The Time I Stood Up For Myself

Why the title is because I feel it’s appropriate. Not so long ago, I read  Mitch Albom’s book For One More Day. There, a number of pages were titled “Time I Stood Up for My Mother” and “Time I Didn’t Stand Up for My Mother.” Now this isn’t about my mother or anyone’s. Right now, I’m focusing on the standing up part, especially for yourself.

This is about standing up to bullies.

bullying-stops-here

STOP RIGHT THERE.

We’re adults now, not kids in a school yard. Unfortunately, bullying is a reality happening in the adult world, too. Not always, not everywhere we go, but yes, it does happen. Cyber bullying, bullying in the workplace, gender discrimination, the rich and powerful stomping on the poor and powerless…It’s just one big, messed up school yard for grown-ups. How do we learn life’s lessons the right way?

In Albom’s book, there were also pages titled “Time My Mother Stood Up for Me.” Guess what? Mom or Dad or Big Brother or Big Sister, they can’t anymore save us. Oh, boo-hoo! Again, we’re adults now. It’s time for us to really grow up and fight our own battles.

pych-test-for-work

Am I fit to work with?

Of course, there are times that we have to weigh things. Fight our own battles, but choose our battles wisely. I remember in the past that every time I took Psychological tests for work, I encountered the same tests several times and one question was of a situation-based hypothetical nature. It went something like this:

If you were in a line and somebody cut in front of you, what would you do?

Normally, and I experience this on a regular basis, I tell that someone nicely to go to the end of the line, nicely as long as s/he doesn’t try to weasel his/her way through crooked reasoning.

For the aforementioned question, however, I always chose the neutral answer. It wasn’t to play safe and not seem too aggressive for their taste, not even me being too much of a scaredy cat. My reasoning that could not be explained in the test itself was that I would have to first assess the situation–Would I simply talk to a gruff, dangerous-looking man, if ever? (of course, stereotypes aside) Would he look like someone I could logically talk to? What if he wouldn’t leave? What alternatives could be done?

You know, this is not cowardice. This is what we call self-preservation. If we can live with our decision (I mean that both literally and figuratively), then let’s live to fight another day. Meanwhile, there are big battles that may be dangerous as well yet we choose to fight. If it involves our own honor, would we do it?

workplace-bullying

Would you suck it all in to play safe or fight back?

So now we come to that part where you understand my title. Let me tell a story.

I used to belong to a group. Let’s just say a “grade school” to protect identities (as I mean no harm; I still respect the “school” and the great people I met there) and for an easier analogy. Let’s suppose the school had different “branches” in various locations, some very far. In one, I was a “teacher” who was lucky to have been instrumental in giving our “students” opportunity to gain “scholarships” to a prestigious “high school.” It was our second year in the partnership with the said high school. The “School Superintendent” (SS) gave me the task again to coordinate with the other branches for a smooth scholarship application flow. Naturally, I did my job long before the deadline set by the high school. Months after months passed and I had to keep reminding the branches about the requirements.

deadline-near

Can you make it?

Deadline near, we came up with only one student from a far-away branch (Branch 1) who decided she would try. The branch sent the requirements on time and arranged for her travel; she was to be accompanied by a teacher from that branch. Meanwhile, another branch (Branch 2, which was not that far) contacted me too late and I had to ask the high school’s representative if it would be possible to still accept the application. The representative said he would be on leave for a week, the same week of the exams, but if we could send the complete requirements by the certain date he mentioned, there would be no problem. He would inform the high school guards to let the second student in.

I communicated this information to Branch 2, told them it would be faster if they directly sent the complete requirements themselves. Needless to say, they agreed and when I followed up, one of the Branch 2 teachers in charge of taking care of the matter said they were able to talk to the representative and things were set. So I was happy until the day of the exam. Well, the Branch 1 student and her teacher, M, arrived a day before and we two teachers hit it off, talking like we were old friends.

So anyway, the day of the exam came. We went to the high school and there we met the Branch 2 student and her two male teachers, J and W. I knew J because he worked for sometime in Branch 1 and choreographed dances for us as well. W, I knew through my phone interactions regarding the scholarship, plus he was the fiance of R, whom I met personally before and liked. I was sincerely glad to see them. The problem was the guards wouldn’t let Branch 2 in. Mr. Representative did not include the name of their student. We all had to go to the Admissions Office to clear this up but we couldn’t do anything about it and were just told to have the child take her exams after two months instead.

Now, it was very unfortunate but what could we do? I just smiled at the guys and said we’d just have to come back in February then since the representative wasn’t there. They went back home. That was a Sunday. Then I had the worst week after. I got this email from the Branch 2 “Principal” (I changed names, several terms and phone numbers, you understand. Otherwise, everything is in verbatim. Forgive his grammar):

Dear Gi,

Last December 13, Student 2 is scheduled to take her entrance exams in the High School, together with a child from Branch 1, as part of our partnership with the High School Scholarship Grant. She went there and was accompanied by my teachers but, of course, as you knew earlier, Student 2’s name was not on the list. We have talked with Mr. Representative of the Grant Office and told our teacher that he already told your office last week that Student 2’s examination will be re-scheduled. You did not inform us immediately and even upon seeing Student 2 and the teachers in the High School you did not inform them too. You just asked them who they were and told them to just go home.

Thus, I would like to inform your office that Branch 2 will directly communicate with Mr. Representative of the High School Students Grant Office for Branch 2’s exams and other requirements. We will just furnish you a copy of our communications. However, if Mr. Representative still course the communications to you, kindly forward it immediately to our branch. Our phone number is _________ or fax _________.

I hope such classic miscommunications between the branch and your office will be eliminated. And kindly accord a little respect or courtesy with our teachers. They too are working hard for our students.

I remain

Most sincerely,

B.

Say WHAT???!!! Were those teachers talking to my doppelganger? Were we in the same location that Sunday? ‘Cause I didn’t remember anything about treating them badly. I texted this to the Branch 1 teacher and she was so surprised, saying “I was there! When did that ever happen???”

Well, only one thing came to mind: those teachers messed up and made up all those lies to the Principal who was probably all too happy to finally put me in trouble. He didn’t like me in the first place because I only did my job in the past and several times, it so happened, he wanted to do something different from what I advised. No problem for me, I just thought that at least I did my job and it was always up to him to decide. As a sign of respect, I ALWAYS apologized if ever he found anything I said or did offensive, and he always said it was just alright. Now a lot of people had warned me how totally vindictive the guy was and then there it was, the PROOF. He emailed his concern to me AND copy-furnished the School Superintendent!

That would have been acceptable had he simply copy-furnished my direct superior first, my “Department Head,” and let her find out my side of the story. There were several people he could have thought of first of informing before the SS. I clearly saw it as a way to humiliate me, maybe even get me fired. Or maybe scare me even, say sorry for something I didn’t even do. Well, guess what? He wanted transparency, I gave him one. I wasn’t going to be bullied this way. Enough was ENOUGH! I sent him a reply AND copy-furnished the SS. Why would I be scared for something or things they claimed I did but I know I didn’t do?

Dear Mr. B.,

First of all, I would like to correct the following:

(1) Mr. Representative DID NOT say that there was to be a re-scheduling. Our understanding was both Branch 2 and Branch 1 could send directly to him, through LBC, the missing requirements. He could wait even until the week before the exam so that the kids could take the exam on December 13. I specifically told your office/staff to communicate directly to him as well so that it would be faster. On December 9, Ms. Another-Branch2-Teacher texted me this (and it’s still in my cellphone): “Good evening, Ms. Gi. W already contacted the guy in the High School and they have already made an arrangement.” [Ed. Quote translated from FilipinoIt was sent using text lingo, so I just spelled out all the words here. When I saw W and J, they told me that Mr. Representative told them that they could simply get the permit from the guard if they already completed the requirements. That was also what they told the person at the Admissions Office. So that person said Student 2 will have to take the exam in February instead. Monday morning, Mr. Representative contacted me and said the requirements only reached him THAT MORNING. I also texted your staff about this information and said to please contact Mr. Representative. All my text messages and emails and the messages sent to me are in my cellphone so if you would like to check, Sir, feel free to check, Sir.

(2). “You just asked them who they were.” I didn’t just ask them who they were as if I didn’t know them. I said, “What are your names again?” because as a human being, I am prone to forget names even if, for instance, J had already choreographed our dances several times. I even laughed a bit out of embarrassment because I forgot.

“…and told them to just go home.” I was not being crass and saying that I “told them to just go home” makes it sound like I dismissed them or that I didn’t care. Neither. I couldn’t do anything more about it either especially since the High School person involved, Mr. Representative, was not there. He already told us that that was why he said we could simply get the permit from the guard. Branch 1 got theirs.

(3) “I hope such classic miscommunications between the branch and your office will be eliminated.” This is also my hope. However, I don’t think it was my fault.

(4) “And kindly accord a little respect or courtesy with my teachers. They too are working hard for our students.” I do not know if this is what they said to you but when we were talking and parted ways, we were in good terms. I have never undermined them. It is not my place and I do not think of myself that highly as well. For one, I liked J. We were not friends but we were chummy, at least. I also like R and as we know, she is W’s girlfriend. I have always treated co-workers with respect be they janitors, teachers, bosses, etcetera.

Sir, it is good that you care for your children and your staff. But if you could also kindly accord me a little respect and courtesy the way you do them, it will be very much appreciated. If it is my fault – and I’m not saying it is Branch 2’s – I would apologize. I have always apologized to you, Sir. But this time, please allow me not to apologize. I realize that this might get me on your bad side but there is nothing I can do as I know in my heart what happened.

Thank you.

Gi

After that, B emailed a simple, one-line apology, and not even copy-furnishing the SS But I doubted everything about that apology. He had done that to me, too, so many times. I think I replied with a thank you, the SS getting a copy. The funny-in-a-not-so-ha-ha thing was I got to exchange private messages with W in Facebook. He vehemently denied doing anything wrong and insisted that everything was my fault. Actually, my comments were just as formal but stinging as my email to their Principal. I couldn’t believe W would have the gall to even deny lying. Supposed there was a miscommunication (and I still would be sure it would not have been my fault considering how much I tried to do the job well), that would have to do with inter-office relations. What I didn’t and still don’t understand were the blatant lies they said about my supposed behavior towards them at the High School. Wow. Self-denial, anyone?

no-to-bullying

Start acting like the grown-ups we are supposed to be!

Maybe some would think I was foolish to do this. Maybe I was. Maybe that was suicidal. But could I live with myself knowing I just let people murder my character?

I realize that as a person trying to be better now, this probably does not show that I am even trying. But with bullying getting worse in this world and not anymore confined in school and exclusive to kids, I think this should serve as a reminder that yes, we should choose our battles well, but there is a difference between being wise and being a sorry pushover.

Copyright © 2014 J.Gi Federizo

*All images from the net and linked to sources

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I shared this because some people who had been victims of an online bully came out in the open. I thought it would be good to share my own bully-story, just to say that we shouldn’t give bullies the power over us. Do you have your own bully-story? We won’t mind if you share it in a comment or provide a link to it from your blog 🙂

‘VICIOUS,’ ‘VERITAS’

Two reasons why I posted these:

(1) Scottishmomus inspired me to post

(2) aliceatwonderlands post

snake-eyes

VICIOUS

Vicious

tongues

wag

venomous

tales.

Some

twisted

deepened

sharpened

played

better left

untold,

better kept

forgotten.

When Malice

sets truth

free,

what is

to sow?

who is

to reap?

why plant

old seeds?

why harvest

the wilted?

Suddenly,

TRUTH

is but

a concept

caged

in false

freedom,

uttered

by false

gods.

Copyright © September 2009-2014 J.Gi Federizo

blind-lady-justice-balance

VERITAS

When the mind draws a blank…

do you start with a clean slate?

is it an unfathomable darkness?

are traces left to be solved?

are details kept 

in the deepest recesses

of your soul? 

do you continue to look?

do you brave the darkness?

do you solve the puzzle?

do you dig 

through, thoroughly,

your own self?

And yet why seek reason?

Truth maybe changed,

twisted, erased 

in the hands of Man.

Real Truth is what

is indelibly written

by God’s hands.

Copyright © May 2011-2014 J.Gi Federizo

 

Well, lookie here! My WordPress Blog Report!

This blog is not popular or anything and will probably remain so in a long time, but I am still happy for 2013’s improvement from 2012. Makes me keep on blogging. Thanks to all the peeps who had been a part of my 2013 blogging journey! 😀

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Loneliness Generation

I am a homebody at heart, no matter how much I like to hang out with friends for some tete-a-tete or some serious, deep conversations, I value my alone-time a lot. But there’s a difference between being alone by choice where you can be happy accompanying yourself, and being lonely in the middle of a crowd. I have to say I have not been that immune to that kind of loneliness. Perhaps, no one is. This article shares my and most people’s sentiments…Thanks to the author, Catherine Bennett, BTW 🙂

Resolutions for That Necessary Lifestyle Change V.2

I must say, this one, big-planning thing has worked out for me…Here I am again, getting back in the Resolutions game. Why not? Like I always say, what is wrong with trying to be a better person? Isn’t that what resolutions are about? I don’t want to think of myself as a quitter; resolutions are not for quitters. You try and try until you solve a problem or issue. You resolve. You don’t resolve what’s already solved, just like you don’t fix what is not broken.

Quoting from last year’s post, I still believe in resolutions, despite my unexpected downward progress after (although how that can be called as progress, I don’t know). As a whole, to be honest, I am disappointed at the way I lived and handled my 2013 especially at the latter part. Then again, New Year is always the perfect time to turn over a new leaf once more, isn’t it?

So without further ado, here’s my updated New Year’s Resolutions list, what I call “Resolutions for That Necessary Lifestyle Change”:

yin-yang-cycle

1. Less bad temper, more understanding (read: don’t be too sensitive!), less bossy attitude. My bad temper really lessened a lot, so I hope I can still lessen it more, if not completely rid of it. There were still some little outbursts here and there. I really should work on understanding people more, too. I am a bit confused on whether I achieved that last year or not because on the one hand, I know I was more understanding, ergo, the temper improvement. On the other hand, I became sensitive at the latter part of the year, so much so that it negatively affected my overall view of things and of myself. That tells me I still lacked a lot in that department. I was the one who suffered most anyway, so if I can fix that great character flaw, it would be like hitting two birds–others and myself–with one stone. 

Less bossy attitude: I achieved that last year. Time now to polish.

2. Less unhealthy foods. This was last year: “Translates to (a) less fat so less red meat and eating at least white meat as alternative, (b) more fruits, veggies and fibers, (c) minimal sugar, and (d) avoidance of carcinogens as much as possible.” A, check, but work on it more. B, check, but work on it more. C,…with sweet treats at work, this is becoming difficult. But okay, it is admittedly manageable. So carry on, soldier! D, check…I think. Won’t hurt to carry on, too, right?

I am trying to be a vegetarian, to be truthful, but this is super-difficult! Will take it one year at a time.

3. More stretching and exercise! EPIC. FAIL. I tried once in a blue moon. The effort was obviously half-baked–no–QUARTER-baked! I think I even got worse. So I’m gonna try again while I’m still alive. Besides, I’m really gonna need to work on the body. According to Feng Shui, this year isn’t going to be a good one for me health-wise. Now, while I am not really a fan of Feng Shui, I think it’s always great advice to tell people to live healthier. It’s all common sense, really. If something rings right, it’s never wrong to try.

Sometime in the first parts of 2013, the office peeps were doing regular exercise breaks at 3pm. More than a year before, we even had weekly badminton sessions after work. I’ll try to push for these again. Why not, right? It’s always more fun when everyone’s in on the fun. Uh, you get what I mean.

4. More sports. Back to Muay Thai? I wanted to go all the way back. but there were certain factors that prevented me from sticking to it. I’ll try when those factors have become manageable. Besides, I can still somehow do this with the exercises I learned.

Arnis/kali? Much as I want to learn it, I cannot afford exclusive sessions right now. On Sundays, they do free lessons at Rizal Park, which is in Manila. Unfortunately, Sundays are always home-time in the province, often spent for doing laundry, doing some clean up, writing, net-surfing, reading, and even alone-time with my special someone (sometimes with his two kids as well…Imagine I’ve got three rowdy boys with me. Of course, I’m going to be busy). Meanwhile, the Ninjutsu class my friends and I were hoping for did not push through, as far as we know. Too bad. Oh well, maybe I wouldn’t be able to afford that, too. Ugh.

There are other sports to try, anyway. For instance, running. Some people in the office have taken to after-work jogging/running (even some of my housemates) and there are those who have actually joined fun runs. Not sure if I can join any fun run immediately, but I can try the regular jogging/running. Well, at least every Wednesday and/or Thursday. I am often too tired on Mondays. I attend a regular thing on Tuesdays. Fridays, I go home.

Hopefully, I can make it a habit. *crosses fingers*

5. More writing. I’d like to give myself a pat on the back. I think, compared to recent years, 2013 brought back the old writer-me. Okay, there were still lapses, but again, some things, I could not totally control. I am just happy I am writing again. With this blog, I move forward. I will try to write as much as possible. I probably won’t get ‘Freshly Pressed’ here anytime soon, maybe never, but anyhoo.

6. More reading. Done! Now all I gotta do is to keep at it. Maybe I should instead say “Finish up more books and quit procrastinating.” While I have read more this year, there were lots of books I didn’t finish. So this year, I plan on finishing them.

7. Proper budgeting. “…So here’s to scrimping coupled with lots of prayers.” Now here’s to MORE scrimping coupled with lots of prayers. Won’t hurt to try to save up again, no matter how lost the cause was last year, which posed a lot of challenges that caused me to fail this goal. It was practically beyond my control, needless to say.

Now apparently, there were/are people who grudgingly believe(d) I had more than I claimed i did, but I can’t do anything about that anymore. I WISH they were right ’cause at least, there’s going to be moolah. I think this will just boil down to Goal #1, to my being more understanding of others because sometimes, it’s not up to me to fix what’s broken especially if it’s not mine to fix to begin with. Never mistake understanding to being a pushover, however. I have my own life to live.

8. More humility. “I will always remember what I wrote in my previous post.” Ditto this year.

9. More kindness. I think I lacked self-kindness last year. So this year, I’m going to work on that.

10. Regain my ‘original nature’. It’s really a personal thing and cannot be simply explained. One thing I was made to realize last year was that everyone has his/her own inevitable karma and it’s up to that individual to break any bad karma by self-reflection, -realization and -repentance. No one can do it for him/her but the self.

So there you go! My list for this year. And last year, too, only updated. I know there are people who would rather not do resolutions because the promises would be broken anyway. Forgive me, but I think it’s a defeatist way of seeing things. Instead of saying “I can’t,” why not at least say “I’ll try”? Strive for a Better You!

“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty” (Lao TzuTao Te Ching). 

Meanwhile, to our Chinese friends, Advance…

Chinese New Year Greeting...Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

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So may I ask the perennial question we ask every time the year starts? DO YOU BELIEVE IN NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? Kindly take the poll, it won’t take much of your time. Do you have any comments? You are so welcome. Write away! Do you have your own list already? Why not share to us and link to it?…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!