With hyper-excitement and a shortness of breath, I anticipated my future prospects. The job was a step in the right direction. I say this with a little apprehension. Back then, it was the best I’d ever done. With some encouragement, I could see the rewards. You know, be happy with whom I’d become.
With anxiety on high and a question of why, I entered that place with my best happy face.
What was it? That strange world I was in? What was I thinking, how naïve could I be? It wasn’t for me; it never would be. I didn’t deal with the shit. I thought I did, but I didn’t. Instead, I just held my breath until it was gone, until I was left alone. Where was my brave face, the one to show the world? Where was my toilet humor to fit in with the boys and girls? Where was my self-confidence, my self defense? Where was management to assist? Listen?
I never knew that those who, as children, bullied and harassed less vocal humans. I never knew they’d turn into overgrown versions of their younger selves. It’s not necessarily about quick wit and humor, as I originally thought. It’s about who’s the loudest. Who knows how to hit where it hurts? They had grown in size, but had not grown wise. I never stood a chance to compete in their malicious dance.
Nobody likes the weirdos; they’re considered weak. They must be taken for a ride upon a train, teased and taunted until they can no longer speak. I had no voice, metaphorically and literally. I was rendered into a silence that was just as deadly.
Even those who supported my claims left me standing alone, out cold in the rain.
I learned a harsh lesson in my time in that job—to stand up is to stand alone. To stay quiet is to be a target. If they want to hunt you, they will. They prey on the sensitive; they’re considered weak. It’s not okay to be nice and sweet. Don’t stand up, toughen up! No point in crying like a baby, yes; I learned that bullying is not just for ages five through twelve; it’s five to eternity. Bullying is acceptable in adulthood. It’s respected. Revered—as it should. Nice guys finish last, ain’t that right? God forbid we should stand up and fight! Don’t be stupid, that’s not right. Conform to the crowd; it makes it easier to sleep at night.
It was a waste of time talking to The Boys’ Club. They just sat behind their desks, bellies abreast. “Yes Sonja, I see … I will look into that,” as they scribbled into their note pad. Words were recorded. I saw it; I did! Months, years later … Nothing changed. Everything was still the same, if not worse. Frustrations grew stronger; performance went under. And conditions, they never did change for the better.
I’d had enough, but I never wanted to admit it. My head had never been so bad. I didn’t want to adhere to it, but I’d never been so sad. Money’s not worth it, not worth all the bliss—a dark cloud, my accomplice. Ha! What a joke; it made me choke. TV is so not glamorous; it’s a falsehood, a brotherhood. That game wasn’t for me. I’d taken it rough. What was the point? Why was I there? A fruitless labor had stripped me bare. My soul was in tatters, my head was ablaze; it was a never ending, incipient phase.
It was time to put me and my needs first. I resigned with intention to make them pay; those bastards never did a thing to pave the way. No effort was made to find resolution. I was a problem without a solution.
I made inquiries, spoke with lawyers, filed complaints. I had conciliation with no revelation. Those meetings with management disappeared without a trace. After all, deception is an acceptable face.
I have plans for a future, one made of my dreams. For the first time in my life, I’ve laid the foundation for me. I’m more than content to stand alone on a ground that’s made from true happiness of my own. I’m not sure what lies ahead, but I have definitely learned; there’s no point in living for anyone else.
As I now know, I can’t stress enough; if I don’t walk my path, I will forever live in the dark.