I’m not the kind of guy to get involved in high school drama. However, today, it happened. I won’t go into detail, though you can combine Glee (without the music) and Gossip Girl (without the attractive men) and you’re pretty much there.
Also, I ended up crying in a bathroom stall.
But this post isn’t about high school drama. Because that stuff is boring and brainless and I actually would feel guilty for going in-depth about it when there are people like this guy out there. This post is about something I learned in school today.
I used to think that being a nice guy protected me. Not in a “I’m going to use fake niceness as a shield so I won’t get hurt”, but I always believed that because of my kindness, and because of my truthfulness, I would receive that type of treatment in return. After all, isn’t that how karma works? The good guy always gets the girl and the rewards and the respect, while the bad guy goes to cry in a corner without any friends
sort of like me.
But that’s not how life works. Bad things happen to good people. Gay kids don’t choose to commit suicide because of something they’ve done wrong, it’s the people who are intolerant and unaccepting of them that cause their decision. The Jews weren’t massacred because they themselves made a mistake, they were exterminated because of Hitler’s horribly extreme racism and violence. In The Grapes of Wrath, the Joads don’t leave their land because they want to, they leave their land because of the changing environment, something completely out of their control.
Maybe that’s why I was so upset today. When I was in that stall, using toilet paper to collect my tears, I thought to myself “Why me? I haven’t done anything wrong. Why is this happening to me?” Afterward, I even wrote a teenage-angst-filled poem, complete with melodramatic pathos and maudlin phrasing. I felt like Heathcliff, minus the hotness.
About an hour later, I experienced an epiphany.
The world is generally good. People do possess compassion and kindness and the ability to care. However, there are people who will do malicious, mean things, just because they can – and they will get away with it. And there will be other people who will always do the right thing, and then get caught by a circumstance outside of their control – and suffer, even when they shouldn’t.
And my epiphany was this: Being the bigger person isn’t easy. Doing the right thing can be (excuse my language) damn hard – especially when you do the right thing, and life still decides to screw you over. But you know what? Life isn’t fair. It never is, and it never will be. But it’s up to you (and in my case, me) to be the better person and to stick to your values. If I do the right thing, and others still oppose that, then that’s too bad. At least I’ll be able to sleep that night. If I fight for my beliefs, and lose something else in the process, then oh well. At least I’ll be able to say I stayed true to myself.
Atticus Finch – my number one inspiration, right next to Harper Lee – defended Tom Robinson despite how the entire town of Maycomb believed him to be guilty. He stood up for what was right, and even though he didn’t win the court case, he was able to walk away knowing that he had tried his hardest to be the bigger person. And in that regard, he succeeded.
Thoughts? Anyone have any similar experiences? Sorry for this post’s disorganization and spur-of-the-moment writing style, I had no intention of writing this until after I got home today. Now I have to start my homework… with less than four hours until midnight… wish me luck!