Why You Should Say Thank You To A Dickhead
You know what’s funny? We need horrible trolls sometimes, just like we need oxygen. If someone is a prick to you, you are totally within your rights to have a ball of rage inside your stomach, but really in your head you should say THANK YOU! We need them in the world. Just like in every single Disney movie that we consume whole-heartedly as kids there is always a villain. Always an evil, horrible, twisted, “bad guy” that makes our childish brains go “no! go away! baddie! mean person!” However they are, essentially, catalysts for the story. They are the stimulus that make the good guys work harder, struggle, be brave, keep going, and eventually, conquer all. A bit of friction goes a long way.
I can remember every villain in my life that (ironically) helped me achieve something off the back of it. There was the teacher at school who would always select me out in class even when other kids were definitely more disruptive than me. When I eventually confronted said teacher about it, she answered: “but your voice is the most distinctive”. That, my friends, is a bullshit excuse to pick on a child. So later on, I decided to take the remark as a compliment, because yes my voice WAS more distinctive, because I pronounced my words properly. Turned out I had good “diction”, said my drama teacher (the good guy): “Speak UP Emma! PROJECT your voice! I want to hear you at the BACK OF THE THEATRE!” Talk about mixed signals. And when I did project my voice loudly and clearly I’d be doing a big “F you” to that earlier boring teacher who wanted to unnecessarily scold me. So thank you, boring teacher, for the rage.
A university professor also took me aside in my third year of studying and decided that my writing wasn’t following the exact structure that she wanted me to. “Too personal” she’d say. She hated it when we all wrote in the first person, as it weakened the argument. I followed her advice obviously, (I wanted to pass!) but she fired us up, because she was so mean. Weirdly, she made us want to write MORE, because she was controlling. She gave us zero freedom, or confidence; we could only write her way. She also enjoyed telling all of us at least once that we were dyslexic, especially when she was angry. Now I write this blog and get paid for writing many articles in the first person. THANK YOU, Professor Party-Pooper, for the rage.
Then there’s the old boss. Who puts you down time and time again, because they don’t really like your determination. They try and sap you with their magic wand so that you’ll just conform like the other desk-workers in their invisible orange jumpsuits. Any sense of spark or joy is not welcome, just like the four grey walls that they turned grey. But, these people don’t “win” when they drive you out – quite the opposite – they force you to think heavily about your future, your life, your needs. Your strange, unfortunate hatred for them make you search really deeply for something different. They are the catalyst for a life-change. They are necessary. Rainbows and butterflies do not make you fight for your future.
Even tonight I overheard a ghastly conversation between a group of individuals. They were using misogynistic language. They were sexist and talking in a vulgar way about money and horribly insensitive about the news. I could have got home and let it affect me, put a downer on my nice evening with my friends, to know such people exist with such sexist, horrible thoughts. But, instead, it provoked me to write on this blog, and write a positive story about how bad things can make you want to do good things. It can make you reflect for a second and think I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be like that.
So if someone wants to be a dick-head to you, that’s fine, it might be good timing. Most of the time you can make a success out of it, and write them a thank you note after.
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic