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Thursday, November 20, 2014

If You Ignore It, It Becomes A Part of Your Life

I remember the first time I heard the saying, "If you ignore it, it will go away."  At age seven I called my grandmother on that bullshit.  I pointed out that it doesn't go away, it keeps coming back because you don't do anything about it.  In the 43 years since I have seen nothing to make me change my opinion and almost daily affirmation that I'm quite right. And it's not because I want to see it, it's because it's really there.  I live consciously and encourage those around me to do the same.

The fact that we continue to throw this phrase at new generations despite all evidence that it's beyond stupid to even think it amazes me on a level that rarely gets outraged.  In fact, I would term it child abuse in the worst sense.  You're asking a kid to take the beating everyday and stay quiet.  That makes YOU complicit in the bullying.  In point of fact, it makes YOU the bully.

Three years after my grandmother uttered those awful words I had a chance to put my theory in action.  There were a few girls at the Indian school I attended who thought it was fun to tease the lone white girl in our class.  They made my life miserable for the first couple of months of class because I knew fighting would get me in more trouble than they would see because I was the lone white.  Yes, even in 1975 I was aware that reverse racism was alive and well in America.  When one tried to choke me behind a tree at recess I punched her in the face and slapped her bullying pal.  They both started crying and running to the teacher, threatening dire things to a ten year old.  Both of my teachers had seen the bullying but wisely decided to allow me to find my own way.  Not only did I not get in trouble, but hostilities ceased and one of those girls wound up being my bosom buddy for the school year.

Don't mess with me.

When I was allowed to call my grandmother, long-distance, and regale her with my tale, she shuddered in horror (yes, I could hear it) and told me I should not have been fighting.  Ladies don't fight.  I told her that the girls no longer bothered me and other kids who had been taking a page from the bully's book had stopped teasing me as well, she told me that Indians were savages and would kill me in my sleep.  Too many Westerns, that was my Gran.  Nothing would convince her that confronting a problem would make it go away.

Ignoring anything does not make it go away, unless it's something you love, then benign neglect will make it disappear for sure.  Doubt me?  Ignore your significant other and see where that gets you.

No one ever triumphed by sticking their head in the sand.  In fact, all they did was leave their asses up in the air, ready to be kicked by reality in a winner take all Karma match.

Confrontation just to be confrontational is also stupid.  I let a lot of things slide because I simply cannot care enough to work up any steam.  Veganism.  Don't care.  Could not possibly care less.  The only passive-aggressive way I lash out is to go to Vegan restaurants and order a rare steak with asparagus with Hollandaise sauce with a nice Creme Brulee for dessert.  They expect Steak & Ale to serve Vegan friendly meals when I take them out, why shouldn't I get a little of my own back?  I've shown them I know exactly which game they're playing and that not only do I know it, I can play it better than they do.  Because I play to win.

I've never seen a bully stop bullying because their victims ignored them.  I've never seen a collection agency give up because their calls went unanswered.  In fact, they just get worse because they are like the Psycho in Fatal Attraction, they will NOT be ignored.  I will also let you in on a little secret, this is from whence my self-confidence flows because I know I won't be bent over the table and take it up the tailpipe without lube because I'm too scared to speak up for myself.  It's why people leave me alone when they look for a victim.  I don't know how to be a victim, so I am not one.  Because I value myself enough to stand up for myself.

And that is the real message we are teaching children when we tell them that ignoring something makes it disappear.  We are teaching them that they are not worth standing up for.  Think about that the next time you use the hateful phrase in the presence of an impressionable mind.

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