There's this little beach about 200 m from my home that I go to whenever I want to rid myself of distractions so I can think and be creative.
So I sat down at a table on the grass to get some sun and think about what scale visionary entrepreneurs dream on. And suddenly there's this fat woman 5-10 meters to my left saying, not shouting or screaming, in this incredibly loud and carrying voice how stubborn this girl is and loudly calling her back from the beach, which was like 10 meters away.
I got to watch as this fat woman towered over this little three year old blonde girl while loudly and publicly berating her. I heard all about how she'd been 'told' (ordered, not asked) not to go out on the beach without her and to follow her exactly and didn't she understand? And I couldn't help thinking a Japanese mother would have been far more gentle and loving in undermining their child's independence. I also thought that no the child probably didn't understand.
The worst part was the three year old's facial expression and body language. I recognized it you see from someone who'd been so incredibly traumatized by violence and neglect during her childhood that she just freezes whenever someone yells at her. It was an expression that said she was used to being yelled at but hadn't the slightest clue how to handle it. It said she was suffering and desperately trying to figure out how to end it but also quite certain that giving away her suffering was Not Allowed.
And I couldn't bear to watch this. I recall thinking at the time how this is what those sad people I have known who have no self-esteem or self-identity must have suffered as children. This three year old blonde girl is going to grow up to be one of them. And the thought of intervening didn't even enter my mind but what did enter my mind was how there is no socially-acceptable way for me to explain to this stupid fat woman exactly what she's doing.
And as if this wasn't enough, maybe 3 minutes later I got to watch another family come in right beside them. There was a distant-looking mother and her two daughters. The youngest was a 3 year old little blonde girl just like the first one and she couldn't stop smiling. Because she was at the beach and it was wonderful. The contrast couldn't have been any starker because the first girl looked like she never did. And minutes later when she finally did smile, it was so much smaller.
I got out of there because I'd had more than I could bear constantly wondering if this 3 year old was ever happy. So I want to know. How the fuck do you deal with it? Because I don't seem to be able to. Or do you even notice these things? Do you even care? Are you all just monsters?