Today started off as any other day. I sent out my CV to potential job opportunities (I was made redundant), had lunch and then decided to do my daily walk around town. It would always end at my local Waitrose (grocery store chain in the UK) where I would pick up a few necessities and then make my way to Costa Coffee where I would splurge and get my decaf peach iced tea. Yes, that is what I call splurging at the moment. This has been my routine, my world, for the last 2 months. A simple one. But today was not like any other day, today was the day I was called an uneducated C**t in an upscale grocery store.
I personally hate the ‘C’ word. Which is why I can’t even bring myself to write it down in this post. Yes, I have written swear words unapologetically before. But this one is something I can’t do. And the word carries a more loaded, heavier, vulgar connotation when it’s being easily flung by a man’s lips towards your direction. It becomes even weightier when you search into his eyes and know that if you were alone with him and not in a crowded store with witnesses, the scene would have ended in a very different way.
It all started as I was waiting in line to pay for my things. There was a man who was two people behind me talking. At first I thought he was talking to someone but then I realised that he was complaining about waiting in line. He started swearing and saying the staff were incompetent and other abusive nonsense. The woman behind me, who was much older than I, was getting agitated and a little fearful. As we waited he kept on saying these things under his breath but loud enough for his neighbouring line members to understand everything. The woman that was behind me left the line. And I simply had enough. So I turned to him and said ” We are all waiting and I know it sucks to wait but relax it will go by quick.” That was all I said. He paused turned to look at me and went in. “Mind your own fucking business, who the fuck are you. Mind your own fucking business.” I was not shocked at his response because I realised he was a man that was always itching for a fight no matter who it was with. I’m pretty sure that even a 90 year old defenceless woman would have felt his wrath had she dared to utter two words to him. So I turned around, without saying another word and went to the cashier to pay. Unfortunately now his rage was not directed at the staff but towards me.
As I was trying to pay he approached the cashier line and to my dismay he came to the next cashier closest to me and kept on spewing his venom in my direction. I finally said loudly ” Is this what you do? You start fights and verbally attack women?” And with that he paid, brushed right past me and said “shut the fuck up you uneducated C**T!!!” as he walked out the store. The hatred that he had for me was palpable. It was as if I had killed his own mother. It pored out of him easily, without remorse or embarrassment. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I allowed myself to become so flustered that my whole body started shaking uncontrollably. It took all my strength to try and get my Visa card into that thin slot and punch in the correct numbers. I was shaking because I saw red, I saw a man who was allowed to walk the streets and spew hatred everywhere he went and all I could think about was beating the shit out of that poor excuse of a human being. Obviously I would have lost because he was a built brainless gorilla, but I would have given it my all nonetheless.
For some reason it got to me. This exchange shook me and I think it was because an aggressively large man that was obviously holding onto a lot of repressed anger killed me with two words. I allowed those words to have meaning. I gave them power. But I later realised that I was most upset because my old self would have stood there in defiance. Would have taken it and not flinched and cried afterwards as she walked by herself towards home. I would have brushed it off and carried on without a care in the world. My old self would have held her ground in that grocery store. And that’s when I realised that somewhere along the way, I had lost myself. With all my health problems, and stress about money and finding a job and not having true support from friends or family it had all chipped away at me. All to the point of not being able to stand there and defend myself like I once knew how to do.
Granted if we were to replace the aggressive man with an aggressive woman then I’m pretty sure those words wouldn’t have stung so deep. Unfortunately it wasn’t. And unfortunately this man, didn’t know my backstory when we met on the battlefield. He didn’t know that I was suffering and trying to overcome my own demons. He didn’t know that I was a shell of the woman I once was. But even if he did I’m pretty sure he would have acted in the same manner. Because some people don’t care how they affect others. Some people just like to feel powerful and words can belittle a person’s soul even more so than a physical wound ever could. Words, if heard often enough can wither you down to the point of losing all self-worth. It’s funny because as I look back on my life, it has always been the words that I have remembered the most and not the physical altercations. And if you hear enough of them in your lifetime it becomes a constant battle to always remember that you are a human being who deserves love just like everyone else.
I don’t know the story behind the man with the vinegar tongue but I’m pretty sure it’s a sad one. I’m pretty sure his upbringing wasn’t the best. Equally, I’m almost certain that he had a male figure in his life that has passed on these vulgar tones of hatred in his soul; probably coupled with a mother who didn’t show him enough love as a child. I’ve seen people come from similar backgrounds who vow never to be like their predecessors. But alas, I don’t know his story so I won’t sit and ponder the what if’s of his youth. But somewhere along his lifeline, this man fell between the cracks and anger has been the fuel to aid his fire. All I feel, in this moment, is pity for him. That is the only thing I will allow myself to give to that man.
As for me, I will brush this off. I have brushed this off. But I’m sharing this because I wanted to express my sorrow for those who use words as a venomous weapon. Please choose your words wiser next time. Try and envision where your opponents shoe’s have been. Don’t be so quick to jump the gun and plough someone down without a care in the world. What we all need to do is start using words that hold the receiver’s best interests at heart. We need to be uplifting people. We need to educate children better in order for them to grow up and be caring individuals. And above all, we must be kind to one another at all times. We are not here on this planet for very long, wouldn’t you want your legacy to be that of a kind, giving and caring human being?
❤ ❤ ❤