To the Man that Flipped Me Off

I went back to college (a different one that was in my hometown) approximately 8 months after I witnessed the death of my identical twin. It was a huge step. If you’ve read my post I Slept on My Parents’ Floor for Months, then you know this was big for me.

It was August 2011 and I was heading out to my new college to get my ID card and books. It was around 9am and there was traffic on the main road before I had to get onto the highway, so I figured it might be less stressful for me to take the backroads to get to the highway instead of sitting in the traffic.

I was almost to the highway. There was a stop sign and I needed to turn right. I stopped and apparently I must’ve been stopped for a second too long in my 1999 Acura Legend because the man behind me laid on his horn and then whipped his car around me and flipped me off while speeding away.

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Today, this wouldn’t faze me like it did back then. But back then, it infuriated me. It depressed me. It made me feel so alone. More alone than I already felt. I didn’t let it go all day. It stuck with me.

So now here I am writing about it 9 years later.


What would I say to that man back in 2011?

To the Man that Flipped Me Off,

I just witnessed the death of my identical twin sister. The person I love most in this world. My literal other half. And today I’m making a huge step of going back to college because I refuse to let this tragedy take me as well and you just flipped me off. For no reason. Your actions have made me feel horrible. You’re clearly angry with the world and I’m so pissed that you took it out on me. I don’t deserve that and you should learn how to be a decent human and treat others with respect.

Sincerely,

A traumatized griever going day-by-day


Now what would I say to that man today?

To the Man that Flipped Me Off,

I’m sorry that me stopping at a stop sign for a second longer than you would’ve liked infuriated you so much that you felt the need to flip a 20-year-old girl off. I hope you have a better day and that you get the help that you need. There is a famous quote that says something like, “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” You’re probably fighting a battle of some sort. And so am I, but I don’t go out of my way to take it out on others and your battle doesn’t excuse your poor behavior.

Sincerely,

A forever griever who knows that hurt people hurt people, but who also know that they don’t have to


A lot changes over time. Our grief changes (it doesn’t go away). And we change. We adjust. We learn how to cope.

My hope for you is that you do not encounter an individual like this man even though I know that’s impossible. Rude, inconsiderate people are everywhere, but you know what else I’ve learned? So are good ones. Put your head up and know that person is not what you want your tragedy to turn you into.

Stay true to yourself despite your lemons.

-Amy

2 Comments

  1. I can relate with similar experiences that have stuck with me after my sister suddenly died. But what I really want to share is how much I appreciate your reflection acknowledging that hurt people hurt people, but they don’t have to. It’s such a hard balance to draw the line and say, “I know the behavior comes from a place of pain and that is unfortunate and I forgive them but it doesn’t mean I tolerate or give permission to be treated that way.” Because I think there are people who believe their hurt grants them permission to behave that way, to make others join them in hurt. It’s not a way I want to be as a person and it’s not a way of thinking I want to perpetuate in our society. Thank you for sharing.

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