“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill
I am in no way a “people-pleaser.” I can’t stay quiet and accept ignorance when I hear it, I stand up for those that cannot stand up for themselves, and stand up for myself.
Though, I haven’t always been this way. There was a lull point in my life; I settled for silence just to keep peace. High-school was a time in my life when all I wanted was to fit in. I didn’t want anyone to notice me and I didn’t want to do anything that would call attention to myself. When my “friends” called out slurs to a lower grader walking by in his Halloween costume, (he dressed as a woman), I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t like what my “friends” were saying, I didn’t like the violence or malice in their words, and I couldn’t stand the tone of their voices. I remember the heckling, the cat-calls, and the hyena-like laughter. I remember my thoughts, my silence, and my sadness for the boy.Looking back, I don’t see a group of people, I see a group of coyotes howling and trying to catch their next meal.
What did I do? Nothing.
What does silence do? Nothing.
This was over 9 years ago and I still think about that night. Though, I have no association with this group of people anymore, we strategically drifted apart. I say strategically because after that night I saw how awful they truly were, and how disappointed in myself I was for associating with people of this frame of mind; I passively started ignoring their phone calls, I was always “too busy” to hang out, and finally the calls stopped coming in. My phone went silent and I could breathe again. I guess silence isn’t always the worst sound.
That was the last time I would allow myself to willfully be around ignorant people, though at that point in my life I hadn’t known the signs to look for, yet. I was naïve and a good kid in general, I thought being “cool” meant having the most friends.
From that day forward I vowed to myself that no one is worth my silence. To hell with being cool if this is what it entailed! There is nothing cool about being a mean-spirited person, or even being around them! If someone says something I don’t agree with, I will let them know. Through this pledge I have lost many “friends” and a lot of respect for people. I have had many debates and my phone has gone silent, which in some cases is a bit sad. We can’t agree, we can’t be friends?
Over the years I have upset people by disagreeing and have had my mind boggled by their defenses.
Although I am not a “people-pleaser,” I am a “me-pleaser.” I never kick myself anymore; I always stick up for what I believe is right; and I never let the helpless soul get pushed around.
Some people may not like it; but who needs them, anyways?
I know this will never make up for my lack of strength that Halloween night over 9 years ago, but it’s a start.
I hope we can all make the right enemies in our lives.
We regret the actions we didn’t take as much as we regret the mistakes we did make.