Bystander

I have watched very many people, and very many incidents.

I watched as an accident happened outside the window of the restaurant I’d been eating in, watched as a person fainted from heat exhaustion, and watched as a friend broke down visibly in front of me.

I always wished to do something. But I could never figure out what to do. I was always afraid; if I did something, having as little experience as I do, what can I accomplish? Can I actually help anyone, or will I just end up making things worse?

When my friends are hurting, I can see that hurt in their face. What I cannot see is the why, or what they want to do, or what they want me to do. If someone’s crying, I cannot ignore that person, yet I cannot talk to him or her. What if they need a shoulder to comfort them? What if they just want to be left alone? Would talking to that person cause old wounds to be ripped wide open? Do I just think too much about what I need to do, instead of just doing something and hoping it works?

The few times I did act on my feelings, and try to talk, I’ve been met with mainly discouragement. I have realized that I think far too much and that I am far too blunt to be able to help solve other people’s’ problems. Instead, I’ve managed to breed misunderstanding, and create drama (the details of which I would rather not have to remember, let alone write down).

And then, there are the injuries, the accidents, those kinds of physical crises. I am, unfortunately, not very athletic, nor do I have any medical training whatsoever. I probably have no idea how to bandage a wound properly, and I usually can’t identify problems until they become very obvious. I am not fast enough, not strong enough, to be able to be as heroic as I want to be.

Once, a girl fell over in the doorway in front of me, after having tripped over the little edge in the open doorway. I watched as the door slammed right into her injured foot, as I was not fast enough to be able to stop the door from automatically closing.

I wish I could act, always wished I could. For the physical situations, I was incapable, for the emotional ones, just far too inept.

If someone was mugged in front of me, I probably would not be able to do anything. I would be compelled by altruism to help, but held back by my past failures, and my lack of ability. There is far too much of a risk that I would just make things worse by jumping into the fray.

This feeling of powerlessness is the most frustrating thing in the world. I am a bystander, and I do not know what to do about that fact.

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