Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another entry in gratitude. Today’s Grateful Heart Monday is dedicated to finally standing up to a bully, something I was never able to do throughout my childhood and much of my adult life.

Getting bullied was one of the earliest PTSD-based experiences of my life. I first experienced this during my grammar school years where I got picked on regularly all the way up into my senior year. Being pushed down, getting tripped, books knocked out of my hands, ears flicked, spitballs hitting me, hearing daily taunts and the like, my childhood was a constant blur of being bullied. The only reason why it ended in my senior year was because I became a chameleon of sorts by blending in with what everyone else was wearing and doing. Unfortunately, the pattern came back in my adulthood with frequently becoming the butt of other people’s jokes and allowing friends to control me through their anger. Rarely have I stood up to a bully with any sort of force or defiance, that was until just recently when I was doing my routine yardwork outside.

There’s been a lot of yardwork this year due to all the weird weather we’ve had. Diseased leaves have been coming down in droves since late June/early July and a local nursery told me that I needed to get them picked up as soon as possible so as not to allow the transfer of the virus on the leaves to other trees. Because I had the free time, and given it’s been a positive focus to channel all my health frustrations into, I’ve spent many hours outside everyday with either a leaf vacuum, a shop vac, or a leaf blower, making my yard, the two neighbors next to mine, and the street around my home quite immaculate. While most of my neighbors have been appreciative of my OCD work effort, one neighbor hasn’t and recently began yelling at me about the noise I make. Ironically, prior to his very first outburst at me, I’d frequently hear him angrily shouting and being verbally abusive to his wife and kids. I was always grateful to not be the recipient of that. That changed one day when he came storming out and told me he couldn’t hear his tv and enjoy his marijuana. I had erroneously assumed he had been appreciative of my cleaning off his driveway and apologized, telling him I’d no longer step foot on any of his property. But that wasn’t good enough for him, as he told me I had no business cleaning up the street around him either. Why I’ve done that is because all the debris tends to come from his direction and blow into the yards I maintain given how close all the houses are to each other in my neighborhood.

The very next time I cleaned the street up again, I was just about done when I heard over the music in my noise-cancelling headphones and the noise of the equipment I was using at the time, his angry voice shouting in my direction. I did my best to ignore him because honestly, the guys scares me. He carries guns, has been in fights before, lost jobs repeatedly due to his outbursts of anger, and always seems to be yelling at something. I tend to slink away from people like him in life, but this time for whatever the reason, I finally stood my ground. As he approached me and got in my face, I said I had every right to keep the street clean because it was public access, and I wasn’t hurting anyone. I verified that with the local police who informed me I only needed to respect the 9am to 8pm noise ordinance and not step foot on his property, neither of which had happened during this incident. He told me he was going to call the police and tell them I was disturbing the peace and said he was also going to get his hose and spray me and cut my electrical cords to my equipment if I did it again. I told him to do what he had to and that I was going to keep doing what I enjoyed doing. I told him to go pray and close his windows the next time I was outside doing my work, of which he responded angrily that I was a “total piece of sh$$” and walked away.

Deep down, I know this guy’s anger and bullying tactics isn’t really about me at all. Most bullies become that way because they were bullied themselves, usually by a parent growing up. I’m done catering to bullies and living in fear over people like him. I am going to continue doing my work outside, including cleaning up the street, because it’s not harming him or anyone, it’s just making me a magnet for him to project his own misery onto. That’s what bullies do and I’m truly grateful I finally stood up to one in my life and I plan on calling the police if this ever escalates again.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Author: Andrew Arthur Dawson

A teacher of meditation, a motivational speaker, a reader of numerology, and a writer by trade, Andrew Arthur Dawson is a spiritual man devoted to serving his Higher Power and bringing a lot more light and love into this world. This blog, is just one of those ways...

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