I noted last week that it’s really quite all right to be different. Then again, I am sixty-four years old. It’s harder to reach that conclusion if you’re fifty years younger than that:
One form of bullying — one form I experienced a lot as a kid — is for people to find something about you that is DIFFERENT, and to harp on that difference. And it gets to the point where even if you liked being different in that way at the outset, you come to hate it, because the fact that you don’t fit in, that this other person sees you as weird, is being shoved in your face day in and day out. Few adults are strong enough to stand up to that, and even fewer kids.
(I will present as an exhibit: how in 7th grade I forced myself to listen to “top 40 radio” even though I hated it, because I felt like I needed to know what songs and artists were popular, and I knew that the kids thought I was weird because I listened to WCLV instead, and that I liked classical music. Yeah, I did something I hated in the name of seeming more “normal.” Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.)
I had my own issues in seventh grade, one of which was still being nine years old at the beginning of the first semester. I did not take it well. And being so far chronologically offset from the rest of the class, I didn’t quite fit in with the Scarifyingly Heterosexual school activities, which led some to murmur that I might be happier with the boys. Not them, of course. It is a measure of how bad off I was socially that I didn’t realize what they were saying until several years later.
Plato probably didn’t actually say “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” but the statement is still a good and a true one. And it seems that as the world becomes harder and colder (or appears to have), more and more people are forgetting to be kind — or are deciding not to, in the interest of getting ahead/getting someone to notice them/throwing a punch before someone throws it at THEM … and, it just doesn’t HELP.
This latter paragraph is about fifty-five percent of Twitter, and about eighty-five percent of political Twitter.