Still waters

Okay, so I know I went off on one but last time.

My apologies.

Vampires don’t exactly have anger issues (apart from those associated with the inherent ADHD) but sometimes humans do annoy us a little. I bet that’s a shock, isn’t it? I’d say I was pulling your leg, but you might worry I was going to pull it off and eat it, to misquote Butcher Beynon from Under Milk Wood (I’m surprised this didn’t AutoCorrect his name to Beyoncé!) As I’ve said before, I love to read.

Or have I said that before?

Oh well, my memory…

Anyway, last time I was complaining about somebody complaining. I will now try to redress the balance by saying something positive that I overheard. It was another family of tourists who had come to visit the universe’s favourite corner of the Earth (aka my hometown).
It was a comment that made me really appreciate the beauties of nature and my surroundings.
“Everything is so green here.” he said, with a note of awed wonder in his voice.

Of course it is. This is Wales. It’s constantly raining.

Well, perhaps not constantly but clearly enough to irrigate the spectacular greenness of the local area. I have a Weather app on my phone that tells me the percentage chance of it raining. I have discovered since moving here that anything over 5% in theory equates to 100% in reality.

Which brings me to one myth that I have never mentioned before. To wit, the myth about vampires hating running water. As with most myths, there is a nugget of truth in this as I shall explain.

Vampires like myself have a deep respect for nature. We know it’s not mucking about. Let’s face it, when you’ve been around long enough to see a house built in a field near the sea, watch the field turn into a cliff and then watch that house fall off the edge, then you have a pretty good idea.

It’s not like with humans who see a couple of talking lion cubs in a cartoon and think that lions are all cute little kitties. Cue disaster story on the news of person being eaten by hungry lion.

Fact: if water is running somewhere, then you can be pretty sure there’s going to be some other stuff going on at some point.

Fancy dicing with that?

Now, I’m lucky. I’m one of the few vampires that learnt to swim. You see, swimming lessons generally tend to be during the day. This can be problematic for some vampires.
Rivers deep enough to swim in tend to have undercurrents. The sea can be rough. Don’t listen to any singing lobsters.

In light of this, I just happen to be very good at holding my breath. I have the bullies at school to partly thank for that. As a side note, I’m also a whizz at pulling sink plugs out with my teeth. Yes, it comes back to the teeth again.

Also: if you’re stuck out at sea, there’s not a great deal of shade available out in the middle of the Atlantic, say.

So you see, if a vampire doesn’t like running water, there’s sure to be a good reason for it.

Ever seen a vampire on an Olympic swim team? Probably not.

Or have you????

Re:Fuel

Serious post time.

Bullying.

Harassment.

Call it what you will. It takes many forms. I’ve been reading up on all this a lot recently – surprise, surprise and while there’s a lot of stuff out there on bullying, it’s still mostly school-oriented. I observe it everywhere. I may be a recluse, but I still like to sneak out and people-watch. The problem is, it doesn’t stop when you leave school. There is no age limitation on being a bully. Or on being bullied. There is still very little is about bullying in the workplace or within families – even with recent events. ‘Straightforward’ harassment / abuse, yes, but not much else.

So, what have I gleaned from my research and my own observations? It’s like that story of the three people in the dark room with an elephant… One feels the leg, thinks it’s a tree. One feels the trunk, thinks it’s a snake (he may have been the one who ran screaming to find the light switch), while one feels the tail and thinks it’s a rope.

I’ve realised that all these little snippets of information form a cycle. I suppose it’s also relevant to continued bullying in general. All of these little snippets feel like platitudes until you link them all up…

1) You’re kind/pleasant to the bully.

2) The bully mistakes this for weakness.

3) The bully tries to control you (and hopefully fails).

4) The bully realises they can’t (hopefully).

5) Then follows abuse, lies, misrepresentation, manipulation of how others see you.

6) There’s a break.

7) Reconciliation of some sort.

8/1) You’re kind/pleasant to the bully.

AND OFF WE GO AGAIN

And that’s only if you’re lucky. Sometimes the process ‘succeeds’ (for the bully) at step 3). Usually the target cracks at that step. If they’re lucky /strong / have support, the targeted person may get to step 4). If you don’t have support, then please, please, please find some.

The difference being that hopefully the bullied person learns and either stops the cycle at 6) or changes themselves before they re-enter the fray because, let’s face it, the bully will never learn. They’ve been way too successful for way too long to stop using a winning formula. Plus, if an outsider calls them out on their behaviour, all it takes is a few crocodile tears and they’re safe again.

Sadly, for my own part, I realise that most of the major changes in my life have come about as a result of being bullied… Leaving my home country (twice), becoming a first-time homebuyer, leaving a profession (the same one – twice)…

And why does it keep happening? Because of step 1). Does that mean we take it out of the equation? No. Let’s face it – bullies won’t change. I mean, why would they? They’ve got a winning formula.

So…

You say to yourself…

If the bully/harasser isn’t going to change what they are or what they do, then I’m not going to change what I am (let’s face it, I personally wouldn’t be able to). But I do need to change what I do.

So stop the process at 6). Don’t go to 7). Let them try doing a little of 1) for a change. But it’s quite safe, because we all know they won’t. They won’t ‘lower’ themselves to ‘your level’. They’re too proud / powerful. They have too many people already in their pocket to make it worthwhile. And you can always tell who those people are – they’re the ones who say things like:

“Surely it’s not as bad as that?”

“I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”

“I think you’re overreacting.”

“Well, you’re not exactly perfect, you know.”

“Ignore them, they’ll soon get bored.”

“Well, I’ve never found X to be like that at all.”

“Some christian you are. Aren’t you supposed to forgive /l ove everyone / turn the other cheek?”

“It takes two to tango.”

But, whatever you do…

DON’T STAY SILENT.

Does it take guts? Undoubtedly.

But is it possible? Heck, yeah.