I love the perspective, The Red Headed Authoress, shares with us today. This girl was all smiles when I met her, so really, I wasn’t surprised to get such a wonderful contribution from her. Please give her the warmest of welcomes and check out her website and say hello!
Be a Clown
By The Red Headed Authoress
Bullying is everywhere. Be it on the playgrounds, in school, at work, or in the boardroom, this is a part of the human experience. It’s unfortunate, but there it is. Everyone is bullied, even the bullies. For that matter, just about everyone bullies at some point. Bullying is a terrible part our personality, and I would guess that the vast majority of people wish it didn’t exist, including me. However, it does exist, so the next part to tackle is how to deal with it.
I’ve been bullied. Who hasn’t? I’ve fought back, I’ve hidden behind authority, and I’ve finally come to the thing that I feel works the best. Just be a clown when you have to.
Let me explain. I come from a large family who pick on each other constantly. Some would say we bully one another at times. Since I was born, I was surrounded by a huge group of loving people who also poked fun at me when I do something stupid. One of my aunts who married into our family called us the “the hate family” for the longest time because she didn’t understand why we picked on each other so much. Basically, we told her, “If we don’t pick on you, we don’t like you anymore.”
Did that mean school was a breeze for me? No. I was bullied for a multitude of reasons like any kid. Mostly, I physically fought back, which helped cement a reputation of being mean that I didn’t really want to have. If I told an authority figure, they either did nothing or when they did something, I got a big target painted on my back. Eventually, I learned to take the course I learned from my own family. Own your shit and make a joke about it.
That doesn’t sound terribly politically correct, but by the time I hit high school, I had friends in all clicks. I knew just about everyone, and no one really bothered me about my weirdness (and trust me, I was weird). I was an unusual person, but I owned it, and I was funny. Often times, if someone is picking on you for being shy, fat, awkward, or strange, you probably are, but why is that bad? That’s just who you are. Own it and stop hiding from it.
Bullies often pray on those who are different and want to hide it. Confidence in who you are leaves them nothing to work with, and if you add in a joke that makes them laugh, they are no longer your bully.
My father was five foot three and a gymnast in a small town in West Texas. Seriously, that is true. How did he survive high school in one piece? He was really funny. If there is one major thing he taught me, it was laughter is something that spans across countries, cultures, and sexes. Make someone laugh and see them soften toward you immeasurably.
It works with adults too. I worked at a place that employed hundreds of people, of which maybe ten percent were female. I often found myself in a meeting with all men, some on my side and some who were gearing up to try to put me in my place. Bullying exists everywhere. The air was so thick with tension before conversations even started you could eat it with a spoon. This was about to be a playground shoving match among adults. What could you possible do here?
Well, I asked if anyone had ever been to West Texas before and when they said no, I started doing my impression of my grandmother’s thick Texas accent.
“Well Hell, it’s a good thing I got outta ther cause I weren’t never gonna get a man. According to my grandma, I was too skinny, I didn’t like football, I didn’t like coffee, and I was just like my muther. I was gonna be an old maid forever.”
Everyone laughed and the air calmed. Those guys who were going to put me in my place, never got to. In fact, they stopped wanting to. Instead, they started listening to me. Everyone left that meeting happy.
As the immortal Cole Porter once wrote…
Be a clown, be a clown
All the world loves a clown
Act a fool, play the calf,
And you’ll always have the last laugh.