I remember back in high school, there was this girl who’d avoid eye contact with me.
I didn’t know why at first.
Maybe I didn’t dress up to modern day standards?
Maybe I was sitting next to the guy she had a serious crush on?
Maybe it was how my eyes became uneven whenever I smiled?
It bothered me for the longest time since I rarely, rarely, attract haters. But eventually, I found out the underlying reason — she didn’t want to initiate a conversation with me.
In her highly intelligent mind, I was stupid, slow-witted and had nothing good in this world to offer, simply because I’d ask a bunch of yes-or-no questions that never led to anything deeper. Or I’d make useless comments during the conversation, just to show that I was listening.
“Ah, I see.”
When it came to our social wits, I was the lesser being. And while I was well-aware of this shortcoming of mine, I still tried my best to be friendly with her, which naturally increased her disliking of me.
Because one day, she (and a bunch of her pals) decided to play this game with me. One where I’d be the prime entertainment.
On a whiteboard, she listed every bad habit I did every 30 minutes, illustrated by a stick figure icon.
1. Pulls hair and drops it on the ground
2. Scratches chin when thinking
3. Picks nails
4. Shakes leg vigorously
5. Stares off into space
6. Cracks neck or back
Anytime someone caught me doing one of these things, they’d yell out “POINT” and tally up their initials under that specific category. Whoever scored the highest points for the week, won a free lunch — split evenly by the group.
I understood the clear intent of her game — for me to be aware of my bad habits. But it just traumatized me. To the point where I would force my body to stay stiff, just so nobody would call me out.
It was uncomfortable. Restrictive. And while I tried to keep my nerves in control, I was screaming from the inside.
I hate this game. I hate myself. I hate her.
I’m not sure if she realizes (even to this day) how hurtful her actions were, but there’re two things I’d learned that day.
1. There’re such people in this world who’ll intentionally make your life a living hell, just because you’re not at their level. Because you don’t have what it takes to become better.
Don’t take those people personally.
It’s not on them to change you, but for you to change yourself. And for them to change their selves.
2) Never, ever, make someone feel bad.
The things you say, the things you do may last momentarily, but feelings last forever. So if you hurt someone, for whatever reason, just know it’ll always stick to the back of their minds.