I don't know if there is ever a time when intimidation is wholly good. Maybe there is; maybe sometimes it is necessary. However, this post focuses on the only intimidation I have ever experienced; it is one that makes my heart sink and makes me feel very little and quite nervous. I want to outline the ways in which I have experienced this, in the hope it shows just how horrible and potentially dangerous it is.
I began thinking about this post when I was walking on the pavement next to a main road. I was dressed in my running clothes; shorts and a t-shirt (details which may or may not be relevant to what happened). That day my foot began to hurt and so I stopped running, and walked home. A minibus of 20+ year old males (obviously wanting to succumb to this "lad" nature which in this case made me think very badly of them), with the bus windows down, jeered and shouted out the window, raising their fists and punching the air as they stared at me. My first thought was, these-guys-are-embarrassing-me-and-being-cruel. So my first thought was that they were pointing out something negative about me. Why would you want to inflict such thoughts upon someone, especially when I am likely to never have any confirmation of why they felt the need to do it? Whether the intention was there or not, what they achieved was making me not know why they did it, leaving me questioning it. Ultimately, the whole act is so uncool. Whenever I experience similar situations, I hate it. There is this stupid assumption that things like this are nothing but compliments to girls- that we love the attention. I don't believe there is anything wrong if that is the case but I personally despise it. Being in the spotlight as I am going about my daily business is awkward and humiliating and I feel nothing but frustration that anyone feels the need to pick someone - or a group of people - and put them in the spotlight. For one thing, I simply don't know how to respond. Is that fair? No, of course not. Moral of the story: Focus on the road.
These kinds of acts - acts that I assume the people doing find some kind of pleasure out of - aren't exclusive to people in cars. Nearby where I live, when I was younger, a group of kids - my age and above - used to sit on a corner. Many people had a problem with this and I had an inner-conflict with myself about it. If they were doing nothing wrong, I am a strong believer of young people not being unfairly expected to be causing trouble. And this should be the case. However I felt terrified when I passed them. I did feel like they purposefully stopped to stare with the intention to intimidate which seemed evident when they would make comments at me. WHY DO IT!? It is some weird every-day bullying upon passerbys. I have no idea what it achieves, and it just confuses me.
You have no idea how an individual or group will take such an act - how they will feel and further what they will do - so just don't do it.
At secondary school, my thoughts on this issue became even more frustrated when a teacher told his story. The day before he addressed my class with his story, he was on an afternoon run. He passed a group of young people and they shouted rude things at him; things that he couldn't just forget. It was on his mind - you know when something just nags at your thoughts and you can't fully focus on anything else - and it made him consider taking another route the next time. To this day, I have no idea if he did change his route but even the consideration of it makes me know I could never knowingly make an individual feel so uncomfortable. So intimidated.
In one of my classes at college there was a boy in my class who was known for being, well, horrible. He made cruel comments to people; his teasing was horrifically unjust; he is the only person I have ever met on more than a few occasions who I have seen only a vile side of. I want to address the moment in which I felt most intimidated by him. And that was when I walked into the class. He may not have arrived yet, or he may have. However, each time (he may not even have been in college that day), my stomach was met with intense pain and fear, and my throat would be accompanied by the threat of feeling sick. He may not have even intended for this sometimes but his actions before the moment of intimidation made me fear him; made me entirely intimidated. Sometimes people, of course, intimidate people without wishing to at all. I want to always approach my life with a friendly attitude and an openness that means no one does feel intimidated by me. However, it does not mean that no one ever has - although I hope they haven't -; it would have just been a misread situation that I hope to prevent in the future. Yet, I know completely that this boy could have made me intimidated on purpose, but what I know for sure is that he wouldn't care less if he knew how I felt. I don't like judging people's personalities (everyone has bad days, right? Everyone has or will have bad things happening in their lives... I know that!) but that is the kind of human I will always aim to never be.
Intimidation sucks. It really sucks.
A Walk & A Thought,
The Girl in the Moonlight.