Suddenly the pod stops spinning, I step out into a familiar environment; the school playground, the bit by the gate, next to the bikesheds. Where the dynamic of “fitting in” and “keeping your head down” was ever present. I found myself witnessing wilful misrepresentation and obvious incitement to riot. The initial reaction to retaliate, followed by self-preservation; do not engage.
So I don’t, how tragic to be a woman in the middle of my life journey, too afraid to engage with other women just beginning their own. But there it is. I cannot change that I am triggered by the bullying, that I want to be liked not hated, that my confidence is such that it wouldn’t manage an out and out attack from a handful of people seeking out reasons to be angry. The sense of a hornets nest, being held aloft and a threat of dropping from a height ever present.
There are no obvious answers to be had-mainly because the questions though perhaps originally clear have become nebulous and lost in translation. What is clear to me; I will not buy in to tolerated cruelty, personal attacks that do little but fuel fires and keep them burning. I will engage in debate, I will accept challenges that are respectful. It is my right to feel safe. It is my right to feel safe online. It is my right to refuse to listen should I choose, maybe this makes me closed minded-perhaps I’ll learn less. But I’m prepared for that. If it means I don’t have the sickening adrenaline rush of an unsolicited attack. I’ll take that every time.