are weak and you’re bound to do what they say. But eventually, there comes a time when you know it is not important to display interest, even if it is fake. It is okay to deny doing what you’re told. It is reasonable enough to focus on bettering yourself than thinking of disgracing them. It all, then, comes down to you and not them. And you realize you’re the hero of your story, after all.
I came to know about the people who really cared about me: I really did. When you are a heap of wasted tears and hopelessly wonder if there is a secret planet for a rotten dumpling like you, there are those people who selflessly come forward and metaphorically lash you for thinking so. That one little inch to freedom, they will help you cover that distance when you feel your feet have grave iron balls clawed to them. And that’s all you need. A little push. A sense ofÂ belongingÂ and the faith that youÂ aren’tÂ alone. I got that set of people then, andÂ I’veÂ got them for life. Fortunately, one can find that little goodness in trying times.
What the majority follows is NOT to be followed: So they wear certain trendy clothes, they get tattooed, they smoke weed, they watch movies that are popular, they follow bands that are a hit. You realize it’s not the popular that is the best.Â I’veÂ come to know writers who are yet to be discovered by the public. If these undiscovered gems are given an opportunity, they could give the established authors in market a run for their money. ItÂ didn’tÂ take much to understand that if somethingÂ hadn’tÂ grabbed the headlines, that did not mean it could not be given a try.Â I’veÂ come to follow some of the best artists by judging them for myself and not going for the trend charts.
I learnt it early in life that trying to please everyone would only make me weak: Of course, you could have the prettiest eyes in the world. Blue and so deep —they could give one a reason to dream. But there still will be someone who hates the color blue. Instead of thinking how to get them to like me, I found it prudent to convince myself that it’s only right to define my life on my own terms. And my own difference in choices simplified my belief that no matter how many people vouch for their craze for a certain thing, there will be a few who would dislike the same thing with the same intensity.
It showed me the importance of silence. Initially, I was entangled in my cobweb of fear, hopelessness, inferiority, and shame. And it made me aware of the potential of my own thoughts. There was so much to listen in silence. There was so much to learn, too.
TheÂ intimidationÂ affirmed Anne Frank’s words for me, “Paper has more patience than people.” I turned to writing and things have never been the same again.