Writing prompts can be an ideal way to jump-start the 5-minute writing process, which is why I’m going to provide one each time I post. Today’s prompt is: write about something that annoys you. Sometimes the things that bug us can eventually be the source of humor. When you can’t see the humor in the situation or you can’t yet make sense of it, writing is an excellent way to process our feelings.
Dance Class Bullies
For me the issue is the women at my aerobic dance class who believe they are entitled to a certain spot on the floor. These dance class bullies arrive late, and instead of taking a place that is available, usually in the back of the room, they go exactly where they want to be–regardless of who is standing there. Because most of the women are too nice to stand their ground, they defer. I’ve been watching this for years, and thought I was prepared to handle the situation– stand my ground and not succumb if it ever happened to me. I’d even mentally rehearsed a sassy comeback, “Oh, I didn’t realize you could reserve a spot on the floor! Do you pay extra for that?”
Last week I had an opportunity to put my plan into action. Generally, I arrive a few minutes before class begins and although I prefer to stand in the second row, just left of center, I’m flexible. On this particular day, I arrived early enough to grab my most coveted place. While waiting for the class to begin I did a few stretches, smiled at a few of the regulars–women I’ve been dancing with off and on for the past 10 years–and waited for the music to begin. A few moments into the first song, I felt cold hands on my shoulders and heard a voice whisper in my ear, “Chris isn’t here today. Move up so I can stand in your spot.” At the same time, this woman gave me a little shove toward the empty place. My response was visceral. As the fight or flight response kicked in, adrenalin began to flow. Who are you to tell me what to do you little bitch? How dare you! My rebellious teenage self kicked in, but she wasn’t able to talk. Instead, she moved to the other side of the room where she fumed through the entire workout.
Halfway through the class the bitch apologized. But the reality is, she got my spot. I too had become a victim of a dance class bully. All the preparation in the world didn’t save me. What’s worse, I’ve avoided standing near this woman ever since. Because I believe that experiences like this–that trigger our emotions–are messages in disguise, I’ve been searching for the lesson here. The truth is, I’m still working on it. The situation caught me by surprise and trigger a negative response. By pushing me and telling me what to do, the dance class bully treated me like a child. Emotionally, I reacted like, but fortunately, I was able to contain myself and not say anything I would later regret. I think I got the message, but I’ll know for sure when I can stand by the bully and not let her presence annoy me.
What annoys you? If you follow this writing prompt, I invite you to post it in the comment section.