We’re not supposed to be bitter. It’s not good for us. It gives us disapproving facial lines, bad acid reflux and it hurts us more than it hurts the person we’re bitter at. Or something like that. I dunno, I wasn’t paying attention when they gave us the lessons in sweetness, I was too busy being bitter. Coz I’ve got things to be bitter about.
But maybe I should let go of some of that bitterness, you know? Maybe I should try to radiate a little sunshine. Well, in order to let it all go I’ve got to get it all out. Write about it. Lay the burden on you guys, so that I can fly free. Here are five ridiculously petty things that I’m still bitter about.
1– Being told off for using run-on sentences in a high school essay
You might well read that and say, “fair enough”. Run-on sentences are a despicable way to write and you needed to be told. Well, yeah. I did need to be told. Preferably before they got me to write a damn essay, they should have told me about run-on sentences.
Maybe they did and I was away that day, or I was too busy being bitter about earlier infractions to pay attention. Well, then they should have told me again when it became apparent I didn’t have a clue about run-on sentences. Is it too much to ask that you, the teacher, highlight that shit in red pen and clarify my error when marking my essay, rather than simply writing a condescending paragraph at the bottom of my essay that just confuses me further?
I’ve since become accustomed to this thing called “internet on tap” and I managed a Google search or two regarding my run-on-sentence-sins to educate myself. Yeah, it turns out I do do that. I get excited and make multiple points and forget to link them properly with punctuation or paperclips or whatever. But fuck it. You never taught me, so now run-on sentences are my style. You only have yourself to thank, because you decided to be lecturing muff button there are more run-on sentences in the world than ever before. HA! (That’s me having the last, bitter laugh).
2– The person who is a big shot professional writer with no Instagram etiquette
This person followed and unfollowed me on Instagram 6,000 times. That’s not what I’m bitter about. That’s no big deal. Everyone is allowed their own social media strategy and everyone needs to figure out what works for them. If you just need big numbers so that PRs work with you coz you rely on your blog to make a living, then maybe I can understand the desperation in that. Whatevs.
My problem begins when I finally met this person at an event and spent a fucking age in the world’s most boring conversation. Not just a boring conversation, but a one-sided boring conversation. Like, they weren’t interacting with me as a human, I was just a pulse with ears that they could talk at. I could have been anyone. I doubt they even remember me at all, yet they spent a good half hour (minimum) excitedly prattling on about how successful they were, so I didn’t get to have a conversation with people at the event that I actually liked.
There I stayed, because it was the polite thing to do. I didn’t mention “oh, yeah, I know who you are, you have an anti-social bot running your social media”. I was their friend and hung out with them that night when no one else wanted to. Later I followed them on Instagram to say “hey, I guess we’re friends now”. Did they ever follow me again? No. Still, millions of years later, no follow, no interaction, not a single thank you bone thrown in my direction. Fuck you. I realise that this was the bot, not them, but still. This. Is. Your. Job. Fuck you.
3– The time I took part in a group project with some dumbarses
This was at school. The teachers assigned us to work in a group, they choose the people in each group. Let’s just say our group had a good cross section of academic abilities and I was one of the cleverer ones. That might sound arrogant, but I didn’t exactly go to the Elite School For Super Genius Kids. People are different, some folks are good at school work, some are better at art or sport or dramatic teenage bullshit. It’s swings and roundabouts. Some may say that as I’ve achieved basically nothing since, I peaked too soon, this clever shtick was just a blip in my development. Cool, whatever, you’ve probably got a point.
Now, the project itself was fine, it got done. Then, randomly, in my school report weeks later I read some snarky arse comment from my teacher about how I hadn’t pulled my weight in the group and the work handed in wasn’t up to my usual standard. What in the fucking fuck?! This was the first I heard of it.
This incensed my soul. It was a group project. I didn’t do it all. The bits I did were probably of a better standard than the bits by the stoner kid who refused to sit with us. But they could have addressed this with us when they handed back the marked project. I saw the marks and they mustn’t have been particularly bad as I never thought twice about it until I read snarkfest at the end of term. You’ve gotta understand, this wasn’t usual feedback for me. I was a goody two shoes right up to the age of 14 or so. Even after that I was hardly lighting the suburbs on fire with my badassery. Hence why I’m still bitter about it.
4– While we’re at it, that time the assistant fucking principal pulled my hair
I’ve got another schoolyard tale of bitter injustice. The schools I went to made us wear school uniform. A lot of the schools I see in London have uniforms, but we seemed to be held to a higher standard of persnicketyness.
We had to have our hair tied back off our faces at all times and we were only allowed to use certain coloured bands and clips to do it. Their justification was that hair in our faces would distract us from learning. Apparently, keeping my hair out of my face with a clip that was pink and on the back of my head would cause chaos in classroom. It would distract my fellow students from learning, in a way that black or red hairbands that matched our uniform just wouldn’t.
At one point there was a trend for hair to be kept in beautiful, elaborate updos with a series of tiny, colourful butterfly clips. This was the tidiest hair teenage girls had ever given themselves and where did it get us? Morning classes were cancelled so they could lecture us about the horror of baby blue hair grips before assembly. I’m not kidding. I’m also no closer to telling you why I’m bitter, this is just colour (haha!)
As we aged and started asking more about the whys of this draconian bullshit we were told that we represented the school, and our town was full of judgmental fuck buckets who would think less of the whole institution if they saw us holding our hair back with a flash of green, or letting hair flop in our faces. That’s not the exact phrasing they used, but you get the idea.
One day I was standing in a communal basement area with some friends. I can’t remember the exact reason why, but it wasn’t in lesson time. It was lunch, I think. There were lots of students milling about, a lot of chat going on.
All of a sudden I felt a violent tug on the delicate hair around my ear. I had taken my hair down, probably to redo my pony tail. I hadn’t got around to it yet coz it was lunch and I was laughing with my friends in a basement, not parading down judgement street on my way to assembly.
This tug really, really hurt. This led me to believe it was one of my best friends trying to get my attention. It was the kind of savage, bloodthirsty wrench that could only be accidentally administered by a bosom buddy aiming for more subtle shock-lols. It was the only logical option seeing as I was a girl. If I was gonna be bullied they would have gone for psychological warfare, not physical pain.
I swung around laughing, about to swear at her and express my serious discomfort. I can still remember exactly which friend I expected to be standing there. It wasn’t her. It was some old crony high up in the hierarchy with a smug look and bowl haircut. She wanted me to tie my hair up.
Technically I was breaking school rules by having it down. Technically, the higher ups should spend less time assaulting students and more time getting teachers to go over the rules of run-on sentences. Maybe then I’d be less bitter.
5– The stranger who’s expecting my divorce any day now
I’m out of school and in the big, wide adult world. I’m married and employed and generally adulting pretty well to the casual observer. I was at a function and was introduced to someone I hadn’t met before. We were chatting and she was placing exactly who I was in the grand scheme of things. My husband walks past us, a few metres away.
She points and asks, “so that’s your current husband?”
Current? What exactly are you getting at there, matey? This wasn’t just a joke that fell flat; she didn’t crack a smile. I don’t know if I’ll ever see that person again, but it’s definitely possible. Let’s just say that if there’s an elaborate plot to destroy the planet and the only way to save humanity is for Jean-Claude Van Damme to track this specific person down and and harvest their organs as a sacrifice to our new evil overlords, I can definitely help Jean-Claude out.