Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Vivian Studdert

On conflict and confrontation
Vivian+Studdert
Vin Bhat

Growing up, I was a grade-A pushover. I would’ve rather died than told a barista they messed up my order, and if I got hit by a car, I’d probably apologize. My greatest enemies? The two-headed, fire-breathing skull crushers known as C&C — conflict and confrontation.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, the reason I was so afraid to disagree was because I didn’t know how to. Whenever the rare topic of disagreement came up in school, we were handed sentence structures and rules to follow. Those tools may have been helpful then, but unsurprisingly, “I understand your point, but respectfully disagree” has less success in practical situations. Conflict in the real world (a.k.a. the world of middle-school Vivian) lived on two extremes. It was either the extravagant, messy “you’re-so-ugly-and-annoying” type of fight, or it was an “I’ll-not-text-you-for-a-day-and-see-if-you-notice” type of fight. I wasn’t even strong enough to do the texting stalemate. So, I happily avoided C&C and enjoyed the company of my friends. That is, until the lockdown hit.

Before I knew it, my comfortable group of friends was sliced to almost nothing. A “friend” was now someone I texted occasionally with loose post-COVID-19 plans, or for help with homework. It was a lonely time for kids all around the world, but my solitude mainly changed me in one grand way: It made me more self-centered.

 Put that simply, this shift in my character sounds like it was a shift for the worse, but it was the change I needed to be more in touch with myself. Being a labeled cube on a screen who people perceived based on the couple of words I said a day was dehumanizing. The people-pleasing side of me was empty with no people to please. I had to face the realization that I had built myself to fit between the cracks. I had made my feet small so as not to step on any toes, and my body narrow so as to stay in my lane. In a time like the lockdown, where everyone had to do what I had done my whole life, I suddenly didn’t know who I was anymore. 

That was when I knew I had to make a change. I needed to matter, to be my own person. And that meant embracing my old enemies, C&C.

The first step of this was easy for me: getting in touch with my wants. I didn’t want my math teacher to pronounce my name “Viv-anne” anymore. I didn’t want that friend to continue to walk all over me. And the next time my neighbor took a two-month vacation and asked me to feed and play with his cats twice a day, I was going to ask to get paid.

Some of these were bigger battles than others, but one by one, I started to speak up. The anger or awkwardness I believed I’d be met with almost non-existent, but when I was met with it, I stood my ground. I discovered that even though I still disliked C&C, fighting for myself was well worth being uncomfortable. 

Disagreement should be celebrated. C&C are messy but necessary reminders of how different we all are. So no, I am not encouraging people to become egotistical, but I am advocating for assertion. It isn’t healthy to believe that the world revolves around you, but it’s just as deprecating to believe you have no place in it.

So the next time someone speaks over you, or you think differently from the status quo, don’t shy from what’s right in front of you. Let them know. Disagree.

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About the Contributors
Vivian Studdert
Vivian Studdert, Sports Editor
Vivian Studdert is a senior and a sports editor for The Oracle. Outside of school, Vivian enjoys reading, swimming and traversing the supermarket.
Vin Bhat
Vin Bhat, Graphics Freelancer, Photographer
Freshman Vin Bhat is a freelance graphic artist and photographer for The Oracle. He enjoys playing guitar, programming, and listening to music in his spare time.
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