42/365: Turned sour

Yesterday I stayed out later than I had anticipated.
It was a good night.
Good drinks and good food with a friend.
A fun hockey game.

Then on my way home, I had to take the bus back.
Usually, it’s fine. Usually nothing happens.
But as I went to my bus stop, I noticed a group of teenagers.
Snickering, laughing, imitating.
An older man that was waiting for the bus.
I thought, “wow, this is trouble waiting to happen. These teenagers need to grow up and this man needs to turn around so that he doesn’t face them and remove himself from the situation.”
And I guess, none of them were thinking on the same line as me.
Eventually the man got annoyed and went up to them asked, “what are you laughing at?”
This just caused trouble.
And I froze.
I should have done something. But I didn’t.
I hate that I didn’t do anything.
I froze. Out of all the things I could have done, I froze.
I so badly wanted to do something because it’s something I am so passionate about.
I am so passionate about standing up for people and standing up for myself.
But that night, I did neither one of those.
I was a bystander.

I should have done something earlier, before it reached that point.
I should have talked to the man and showed concern.
Maybe it would have stopped it.
Maybe it would have stopped the teenagers from laughing at him.

When the man went up to them and asked, things escalated and physical.
I wanted to get in the middle of it, but I was scared for my own self.
I am no stranger to bullying and abuse.
I have had my fair share of verbal attacks on me for being a minority.
I didn’t want to face those harsh negative stereotype words again.
I thought, “wow, if I was white, maybe I would have been less fearful to get in between them.”
But the teenagers were at least 5 years younger than me.
Granted I do look younger.
I look like I’m about 18 years old.
So that kept me away.
Afraid that they won’t find me intimidating because I look young and timid.
And what would they have done?
Make fun of me, at the most?
Pretty sure they wouldn’t have laid a finger on me, because god knows that I have a bad temper, a bad mouth, and a worse punch.

I should have done something.

I am so sorry.

But another girl got in between them.
I think she might have been my age? Or maybe a year or two older, at most. But who knows.
The courage in her, radiated.
Next time, it’ll be my turn.
But hope that there won’t a next time.

I am so sorry.
I am sorry for all the people that are abused and bullied.
I am sorry that people are too scared to stand up for you.
I am sorry that I was one of those people.
I am sorry.
Because I would have been outraged if that happened to someone close to me.
I would have been outraged if that happened to my mom, my dad, or my brother.
And then I started to think back to all the times that my mom suffered through mockery and shame. How people have made fun of her for her English. How I have made fun of her for her English. How she is still a constant victim of stereotypes and judgements from people. How she is a victim because people find it easy to pick on her. To pick her apart.
No one deserves that. It mades me so mad, but most times all I do is cry.
People pick on others who can’t stand up for themselves.
People bring others down to feel better about themselves.
I hate how this is the society we have come to.
I hate how immature people are and how they aren’t educated properly.
I hate how there is a lack of awareness.
I hate…

I keep thinking back to that moment.
I should have done something.
Why didn’t I do anything?
Scared of retaliation.
Maybe if I was with a friend, I would have been more inclined to do something.
Maybe if I had support?
Who would have sided with me if I got involved?
Power in number.
I had none that night.
Maybe the public would have been more willing to get involved if someone else did first.
But I saw it there and then.
How people formed away with enough distance.
To see, to hear.
We are a society of bystanders.
We allow these things to happen on the daily.
I just want to support them. Stand with them.
So here is my pledge to stand up.
We all need to pledge to stand up.
Life is no walk in the park, and we don’t need to make it any more difficult for people.
The people we pick on are the people who are already have a more difficult life.
The people who pick on other people are troubled.

I am sorry.

It’s unsettling that I became a bystander when I thought that I never would.
I have played many scenarios in my mind where I am able to help people, but the world is a scary place.

As a visible minority, I do endure a lot of societal rejection.
My father and mother’s experiences only worse than mine.
My brother, working so hard for what he wants to do. To build himself into a better person, a stronger person.
Because we have to be strong.
To stand.
To support.

I can’t help but continuously feel guilty.
I want to help, but how do I help when I am scared?

Here’s to holding myself up high.
Here’s to confidence.
Here’s to acceptance.

Here’s to us.
To you.
From me.


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