Did You Just Stick My Jelly Beans Up Your Nose?
In more innocent times, I never worried about leaving a bowl of jelly beans on my desk. Instead, I was pleased to share with others while regularly snagging a few pieces of candy myself.
I should have known better.
I should have realized that some people will always find a way to sabotage life’s small pleasures because they are so focused on meeting their own needs.
I learned the lessons of jelly beans when I was getting my master’s degree and had classes with someone from high school. I don’t remember ever talking to my fellow student in high school and was honestly surprised he’d even graduated from college.
I had preconceived beliefs about him, and he, in turn had preconceived beliefs about me. I remember the day he told me, “you are actually really funny. In high school, your friends told me you were funny, but I never believed it. I always thought you were just too smart and too serious. You really aren’t that serious at all.”
I couldn’t really fault him for never getting to know me as I’d never made the effort to know him.
Instead, I’d simply thought he was someone who spent a lot of time in the principal’s office.
Turns out, I was wrong.
He rarely spent any time in the principal’s office. Instead, he spent a lot of time with the vice principal, who was in charge of discipline.
“Mr. Tidquist and I,” he said, “were quite familiar with each other. But I really didn’t like him or the jelly beans he always kept on his desk.”
I shouldn’t have asked about the jelly beans, but I couldn’t resist.
“Mr. Tidquist always had a jar of jelly beans on his desk, and sometimes he would grab a handful and eat them while lecturing me,” he told me. “One day, I was sitting in his office alone waiting for him to come in, and I was just so angry. I kept looking at those jelly beans and thinking of Mr. Tidquist eating them. I just couldn’t help myself. I would take few, put them up my nose, put them back in the jar and then stick some more up my nose.”
“I can’t even describe how I felt when Mr. Tidquist came back in his office, sat at his desk, grabbed a handful of jelly beans and ate them.”
After hearing the story, I couldn’t immediately describe how I felt either, other than to say I was relieved that I’d never been in Mr. Tidquist’s office and therefore never been tempted to eat his jelly beans.
But lately, I feel as though my decisions, beliefs and values are like the jelly beans on Mr. Tidquist’s desk. I take pleasure in being a strong and educated woman who can think and act on her own. I like to believe that by sharing and discussing my opinions, I just might help make the world a little bit better.
Instead, when I’m not around, some people choose to express their dislike and misperceptions by judging me, discrediting me or misinterpreting my actions. But they don’t say anything to me directly.
In other words, they are sticking my jelly beans up their noses.
Since I’m human, there’s a part of me that can’t help but be bothered and offended. But there’s another part of me that realizes how their behavior has nothing at all to do with me. Which is why, instead of taking my jelly beans off my desk, I’m thinking of putting a mirror next to them.
That way, when people put my jelly beans up their noses, they are forced to see how their words and behavior only reflect back on them.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue to enjoy sharing my jelly beans with everyone who appreciates them.