When you let yourself down as a person.

Being a human is hard. But do you know what’s even harder? Being a decent human and not let yourself down. It’s really easy to…


Being a human is hard. But do you know what’s even harder? Being a decent human and not let yourself down.

It’s really easy to tell what’s right and what’s wrong. We’re taught about being a good person doing and the right thing as we grow up. We watch movies and read books where the evil Queen’s lose and the bitchy popular girl ends up with no friends.

It’s all around us.

We know not to bully, we know not to spread hate, we know not to gossip, we know not to laugh at people who are weak. We know not to take advantage of others.

But when you find yourself in a situation where you’re influenced by others, or fueled by emotions, things can become unclear.

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One time when I was 15, I had a job as a waitress in a restaurant. When I first joined, the chef was awful to me. She scared the living daylights out of me. She knew I was scared of her so she would talk to me like shit and ask me to do awful things. She was on a power trip fueled by my fear. The smirk on her face is something I’ll never forget. I was petrified of going to work and wanted to cry when I left. I felt like everyone hated me.

Then a new girl started. This new girl was so bad at her job and spent a lot of her shift in the toilets on her phone. I remember one Saturday the two of us were working and I was picking up all the work as she kept sneaking off. It got to the point where the manager got us together and divided the restaurant in half so we had a fair amount of tables each.

After around 45 minutes, all her tables were dirty and I had to speak to the manager to ask if I could clear away the dirty plates as it looked a mess. After a few weeks, we had given her the nickname of Chipless as one time we sent her up to get some chips and she couldn’t find them, even though there was a freezer full of them. We would laugh behind her back when she made mistakes and roll our eyes at our stupidity.

We would take delight in telling the manager how something was her fault, how she made mistakes.

If I was to live by morals and how I had been brought up, if I was to be the hero in a fairy tale, I would have acted differently.

I would have recognised good from bad and not laughed at her behind her back. I wouldn’t have patronised her when I spoke to her and I would have smiled, asked how her weekend had been. But I didn’t.

I didn’t because I was fueled by my emotions. I was fuelled by my annoyance of having to pick up extra work. But not only that.

I was fueled by acceptance.

I was no longer the one getting bullied. I was included in the jokes. I felt popular (finally) and over-confident.

That’s what humans do. They often bond over a mutual dislike or dislike of one person who seems to be the scapegoat so everyone else can feel loved.

It’s really nice to feel accepted.

You feel confident. Too confident.

To the point where you turn into a really nasty piece of work. To the point where you can be egging others on to do something awful. Say something mean to her, go on. Play a joke on her, go on. It will be funny.

We’ve dehumanised this person of all emotions and filled the void with anger and hate.

I forgot how awful I felt when I first started. The pounding in my chest as I walked up to the building. How I trembled when the chef came near me and how every time my manager walked towards me, I was sure I had done something wrong. How I cried on the bus home and felt trapped and hopeless.

It wasn’t until my manager caught wind of what was going on. She said to someone ‘Most of all, I’m really surprised at Corinne’.

When I heard that, my heart sank.

I went from feeling confident to feeling small and ashamed.

I’ve never felt so disappointed in myself. That was the first time I had let myself down as a person.

It’s really easy to get caught up in it all and sometimes you need to be knocked back down and grounded. Because if we’re unable to control ourselves and stop ourselves from being disgraceful people, we deserve to feel like shit.

Do you have a similar story?

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  1. This is a delicate subject. It’s not easy to be bullied, but it’s harder to accept at one point you were the bully. I’m not sure I was in this situation, I made fun of colleagues at school, but we were all making fun at each other and not so much it was really bothering someone. But, after reading your post… it made me think, did I ever crossed a line and actually hurt someone? I hope I didn’t, but I’m not as sure as I was yesterday.

  2. I was bulllied at primary school. Sometimes my big sister could stop it but a lot of the time she couldn’t and I felt like the lowest of the low. When I got the chance to call names at another kid I did it and I felt big and brave and wonderful. He was, as they said then, in the seventies, a ‘cripple’. Two years later he was in a wheelchair and he died when he was 12; my mum said his parents were lucky to have him that long. It’s painful to remember even though it was 46 years ago.

  3. I’m ashamed to say that I was definitely this girl. I was teased a lot growing up and instead of standing up to them, I joined in when they were mean to others because I was just glad they weren’t picking on me. Now I would say something without hesitation.

  4. I think we all have those moments where we do something without thinking that we regret later. It’s a good thing when we learn from our mistakes though!
    I’ll never forget the time I was laughing and joking with some people I didn’t know very well, and I was feeling thrilled I seemed to be making new friends. They had a joke that I tried to get in on and evidently it was a personal in-joke and I really upset the girl I directed it too. So much that she cried. Then I cried because I upset her so much and really didn’t think what I had said would be taken as anything other than funny, we had all been laughing just before. The teacher had to get involved, poor guy with two sobbing girls trying to understand what happened! In the end he just separated where we sat. She didn’t speak to me for the rest of high school and I felt so bad…especially because to this day I don’t see how it was offensive! I really misread the situation. I tend not to make jokes unless I know people really well now. really learned my lesson.

  5. Oh my I have a story pretty much EXACTLY like this – when I worked in a cafe my boss was awful to me when I started and I dreaded going to work every weekend because I knew she’d make me want to cry. When I’d been there a few months a new girl started and my boss turned the hate onto her instead and started being nice to me. I was so happy that she wasn’t being horrible to me anymore that I didn’t give the new girl a fair chance at all – luckily I got the chance to make it up to her!
    Amy xx

  6. Wow that was quite the learning experience. But have experienced similar situations and seen similar, and yes it is kind of human, they have done tests with toddlers it is in our DNA, so it is kind of our mission while on this planet to rise above our DNA.

    Allie of ALLIENYC

  7. We were really mean to our German and Music teachers at secondary school in year 10 and I feel so guilty about it now. They were nice, hardworking people. I wish I could say sorry now.x

  8. Thank you for sharing this Corinne. I have quite a few similar stories, though for me they’re often things I said that slipped out when I was particularly upset or angry, and of course they found their way back to the people in question. It’s really hard to explain your way out of it then, though I think those words have haunted me longer than those I was referring to. I wish I had been strong enough at the time to accept my actions, own up to them and really apologise; instead I just wanted to hide away out of shame. It’s not easy to accept these actions of ourselves and it’s brave to write about the on a public forum – thank you.
    Lx | Lightly We Go

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