Fandango’s Provocative Question (16 December 2020)

Prompt image for the Fandango's Provocative Question prompt

For today’s Provocative Question, Fandango asks:

How do we make peace with ourselves, knowing that, being the basically good people we are, we also have a side to us which we know isn’t the best — our “dark side”? Can we overcome these parts of our lives that we may not be proud of? Or do we simply accept them, learn to live with them, and move on?

Phew!

Okay, I shall split this one into two.

As an adult, I don’t really think I have a dark side. What you see is what you get. Relationships… check. Work… okay, there might have been times when I could’ve been friendlier toward colleagues, but I never screwed anybody over. So I don’t really have any regrets of how I’ve treated other people. Maybe a bit more time for my mum? But really, a lot of the time she did talk nonsense! Her death is so long ago that nobody is uncomfortable saying that now. And, now having had children myself, that parent-child dynamic is very lop-sided.

As a child, however, I do have some regrets. I’m talking pre-pubescent, here. It was a semi-rough area, and kids often used violence to one another. Fisticuffs. I can’t say I was bullied, but there were certain kids you knew to keep away from. Most of the time you did, but there were a few times they caught up with you, and it wasn’t pleasant. To that extent, I was picked on a bit, but there was one kid where I was the picker-onner.

It all happened a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. If I met the kid I had once picked on, I would love to apologise, but I wouldn’t. Why?

Well, if I met any of the kids who used to pick on me, and they wanted to apologise, my response would be “fuck you”. If they were having sleepless nights because of the harm they had caused to other kids? Good.

Guilt is the payback for all those unresolved nasties we ever did as children, and I’m not prepared to smile sweetly and absolve anyone.

A few weeks ago, I alluded in a post to grown-ups saying that they should be forgiven for things they did or said when younger (teens and twenties) because they have now grown up. It’s happened to a few minor politicians here (one was really quite abhorrent pro-Nazi stuff), but didn’t it also happen to Trudeau over race? I have a lot of sympathy for that, because I remember what I was once. Although, as I say, for me it was pre-pubescent. But ultimately, although I can look back and think “what a twat”, in the end I think there are plenty worse people about.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

15 thoughts on “Fandango’s Provocative Question (16 December 2020)”

  1. I was bullied at school by a couple kids, and at home by my dad because I stuttered. The kid at school I had enough of myself. One day he was blocking my path when we randomly me on a city street. As we walked towards each other, I decided to fight. He was laughing and calling me names; when he got close, I hit him as hard as I could and bloodied his nose. He fell down crying and I just kept going.

    As an adult, I worked in a hard core union shop as a supervisor. The environment was fight for what you needed for your job or get trampled or fired. My temper was bad and flared up often. The lesson I learned was “don’t let people know where you keep your goat”. I found rather than getting vocal and screaming at people, dead silence and a “bring it on ass hole” look behind a sinister smile was more effective.

    Eventually, I learned greater lessons to peacefully settle things. Too soon old, too late smart. With my dad, I could only stay out of his way and bide my time until I could leave. When I did, I never went back.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s a shame, that your dad was like that, because it was him who lost out in the end. I know very little about the cause of stutters but common sense would tell me that getting aggressive is not a cure 🙂.

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      1. Your right. I had to make people laugh about it and laugh with them. I came upon a group of my friends listening to one kid tell a stutter joke. He got a laugh and looked at me rather embarrassed. I told him he wasn’t bad at telling jokes but I could do it better. I repeated the joke in my stutter and got even more laughs. After that, the group didn’t bother me anymore. There was an acceptance and more friendly atmosphere after I laughed at myself. One day weeks later it hit me…I’m not stuttering any more.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It’s funny because strokes can often affect people’s speech. I was lucky in that it didn’t affect my spreech, but because I later worked with survivors, I got to know all the do’s and dont’s.
          My point is, wouldn’t you think that anybody close to a particular situation would know what they should and shouldn’t do to help?

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          1. In most cases yes. In my dad’s case a resounding “hell no”. I was on my home town volunteer fire department for 4 years and ran across two people who stuttered. There was an instant connection, obviously. I did my best to help them relax and reassure them I was not going to judge them for their speech. In the first case, my squad crew mate was trying to get information from the injured persons family, and showed obvious signs of frustration. I told him I would take over if he would go do something else to help the injured one. I did my best to make the person feel at ease during a time of high stress which is a definite trigger for stuttering. For the second one, the squad on duty that night called me to come and give them a hand. They weren’t getting information as fast as they wanted it.

            I stuttered around my dad the most due to his lack of compassion. To him, my mom, my brothers and I were property to do with as he chose, and I was defective. There were very few times while I was living at home that there weren’t arguments, or simple undertones of strife all the time. He was a Jeckyl and Hyde personality – one to be avoided at all costs.

            By the same token, I was around a man by the name of Orville Phillips (a Korean War vet.) who tried to help me with it. It got better when I was around him, but came back when I went home. I also had a girl friend that I never stuttered around. She accepted me as I was and I always felt comfortable around her. We moved from Indiana back to Ohio in 1962, and that was the last I saw her.

            I’m glad to hear your stroke didn’t affect your speech in that manner. My prayers are with you for further recovery. God bless.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellently put! I’m not trying to ‘fuss’ on your blog, but in my opinion (which doesn’t need to be shared by everyone, I ain’t that big headed), if we carry the burden of those old slights and hurts from when we were children, and we don’t forgive those who were assholes to us; in a sense they win. The thing becomes our burden to bear because we don’t put it down, put it in perspective, and say goodbye to it. I’m a world class grudge holder and have learnt (at some cost) that holding that grudge is hurting me a whole lot more than it is the offender. So these days I tend to ‘forgive’ the offender, but I’m less like to forget. There’s forgiving and there’s stupidity. Sometimes a very thin line separates the two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s not a case of forgiving, and then everything is okay, just because there is no “everything”.
      To be honest it is not something I dwell on. The guy I picked on, if he thinks about it at all, probably thinks I was a bastard, but that is childhool. Which is pretty much how I view the guys who picked on me, if at all.
      But in some ways, all this childhood trauma can strengthen us as grown-ups.

      Like

  3. Good post. I empathize. Was bullied. Once. My dark side was gonna fix things but my Dad stopped me. Still, word got around, and the neighborhood bully changed careers. Being the bully myself never had any appeal. Still wonder though about my dark side. Made me think. That’s a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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