Workplace bullies. And here we all thought the “Mean Girls” mentality was obsolete after graduating from high school. But I’ve discovered that it’s alive and thriving well into some folks’ thirties.
The first time I encountered this particular bully, I took her for a friend, a colleague. Remind me to never make that mistake again.
We had bonded over our mutual mistfortunes: having crazy families, as trite as it seems. Yet I forgot at times that she was my superior, though she never let me forget it. Nor did she let me forget my single status.
I was kind enough to let her forget how accomplished I was: college degree, and a home of my own. No husband trapping required. As time went on, she began to remind of other things: how fat I was or how lazy I was. Which irritated me, because I never forgot these things anyway. Mirrors make fantastic reality checks.
A pick here, a slash there, and pretty soon I was internally bleeding to death. My self esteem was fading fast and all the blood in the office began to attract the other sharks. I forgot who tried to deal the final blow, but I remember that evening afterwards. I nearly ruined my date with Captain Morgan with all my blubbering. I decided that after the drunk dial to my perpetually positive best friend that said friend should be sainted.
I was vunerable then, rubbed raw. I imagined my boss tried making a leather coat out of my paperthin skin.
I was furious at myself. But my poor friend, who I awoke at the obscene hour of 2am, told me to shake them off. “They’re just jealous Heather. Look at what you’ve done and with less to boot! Don’t let them get to you.”
The next day I fought with myself and the hangover, but I came to a decision. One, I wasn’t going to stoop to their level. Two, murder is never justifiable. Three, if they liked being envious so much, I would give them something to truly turn green.
For that particular incarnation of bully, I could only do one thing: love myself. It was a slow transformation, like a catepillar in it’s cocoon. Only, I came out not a butterfly, but a goddess. My skin was impenetrable and damn did I glow.
But my words? I kept my words kind always, unbarbed.
You see, kindness is one of the greatest strengths, for it heals the wounded sparrow and slays jealous dragons. It’s your greatest weapon and sweetest reward.