Today’s Quote

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

~ Frederick Douglass ~

Good Music, a Glass of Wine, and My Keyboard

There’s nothing like blogging with good, upbeat, but relaxing music playing and a glass of wine to sip on. It helps a blogger chillax and unwind, at the same time, it lifts the mood and takes you back in time.

Tonight’s mood is for 90’s slow jams and dance! Here’s the blogging playlist for the night:

“Get Away” by Bobby Brown

“Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” by Aaliyah

“Treat U Right” by Angela Winbush

“Be Happy” by Mary J. Blige

“Betcha’ll Never Find” Chantay Savage

“Back & Forth” by Aaliyah

“Freak Like Me” by Adina Howard

“Because of Love” by Janet Jackson

“Is it Good to You” by Heavy D & The Boyz

“I Belong to You” by Toni Braxton

Music is the best anti-depressant there is! It takes your blues away!

You can blog to the beat and even take lots of dance breaks! Here’s a version of “I belong to you” that I absolutely love to dance to! The 90’s were an awesome decade when music and movies peaked before they began to decline around the turn of the millennium.

The 90’s will always hold a special place in my heart- It was the decade of great prosperity, the decade all my children were born, the decade of shows like “Friends,” “Living Single,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” and “Melrose Place.”

If only we had a time machine!

6 Ways to Remain Standing in Your Truth When You’re a Target of Bullying

If you’re a target of bullying, I want you to know that you do not have to accept the bullies’ lies as the truth because their truth (opinion) isn’t your truth. Understand that you are the only one in charge of your mind, body, and your life. You have the freedom to accept or reject the gawdawful messages your bullies may give you. You are the gatekeeper to your mind and spirit, and you can either take in or kick out the insults and attacks with which they bombard you.

So, how do you successfully kick out the junk bullies try to drum into your head?

1. By refusing to accept their garbage as truth. And you do this by seeing the attacks for what they are – lies. By judging you, bullies proverbially claim to have the ability to read your mind and to be privy to your inner world. In essence, they’re only playing God because they claim to know the unknowable.

motivational inspirational

2. By knowing your worth. Always know that you’re much better than what your peers may say you are. Realize that their lies and opinions are worthless, so don’t add any value to them. Remember that they can only insult you if you don’t value their opinions.

3. By making positive affirmations with “I AM” statements every day. Sometimes you must look at your reflection in the mirror each morning and make affirmations to yourself. “I AM a good person,” “I AM smart,” “I AM worthy of love and friendship”… If you’re a target of severe bullying, doing this may feel strange at first but you’ll be surprised at how much better about yourself you’ll feel.

4. By countering the bullies’ attacks. It’s as simple as saying, “No I’m not,” when a bully tells you that you’re worthless, ugly, lazy, etc. Always counter any name-calling, insults, and negativity.

5. By saying “no” and asserting yourself. If any of your bullies make any demands of you. You have every right to say no and walk away. Even if they’re putting on the nice act and asking you to do something, you still have that right. Understand that when bullies suddenly turn nice and sweet, you can bet they’re only trying to manipulate you. Also, when they attack you, tell them in no uncertain terms that what they’re doing is unacceptable and that you won’t tolerate it. And there are many ways you can tell them. Anytime you’re assertive, you not only place value on yourself but give the message that there will be consequences if they violate your physical or psychological boundaries.

6. By re-enforcing your truth if bullies deny their abuse of you or try to blame you for it. It’s as simple as saying, “Yes you did.” If bullies deny they attacked you when you know darn well that he/she did, in fact, attack you. It’s also as simple as saying, “Don’t give me that crap,” if bullies try to blame you for their abuse, rationalize their behavior or justify themselves.

Remember! No one can tell you your truth but you. Bullies may take your good name, your opportunities, your physical health, and yes, even your life.

But they can never take your mind from you if you don’t let them. Bullies may try to tell you what to say and do, but they can never tell you what to think.

Your thoughts are the freest commodity you have! And they hold enormous power!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

You Should Always Address Bullying in The Early Stages. Here’s Why:

My grandmother once told me this: “Never. And I mean never let anyone get comfortable with abusing and mistreating you.”

She was right. By the time she gave me that little gold nugget of wisdom, it was already too late. I was in high school and had been a target of bullying since moving to *Oakley School District in the sixth grade. But right then, I understood what my very wise grandmother meant and why she gave me that advice.

Here’s what Uma (what I called my maternal grandmother) had already known by being a people-watcher and very good at people-reading:

Once the mistreatment of a person has gone on for so long, the people around them get comfortable with mistreating that person. They grow so accustomed to being cruel to the person that they don’t even think about, nor do they care about how they hurt that person. Even worse, they come to expect the target the take the abuse without question, without talking back, speaking about it, and without defending themselves.

Put another way, if a target firmly stands up to bad treatment in the early stages of being targeted, it’s more likely that others will respect his right to be treated well and either leave him alone or began treating him better.

Whereas, if the target lets the bullying go on for a long time, then begins to stand up for himself after getting fed up with being everyone’s doormat, others will more than likely be only angry and resentful of the person for daring to open his mouth about it. They will then double down in their abuse or eliminate him somehow.

Once a person gets comfortable in mistreating you, it’s much more difficult to fight. Therefore, always speak out the moment the bullying begins. Never let it go on for any length of time. The sooner you do, the easier it will be to assert your rights and avoid retaliation.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Today’s Quote

“Never confuse self-love with ego, the two are entirely different. A big ego requires a person to think they’re better than others and will put others down to keep that perception. Self-love means you’re your own best friend and that you love, accept, consider, encourage, care for and believe in yourself. Through that, you’re able to do that for others even indirectly by inspiring them to do the same. To be grateful for the gift of a lifetime means to love it… to love you.”

~ Doe Zantamata ~

5 Myths About Bullying We Need to Be Aware of

Myths are often mistaken for fact and obscure people’s judgment. They can also blind us to bullying behavior, even when it’s happening right in front of our faces. Myths can even make it hard for a person to know when someone is abusing them.

Here are a few myths to be aware of:

Myth 1. Targets are weak losers who deserve bullying. People suffering at the hands of bullies are not weak, nor are they losers. In the past decade or so, we have found that bullies target mostly those who are good people with hearts of gold. Bullies are evil people who perceive goodness, kindness, and generosity as weaknesses. Therefore, they target people who have these qualities.

Also, bullies go after those who are multi-talented and star achievers and performers. Understand that bullies perceive these people to be a threat to their power. Why? Because one-upmanship is a way that bullies can feel powerful.

When high-achieving targets outshine bullies, especially bullies who are narcissists, they unwittingly provoke jealousy and narcissistic rage in the bullies, and they will pull out all the stops to make them pay and set them up to fail. If nothing else, understand this! Bullies hate to be outshone, outdone, or beaten at anything!

Nobody deserves bullying. Ever! Bullying is harmful and can destroy someone’s life.

Myth 2. Bullies are brave, strong, cool, exciting, and in control. Ha! Bullies are the opposite of these things. Let me break it down for you:

Bullies are brave. Nope! Bullies are great, big cowards! They’re only good at hiding it. Bullies live by the motto that strength comes in numbers, so they run around in packs- hiding their cowardice behind groups of sycophants or flying monkeys.

You will never catch a bully alone because a bully doesn’t know how to stand alone. The followers of the bullies are there to back them up and do their dirty work. Bullies get their power from an entourage. Without their wing-men to cover them, they would be powerless.

Bullies are strong. ‘Taint so! Bullies are weak, they only high it by aggression, loudness, and false bravado. They instill unnecessary fear into their targets. Understand that bullies draw their power from the fear they instill in others. Bullies are notorious bluffs, blowhards, and windbags. The tough act they put on is a way they hide their weakness.

Bullies are cool. Au contraire! Bullies are pathetic. They bluff, they posture, and they’re notorious one-uppers. They always have to be king of the hill and better than anyone else. All of this is a sign of insecurity and self-loathing. Because if they were secure in themselves, they wouldn’t resort to that buffoonery.

 Bullies are exciting. They may seem exciting at first, but they get boring pretty quick. Because they’ll talk incessantly about themselves, brag, and showboat until you’ll want to chew off your own arm just to get away from them. Also, they won’t be so exciting when they turn on you.

 Bullies are in control: Really? Is that what you want to call it? Um…not! Bullies can’t even control themselves and their own pathetic lives. So, they seek to control others in order to feel powerful. And in doing that, they not only create targets, but they also create enemies who hate them with a passion.

If you’re a bully, you may only control someone to a certain degree by putting the fear of God in them, but you’ll never control what they think of you and how they feel about you. Because the mind and thoughts are free. And if you run across a person who has a strong sense of self and doesn’t fall for your guff, what are you going to do then?

Myth 3. “Bullying is a normal rite of passage that all kids endure.” Not so. There’s nothing normal about bullying. It’s perverse, twisted, and sick. Bullying only speaks volumes of the mental imbalance and lack of character of the bully and is never a reflection of the target. Bullying is always a reflection of the bully’s arrogance, cowardice, insecurity, jealousy, and hidden rage. And the more we learn about the issue of bullying, the more evidence we seem to get that supports this.

Myth 4. Bullying builds character. No, it doesn’t. It tears it down or suppresses it, rendering targets afraid to relax, be themselves, and feel safe.

Myth 5. Bullying is only Darwinism, Natural Selection, or Survival of the Fittest. It may be a dark part of human nature, but a reason doesn’t equal an excuse. Bullies and their enablers often use this little line as an excuse to normalize their despicable and pathetic behavior.

It’s important to dispel and not to fall for these myths. Never blame yourself for other people’s crappy behavior. Hold on to your truth. And if anyone rattles off any of the above lines to you when you speak out against bullying, counter them and do it with conviction.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Personal Story of How I Turned One of My Fiercest of Bullies into The Greatest of Friends

Shelly (not her real name) had been one of my most vicious of bullies during school. Every time we passed one another in the halls, at a ballgame, anywhere and we would not hesitate to exchange nasty sentiments as we passed, “Bitch!”, “Whore!” “Skank!”. Thinking up ways to degrade and slut-shame each other was always a top priority during these little meetings.

Fast-forward twenty years, in late 2007, I went to a karaoke show, which was held in the Moose Lodge club on the outskirts of town to celebrate my recently having the courage to break off what had been a 2 1/2 year-long abusive relationship. I hadn’t known my own strength until this point, and I was ready for a fun girl’s night out.

When I arrived at the Moose Lodge with a few friends in tow, the first word I heard was, “Oh my God! Not that bitch!” Honestly, I thought the verbal assault was directed at someone else until I looked up and saw her. There Shelly stood, pool cue in one hand, the other hand resting on her boyfriend’s back as her eyes and brows narrowed into little slits in her face and bore into me like a sharp object.

I had not seen her in so many years and wondered how it was that she’d managed to drag around so much hate for so many years when I had completely forgotten about her amid juggling bills, a job and family, and other adult priorities. But I also discovered that maybe I too had some unresolved hate as well only it was a case of out of sight, out of mind.

I’d soon learn that that night, Shelly was going through the lowest point in her life. Life hadn’t been kind to her.

It seemed that on her part, even twenty years, marriages and children hadn’t been enough to erase the teenage animosity she still held. We lived in a small Southern town, and in small Southern towns, very few people ever forget the past, and it’s very easy for the reputation you once had in your teens to follow you for the rest of your life. Sadly, this is how it is in a small town.

Having always loved music and had vocal talent, I got up and sang one of my favorite songs, and everyone cheered once I was finished. After I sat down, Shelly sat down beside me and was very impressed with my performance. She told me that she admired my voice and that she’d always known I could sing but didn’t know I was that good. At first, I was flabbergasted. This was the first positive remark I’d heard from her, but nevertheless, I was grateful.

I smiled and gave her a gracious “Thank you. It’s good to see you again after all these years.”

We continued to talk, and she took some pictures out of her purse to show me. Pictures of what was her talent- woodwork and paintings, the most beautiful work I’d ever seen. This lady was very talented, and I couldn’t or wouldn’t deny it. I truly loved her work and could not stop looking at those pictures and complimenting her. She truly was an expert at woodworking and oil painting.

It was at that point that the dynamics of our relationship changed for the better. We exchanged phone numbers and soon began calling each other and texting cute little funnies back and forth. Then we began to invite each other to family outings, cookouts, and meetings in town for lunch.

We soon became the greatest of friends, and I grew to truly love this lady. We often talked about how we missed out on what could have been a wonderful friendship years ago.

“Boy! We were stupid back then, weren’t we?” Shelly laughed.

I laughed and readily agreed. She was right. We were dumb kids with big mouths and bad attitudes.

Knowing the past couldn’t be changed, we were content to go from the present and make our friendship as fun and drama-free as possible.

This story’s moral is this: It is always possible to turn a bully or enemy into a friend. Nothing is impossible. All it takes is to break down that wall and show the other person genuine interest. Everybody loves it when you are interested in them, their likes, and how things are going in their lives—even the coldest and meanest of people.

As humans, we all have a certain degree of selfishness. We all want the same things- to be loved, appreciated, and respected. Everybody has a void waiting to be filled. If we can fill the void- whether it’s by making the person feel loved and respected or giving the person some sense of who they are and where they belong, it can be the difference between gaining a friend or keeping an enemy.

Through our many talks, I found out that this poor lady I thought was so cruel yet totally in control and didn’t need anyone was really a girl who didn’t feel loved by anyone. She was just as sad as I was but had put on a tough exterior. Also, she had suffered incidences of bullying herself; though not as severe as I did, it still hurt her immensely.

positive friends

Sadly, my beautiful friend Shelly passed away two years ago from cancer. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her and think of her. I’ll never forget that night at the karaoke club, the night Shelly and I became close friends. And we remained like sisters until the day she died.

By showing her genuine interest, without fakery, I was able to turn one of my most resistant bullies into one of my best friends. And I’m so thankful that we became like sisters and finally found out that the other was really a great person who had been hiding a lot of past hurts and brokenness! I thoroughly enjoyed the time we got to spend together and I miss her…I miss her so much.

Fly high, Shelly! Until we meet again on those golden streets!

Passive-Aggressive Bullies and Their Cowardice

Being bullied by someone who’s passive-aggressive is the most demeaning and humiliating for a person. I say this because when these types of people insult you, they’re slick about it.

They catch you off guard, taunting you in such a way that it can be tricky to figure out who it’s aimed at. Sometimes, you don’t even know it’s directed at you until it’s way too late for you to deliver a good comeback.

Because the bully may not necessarily address it to you, and while you may be unaware, any bystanders and witnesses nearby will immediately know who the covert nastiness was meant for. It’s funny how we tend to see so much clearer from the outside.

What’s so terrible about this is that the stealthy insults are usually hurled at you in front of an audience and can quickly fly over your head. And you end up looking weak and like a clueless idiot for not catching it in time.

And even though the bully’s words are vague and unclear, they will still nibble at your self-esteem and take a chunk out of your pride whether you want them to or not. Because you usually figure it out sooner or later. It only goes to prove how vicious these covert attacks can be.

But understand that although the bully and a few others might think he (the bully) is witty or cute and that the creep slapped you with a good burn, there are reasons why these types are so slick with the mouth.

1. They’re great big cowards. Passive-aggressive bullies don’t have the guts to make a direct attack.

They hope the insults go over your head because they know that if they can confuse you and throw you off-balance, the least likely you are to jab back with a good counter-attack and make them look like a punk.

2. They think it makes them look cute. Passive-aggressiveness is also used to get attention and look intelligent in front of others. These bullies can only achieve this is to humiliate someone else and making them look (and feel) stupid.

3. To stun you and keep you silent. Often, the shock-value of the insults is such that it often leaves the recipient and bystanders speechless. Shock shuts down the ability to think clearly and causes the victim to pause for a second or two.

The target is often left stunned, standing there with their mouths hung open and unable to respond quickly and appropriately. As a result, the person looks slow and feeble-minded in bystanders’ eyes and makes the bully look smart and witty.

It can also strike fear into the target and keep them from speaking out, afraid that the bully will only verbally beat them down with more wisecracks.

4. Easy Deniability. If the insults are vague and indirect, there’s a higher chance the bully will escape accountability, should the target either catch it right off and either respond to it or report it.

The bully can then more easily misconstrue the message and defensively claim, “Oh, that’s not what I meant,” “No harm intended,” “I wasn’t referring to you,” or “You took that the wrong way.”

Understand that although the garbage that comes out of their mouths may be vile and directed at you, it will often have several different interpretations. And because of those multiple meanings, the bully can very innocently explain away the put-down and make you look overly-sensitive, paranoid, or mentally unstable.

But here’s the good news! There are ways to read between the lines and stonewall these lowlife cowards anytime they get slick-mouthed with you.

1. Listen to your gut. If that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach sounds off and you feel weird or that something is off, don’t ignore it. Your gut feeling is always right, so go with it!

2. Quickly observe any surrounding bystanders. Make a split-second micro-glance of the witnesses and note their reactions and who they’re looking at. Notice their facial expressions and gestures. If you see any of these expressions below, and you’re likely to notice many of them together, you are the target of the insult.

a. If the witnesses’ eyes suddenly widen and they immediately look at you funny after the bully opens his mouth

b. If they alternate uncomfortable glances from the bully to you, then back to the bully.

c. If you hear light gasps and grunts of shock from the “audience.”

d. If you see their whole faces change suddenly and mouths slightly gape open.

e. If you hear soft but derisive giggles, chuckles, or laughter

f. If you see or hear snickering

Any number of these will give you a yes, and you can address the problem accordingly.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Difference Between Curiosity and Nosiness

Antique books with magnifying glass. Old leather bound vintage books in a row

Just last month, my husband and I discussed how people often confuse curiosity for nosiness and we both agreed that the two were different after I told him what I’m about to tell you. And this convo had already given me an idea for a future blog post but I soon forgot about it amid doctors’ appointments, household duties, yard work, and working on several projects and unpublished books.

Then, a fellow blogger and wonderful friend, Kym Gordon Moore, posted about the difference between the two on her own blog. You can find her lovely and insightful post here.

So, what is the difference between curiosity and nosiness?

Simple. Curiosity doesn’t violate anyone’s boundaries, nosiness does (this was my response during the above-mentioned conversation with my husband and I didn’t have to elaborate on it because my husband instantly knew what I was saying.).

In other words, or in the words of Kym Gordon Moore, “Being nosy is prying into other people’s business, meddling, being intrusive, and snooping, oftentimes gossiping about what they find out,”

“…curiosity is more of a desire to learn something new that enhances one’s intellect and not about poking your nose in other people’s business for annoying reasons.”

Her statements were spot on, and I couldn’t agree more!

A nosy person will pry into your personal and private business, trying to get some dirt on you, so they could later spread it to everyone who will listen and ultimately, make you look like a scandalous person. A nosy person will snoop through your mail, your computer- heck! If they can get access to all your social media passwords, don’t think they won’t go there too.

Understand that bullies are such people, and they will be the nosiest of the nosy. Why? Because they’re always and forever on the hunt for anything incriminating and damaging, they can weaponize against you.

Nosiness is invasive. If someone asks you a personal question and you choose not to answer, a nosy person will accuse you of “having something to hide.”

Sadly, this is how bullies trip their targets up and force them to answer. Bullies will use the “having something to hide” line to coerce their targets into giving up the deets even when the target knows that it’s better to keep it private!

When bullies make this accusation, many targets will mistakenly cave in, go against their better judgement, and answer the bullies’ questions, just to prove that they don’t have anything to hide. This is where targets get themselves into trouble.

If you ever find yourself in this predicament, I want you to understand that your refusal to answer isn’t about having anything to hide, it’s about some things just not being anyone else’s business. Realize that you have just as much right to privacy as the next person.

Another thing I want to mention is that bullies will also accuse you of being nosy when you’re clearly trying to learn something new. This has happened to me and, being a young teenager, I fell for the lie and let it have a negative impact on my learning.

Close up of examining of test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in laboratory.

That’s why it’s so important to learn the difference between curiosity and nosiness. Because, when you know this difference, you’ll know when someone is being nosy and intruding into your private business and you’ll be able to counter them with confidence. Also, you’ll be able to confidently defend yourself any time some snake accuses you of being nosy when you’re only trying to learn and educate yourself.

So, in closing, I’ll again give you the short and easily digestible explanations of curiosity and nosiness.

Curiosity- a desire to learn something new that enhances one’s intellect and broaden one’s education. It includes reading, researching, studying, observing, and listening for information that can make you more intelligent and help you grow. Curiosity is non-invasive and non-intrusive. It does not seek to violate personal boundaries or to cause harm.

Nosiness- prying in other people’s personal business. It includes meddling, snooping, asking personal questions, and eavesdropping on other people. Nosiness is invasive and intrusive. It seeks to violate another’s personal boundaries and to cause harm to them.

Learn these differences by heart and you will be better able to counter bullies in any of the above-mentioned scenarios.

With knowledge comes empowerment!