Everyone has that one person. You know who it is. The one who is always there to offer a mumbled-under-breath comment questioning your ability to do something. Why is it that we allow them to have so much power over us?
My person and I have had a mucky, bumpy past. She started out as someone who I thought was so far above me in rowing ability that I would never be able to call her a peer. I wasn’t even sure that she was in my year. She only spoke to those of similar athletic ability and intensity. My fellow novices and I dreamt of the day we would call her a friend. It was an unspoken challenge to spend the most time with her. At first, I couldn’t even imagine myself in the running for that “prize.”
I was finally fast. I was getting better and gaining the attention of the fastest rowers on the team. Before I knew it, I was inviting her to meals and spending quality time with someone who I began to call my friend. As soon as it started, it was over. A senior who had it out for me convinced her to hate me. She did little to object, and the bullying began.
I lost speed. Everything seemed at its worst in my third year at Smith. My closest friends were going abroad for a whole semester, leaving me with few to fall back on. She found herself an eager and aggressive first year to latch onto. Like a parasite looking for a host of negativity, she found strength in this union. This first year taught her new ways to put people down, and she did a great job making people like me feel bad about themselves.
I’m a captain, and she’s not. I have power and people listen to me. She is quiet which people assume is indicative of strength. Whether overtly or not, she is constantly trying to undermine my authority. I analyze her with my friends fairly regularly. She has no reason to be treating me this way, and she has made it clear she has no intention of changing. All of this time I spend complaining, investigating, and venting? It is time of my life I will never get back.
Power, power. I will never understand the way I let you hold it over me. Power, power. I let you have it too long, yes you had it too long.