Let's see if I can manage to write this without pissing anyone off.
From the time I was a kid until a couple of years after I moved out of my parents house, I participated in a particular activity. I was pretty good - not the best, not the worst - at this particular activity. I took classes every day in this particular focus, but I was never part of the "in" crowd.
I know this because the person who led the "in" crowd - someone who was a good ten years, maybe more, older than me - always made it a point of her dealings with everyone else to let me know that I was left out. I was left out of activities, conversations stopped when I came in the room, plans for the entire group were not given to me.
I wanted to have a party when the Michael Jackson video Thriller came out - remember when the debut of music videos was a HUGE DEAL? My dad bought the video and I planned this party - and she didn't come and almost no one else did either - because she was someone important and I wasn't.
And for years, it has bugged me. What did I ever do to her? Was I so terrible at this particular activity that she was embarrassed to be associated with me? Not hardly. Was I ugly? Not especially, I wasn't winning any awards in high school - but I wasn't wearing a paper bag over my head. I tried to be kind to her, but it didn't seem to make much difference, and I really had few friends during this particular activity.
It's quite possible that there was a reason for me to be unliked. I still haven't figured it out.
I've tried, for several years after becoming an adult - to befriend this woman. When my girls - all four of them - wanted to participate in this particular activity - I took them where I had trained - and she was the new owner. And I paid my money and left my kids there, and they received good training. I've referred people there, and any time someone asks me where I would recommend - I mention this place.
But, recently, two of my kids have asked to go back, and I've said no. Not because of the money, but because of how she made me feel for the vast majority of my life. Why am I giving money, money that is hard to come by - to someone who spent several years trying to make me feel like dog crap planted on the bottom of a shoe?
And tonight, when I saw her, I didn't rush over and make friendly. I walked away. It makes me petty, I know, and makes me childish. Above all, it makes me human. I'm not angry - I just don't care any more.
I am a worthy human being. I am smart, I am kind, I am capable and I am good. I do good things. I am friendly and outgoing, helpful and work hard to do good. If you need something, I'll be there if I can do so to help in any way possible.
If you can't see that, I'll be damned if I pretend otherwise. And I'm certainly not going to make nice and above all, spend my hard earned money continuing to allow someone to lord over me.
I'm worth more than that.