In yesterday’s Weigh-in article, I shared that when I was celebrating my weight loss I could hear Kermit in my head “YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.” If you have ever watched The Muppets, you heard the same sound when you read my quote. Funny how that works–word association.
Well, in thinking of Kermit, Miss Piggy came to mind. You can’t think of Kermit without Miss Piggy, so you see how the one led me to memories of the other. Well, in thinking of Miss Piggy, I am reminded of an occasion when I was bullied on my first job by my supervisor. A smile is cracking across my face right now because I know you are probably rereading the paragraph to be sure you didn’t miss something. Sad thing is, this isn’t a funny story. It was a nightmare.
NO, unfortunately I wasn’t dreaming. This is a real life nightmare. I have just turned 16 years old. I begged my parents to let me get a job. I was in Future Business Leaders of America at school, and my interests have always been in business. I was ready to have my first job. After much discussion, they finally agreed. New on the job and excited for my first opportunity, I start to work at Dairy Queen. My immediate supervisor, the night supervisor, had it in for me from the start. I have some ideas why she may not have liked me, but I won’t go there. I will just digress to say, it doesn’t matter. She was the supervisor and should have taken positive advantage of someone who was ready to work hard, instead of terrorizing me.
And terrorize me she did. Maybe it’s every person’s right of passage on their first job to be the “newbie” tortured to do whatever it is that you don’t want to do. I didn’t mind the work. It was the name calling that was so hurtful to me. There was this one particular night she was out to get me. I was convinced that she was trying to make me want to quit my job. I’m not sure why. I was always on time. I followed instructions. I didn’t talk back. Who knows?
It was raining out. I worked every night until close, which meant I didn’t get off work until 11 p.m. This particular day she would repeatedly refer to me as Miss Piggy. The only thing I can think is she said it the first time and saw pain on my face and thought, this will surely make her leave. I worked through the pain. By the end of my shift, I was nearly in tears. I went to my car and started home, crying.
I couldn’t get home fast enough that night. Between the rain and my tears, I wasn’t prepared for the water slick that was just up the road from my home. I turned onto the road, still crying, hit the slick, my car spun off the road and into a steep ditch, nose first. This was before cell phones. Still raining out, heartbroken, and nose first in a steep ditch, I get out of the car and struggle to push my car back out onto the road. I was REALLY CRYING by this point as you could imagine.
I got my car back on the road. Looking back now, I have no idea how, but I did. I went home, and I can’t remember for certain, but I am pretty sure if she was up, I would have confided in my mother. Yet, I’m not sure if I did because the woman still had a job the next day, so perhaps I didn’t. It’s funny how I don’t remember how I actually dealt with that. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I just kept it in. Like I did the countless times I was verbally tortured on the school bus or at school.
I returned to work the next day. My resolve…untouched. What is it they say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Yeah, I was stronger. Maybe she saw a look of determination on my face that caused her to never bully me again, or maybe, I didn’t care anymore and tuned her out. I have no memory of future instances of bullying from her. I am sure a person doesn’t just stop, so it’s probably the latter.
To help you feel a little better about the situation, although probably not total vindication, when I left that job I was accepted to work at the most sought after position in school working programs. It was a state position with our local Department of Family and Children Services. While there, I was privy to a lot of confidential information. I was in charge of setting up a new filing system in which I surprisingly ran across her file. I handled the opportunity with the same grace as the bullying–with integrity. I was later face-to-face with her when working reception at the same location. Imagine her face as she stepped up to, “Miss Piggy.” I can only imagine what went through her mind at that moment. Unfortunately, I will never know. Again, I handled the situation with grace–extending to her the grace I would want extended to me if I ever was in her position.
Fast forward 20 years and a master’s degree later. I am working as a social worker for a low-income housing project for disabled and elderly people. Someone close to her was being considered for residency. In reviewing the application, the whole experience ran through my mind again. At the time, it was just her name on paper, but later, she would be standing in front of my desk–just she and I face-to-face. WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY.
She looked at me and said, “You look familiar. I said, yes. You know me,” and I gave her my maiden name. I then said, “I’m sure I’ve changed a lot,” as at this point I weighed approximately 317 pounds, twice the person I was at 165 when she called me Miss Piggy. Oh the irony. She responded, “I have grown up a lot.” We had a moment of silence. I think we both knew what she meant.
While I was given several opportunities to return to her the wrongdoing she did to me, I did not. I am a bigger woman (pun intended), and PROUDLY SO. Maybe I wouldn’t have eaten my pain away if I had used some choice words and gotten myself fired that night. Life is full of pain. We deal with it in whatever way we can. I am looking forward to returning to that 165 pounds. Who knows, I may want a “do over”
at that point. When I reach that point, maybe I’ll contact the owner and ask to volunteer as a mentor to the employees there as I bring my mad blizzard making skills back to the scene. Hey, that actually sounds like a fun idea. It’s the same owner. It could happen. 🙂
Thanks for reading my nightmare. Unfortunately, I didn’t wake up from it in a night sweat and thankful breath that it was only a dream. Do me a favor. Be kind to those who are larger than you are. As a matter of fact, be kind to others…period. You never know how that person could impact your life at a later time. I am proof that those opportunities do indeed happen, and in my case, more than once.