Bye Bye Bullies

Since I first changed my hairstyle I’ve noticed a change in the way people at work treat me. I’ve mentioned it here before, but it seems like because I come across as being more confident people think they can be more brutally honest with me. When I walked into work in the past bulging out of my size 26 clothes, people were too polite to say anything. But now they don’t seem to feel the need to filter their thoughts and opinions before forcing them on me.

At first I just sat there and took it because although I’ve shrunk considerably, in my mind I mostly still feel like the old me. Not physically, because there’s no denying I can move around easier and whatnot, but I still see myself as a morbidly obese person. So when someone would say something extremely rude to me, I wouldn’t say anything back. I was frightened that their next move would be to call me fat, and I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone voicing what I was already thinking. Which makes no sense – everyone can see how big I am – but there you go.

Fairly recently one particular man started insulting me, mostly about my hair, and when I called him up on his rude behaviour he’d just say that he was joking. The more I got to know him, the more I realised that he’s just a nasty person. It came to a head when I asked him, very calmly, to ‘stop being a c**t’ (I kept my cool in a way but inside I’d totally lost my temper!) and for a while he stopped. But it was short lived.

Years ago I went to night school to learn how to be more assertive and although I still wouldn’t call myself an assertive person (except when there really is no other option) I learned a lot. One thing was about people who treat you like crap. I asked the tutor what you do if you’ve told the person how you feel and they simply don’t care. She said that you can’t force someone to change, so you have to decide if you want to keep that person in your life or not.

Sadly I can’t just stop seeing this person because we work together, so I made a point of distancing myself from him. And it was working until a couple of days ago when he came up and asked me why I don’t talk to him anymore. So assertive Hayley made a rare appearance and I told him straight – that he is mean. And although other people make fun of me, and I have a laugh with them, that’s not all they do. We have ordinary conversations too, about life and our passions and our struggles. And if they upset me (or vice-versa) I tell them and we work it out. At this point he apologised and I thought we’d made some progress. Then on the way out at the end of shift I heard him telling someone about his plans to bully several other members of staff, because he has decided that they ‘deserve’ it, and that if they ask him to stop he’s not going to until they report him.

If he starts on me again, or I hear him doing it to anyone else, report him I will. And I’ll do it without the fear of any comments about my weight. They may still come, but I have realised that I don’t care anymore if they do. The most important thing is that I surround myself with good people in my life, and don’t give any headspace over to the poisonous people of the world. It feels incredibly good to know that I’m strong enough to do that now!

Anyway on to a different subject, namely FOOD! I have a new obsession and I’ll be honest – I had to have strong words with all of the Polish people I know. I mean, how could they fail to mention that Poland is the capital of the gherkin world? It’s just not on!

Since I started working with Polish people I’ve tried some delicious food, but I don’t eat it now because it’s either meaty or chock full of calories. I tried homemade pierogi that a friend donated to me when her mum visited, which I fried in butter, Fasolka Po Bretonsku (a delicious sausage and bean stew), Krowki (a crumbly fudge that translates as ‘little cows’) confit chicken (the first and only time I’ve had confit anything), and Polish bread, oh how I love Polish bread!

For this reason I normally avoid the Polish food section at Tesco, but this week I decided to have a little look. I’ve noticed recently that gherkins can be inordinately expensive, so when I saw soured gherkins (ogúrki kwazone) and noticed that they were slightly cheaper than our boring old English ones, I knew I had to give them a try.

And oh my, I LOVE THEM! They have the kind of salty, savouriness of olives, but they’re SPEED FOOD! So I had to go back for more.

I shall be eating these until they come out of my ears, they’re just the perfect snack!

My other food obsession right now is fresh cherries. My mum has been poorly and can’t taste anything so I’ve been having the pick of all the perfectly red and juicy cherries every day, just as they ripen. It has been heavenly.

I do have a couple more things to share with you but I just looked at the time, expecting it to be about 5.30pm and thinking I should get a move on. It’s actually 7.15pm and I need to get a shift on!

Hayley X

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