I Stood Up to a Bullying Leader
Mine is a pivotal- happened in a flash, I will not allow you to treat me this way any longer- life altering moment. I know if I had taken what seemed the easy way, the non-confrontational way, the “just do what he says and you will be ok” way, I would have been one of the frightened sycophants on whom my bullying boss, could count to do his dirty work. Still, it was a temptation. Sign the form, even if it weren’t true! Turn the blind eye! Be done with it! Lie! My mind screamed “just do it!” and yet the words from my mouth were these: “No. I will not do it.”
In the early afternoon of March 16th, 2010, I, a school counselor, stated I would not lie for a man, my school principal, who had bullied me for two years. My consciousness of his bullying grew from head scratching perplexities at his disrespectful arrogance-his disdainful reference, for instance, to me and other women as “honey”- to outright alarm at his “in your face” screaming.
March 16th, 2010. Early afternoon. It was an over the top crazy stressful moment. It was a moment of jaw dropping realization on his part that I truly was not a “team player”: that his coercion of me, as he suspected, would not work. He understood with my simple words, “I will not do it” that I was outside his control. I still see him standing up from his desk. Still see him leaning forward. I still hear him screaming, “JUST DO IT!!” Slow motion. Me-steely inside in that moment, and then alone in my office-crumbling. It was not easy.
It's still not easy. Although I had taken to wearing a button stating “It Takes Courage“ at school (ostensibly for my students!) I did not know I was courageous. March 16th, 2010. Apprehension turned to resolve. Fear to conviction. Just six words. A life-mine-altered in that moment.