I sometimes feel that people get the wrong impression of me. (And when I say sometimes, I mean most of the time. And when I say wrong, I mean slightly incorrect but still mostly right on the money). All lighthearted humour aside though, I often find myself rubbing people up the wrong way and it's not always my fault. Everyone has their own preconceived ideas about other people. What they don't realise is that these impressions are often based on conjecture and gossip.
But I'm not in the habit of justifying myself, so if I ever become aware of someone having a negative view of me I tend to let it remain that way. Or make it even worse by playing up to this distorted image they have. I like to call this having a sense of humour. Albeit an obnoxious one. And I suppose I do have the tendency to be mercilessly offensive (quite a lot of the time actually) but my humour also relies very heavily on the self-deprecating approach, as those of you who follow my tweets will already be aware of. Which is exactly the reason why it incenses me so when people wrongly label me as a bully.
I am not a bully. I'm brash, yes. I can also be rude, thoughtless, selfish, incredibly arrogant and a plethora of other supposedly unappealing adjectives. But I don't target one person and actively go out of my way to humiliate and intimidate them in an attempt to cure my own crippling insecurities. That's a bully.
As a tentative teenage school girl I came into contact with an alarming number of girls who all met that definition. Naturally they all chose to band together to enforce my misery as a collective effort and not so coincidentally they were all smokers. (They always are). I'm still unsure as to what the exact reason was which provoked their irrational rage at my existence, but I can tell you that my nonplussed attitude to their viciously cruel outbursts only aided the problem.
On the whole my average school day was pretty consistent. I would trot along to lessons, have lunch with my friends and Tipex out the name of the current nonreciprocating love interest on my pencil case. I would also be jostled in the corridors, taunted amid raucous shrieks of laughter and threatened with "a battering" if I even so much as made eye contact with the aforementioned tough girls.
My life is over, I've run out of Tipex
I'll always remember the dull sickness which would form in the pit of my stomach when it came time for a Games or P.E lesson, as it was the only time we were all forced together. Obviously none of them partook in any physical activities, seen as their lungs couldn't take the pressure and they couldn't afford trainers. But in a way that was worse. I'd rather one of them have come at me armed with a hockey stick rather than suffer the torture of them lined up on the side of the field, scrutinizing my every movement and hurling "insults" for everyone else to hear and exchange smirks at.
"Oh look at 'er now, thinkin' she's awesome in her little outfit. Where's that from Sam? GUCCI?"
I don't think I'm awesome right now at all, I'm merely stepping up to bat because it's my turn. And no, I wish my black leggings were designer but they're not. They're from Topshop. You know, on the High Street. I'm sorry, my parents work for a living and buy me things.
"Ooooh Sam, does your boyfriend bend you over and make you scream like a pig?"
No. Bend me over what? We watch television in my living room and sometimes he looks as though he's going to put his arm around me but doesn't and then when the programme finishes he goes home.
"Aw look at 'er now, walking by there."
Yes. I am walking. Over here, on the opposite side of the road to you. And you are over there, shouting at me.
And that's generally how it would go. Every day. Not the worst scenario of bullying I will concede, but when something like that doesn't relent for five years it really takes its toll.
As a consequence of experiencing that exquisite torture, I've never felt inclined to direct it at someone else. While I'm naturally defensive and stick up for myself with ease, I don't attack people unnecessarily. So imagine my surprise when at twenty four I was thrust back into the familiar scenario of being ganged up on for no apparent reason by two girls who appeared to be around the age of 16 or so.
Like two peas in a pod
After a fairly grueling day chained to an office desk being made to squint at a computer screen and type things, I treated myself to an overpriced serving of saturated fat in a cardboard box. I was commiserating, as a trip to Miss Selfridge had revealed I was no longer a size 10 and naturally a calorific meal was the answer. So as I was contemplating my next eating disorder, I look up and there are two young girls looking right back at me with that brazen amused look which is the only expression teenagers seem to have these days. One of them got up, crossed the floor and came back with two straws. Obviously as you can see, they had finished their meals. They then started sucking on the straws and fiddling with the empty wrappers.
Oh no. This is not happening. Is it? Are they actually going to start pea shooting me? Is this where I'm at in life? My dazed thoughts were interrupted by their little boyfriends rejoining and occupying the seats opposite them, thus obscuring the minions from view. They then urged their boyfriends to hunch over the table so they would (I presume) be able to get a clear shot at me without being detected. The familiar surge of discomfort and humiliation crept up my back, but a decade later it was merely an initial reaction in disbelief and was not a residual 14 year olds feeling of panic. With a defiant look, I raised my voice to a level which would be heard over the din of the crowd and in a menacingly calm tone which echoed the caption of my previous Twitpic, I slowly said: "Bitches. Try it and shit will go down."
I'm the kind of person who prides herself on her eloquent vocabulary and generally well-spoken nature. But I pulled the ghetto speak off with astounding ease, which the boyfriends laughed at in genuine amusement. The girls however fixed me with wide surprised eyes and exchanged a worried glance at each other before quickly averting their eyes to the table in front of them. Yes, I knew exactly what they were thinking. "Shit, bitch be crazy." Yeah. That's right. Go pick on someone your own BMI. I wish I could Twitpic their rotting corpses with the boyfriends heads shoved up their vaginas, but alas, I got up and swaggered out of the place before this thought came to me.
Moral of the story: don't attempt to pea shoot someone who goes by the alias Dirty Knickers, especially not when she's feeling like a chubster.