You consider doing something (X). X is something you could do if you chose to, but not something do very often if at all. You would have to go out of your way to do it. You imagine what would happen after you do X. One of the results is something that would be dangerous or unpleasant (Y). You imagine that you would be scared or upset if Y happened. You can easily and reliably prevent this unpleasant thing Y from happening by not doing X. You don’t do X. You stop worrying about Y.
You remember what happened the last time you did something (A). You thought A was a harmless thing to do, and you did it almost without thinking, but then something else (B) happened because of it. B happened suddenly and unexpectedly, and it was very hurtful and/or scary, and you were terrified. Thinking about it now, you’re still terrified. What if you do A again by accident? And not only that, if something as harmless-seeming as A can make B happen, what if other things you do cause B to happen, too? You are constantly on alert to keep from doing A. You are constantly afraid of B.
Both of these things could be described as “learning from the consequences of your actions,” but they are not the same thing.
Lots of people have had a teacher who was “the cool teacher”. Has anyone else had a teacher who thought you were a cool student?
Like, they think you’re really talented in a way that’s not just doing well with the class material but like, they personally admire what you’re doing. Or they think of you as “one of the cool kids” in the sense of having radical opinions or a cutting-edge sense of style.
I’ve had a few and it’s a little uncomfortable.
I guess what it really boils down to is them thinking you’re cool-er than they are. There’s probably some idealism involved, about young people being more energetic, creative, exciting. And probably also something I’ve heard a lot of people describe re: bullying, and which I definitely experience– having the same emotional reaction to Cool Teenagers as you used to have as a less-cool teenager, even when you’re an adult and have power over them in various ways.
Also a bit of the universal thing where other people always seem more confident and decisive than you are, because you don’t know the thought process behind what they’re doing, you only see the actions.
I don’t know. It’s a really interesting phenomenon, especially since it happened to me in what seemed like very similar ways at a variety of ages, from middle school to college.
This is kind of an unfinished thought, but (a) it’s been sitting “unfinished” in my drafts for a while now (b) it’s pretty long, so it may as well stand on its own.
This is about bullying, a little bit, and also about that feel when you’re afraid of a problem but you’re more afraid of asking for help with it.
Continue reading “Bullying 3”