This People article has been making its rounds on my Facebook feed, and every time I see it, I cringe with second hand embarrassment for the “heroine” of the story. This is the general gist of the post: Girl (our “heroine”) gets bullied in school for being hairy and overweight. Years later, after waxing and losing a few pounds or whatever it was she did to conform to the beauty standards she was so harshly judged against as a child, her old tormenter asks her out and she accepts. Guy expects to meet her at a restaurant for their date, but she stands him up and instructs the waiter to give him a letter that basically says “You made me feel like crap when I was little. Here is your comeuppance.”
Now, I like a good revenge story just as much as the next person, but I don’t like this girl’s approach. I get it: she was hurt. She was bullied in a way that obviously continues to affect her into adulthood, and she wanted to feel empowered by standing up to her oppressor. I sympathize with her, and I applaud her for telling her bully how he negatively impacted her life. BUT, she made it reeeeeeeeeeeeeally hard for me to identify with her by pulling a mean spirited stunt like this. Not only did she humiliate this guy for something he did 8 years ago when he was kid, but she went to People Freaking Magazine to crush him into the ground. To me, this isn’t some David and Goliath story about a defenceless person taking on her bully; it’s a cruel joke from someone who knows what it feels like to be humiliated.
The guy, by the way, responded like a decent human being and said he was sorry. The article ends with the girl saying she’s glad he apologized, but that the apology was “too little, too late”. It seems like she’s still holding onto that grudge and, because she can’t let go of the past, she can’t see that it’s herself now who needs to beg for forgiveness.
I could end this post with some cliches about forgiving your enemy, two wrongs not making a right, stooping to someone else’s level, or living well being the best revenge – and they are all amazing, perfectly fitting nuggets of wisdom – but instead I will say this: when you look meaner or crazier than your bullies, you have lost the fight, and for that reason alone, you should always take the high road*.
*Ugh! Those cliches! I couldn’t resist!