Friends

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“There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family” 

~ Unknown ~

A Letter to My Bullies: You Were Lessons, Not Blessings

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Much to your chagrin, I’m no longer the naive girl of yesterday, but the wise woman of today. And the beauty of getting older is the wisdom you store up and the realization that you’re perfect just the way you are and always have been. Also, you realize that you never needed certain people in the first place and that certain people don’t belong in your life. You, OHS class of 90, except for two- two people, are “certain people.”

Another great thing about getting older is that you become completely secure in yourself and comfortable in your own skin. You can speak your mind no matter who sees and hears it because you could give less than a damn what others think.

Who are you, anyway? Who are any of you? I’m the only one who can decide who I am. I’m the only one who has that kind of power.

So many people tell me things, and it is people you’d never expect. ‘You know? Those who tell you stories of people you could care less about and regardless of whether you want to hear them? Yeah, those types. Believe it or not, some of them are people you think are your friends.

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Oh, yeah! They stop me in places like the supermarket and the gas station, or when I’m passing through. They tell me that many of you keep up with my social media posts and read my blog regularly. Yep. I know all about it.

So, I don’t doubt that you’ll read this blog post too, so I’m writing this to help you indulge yourselves. Because you only expose yourselves and your obsession.

To be real, I could care less about what or how any of you are doing. Because you were only people, God was teaching me to look out for. You were lessons, not blessings. And the things I take away from having the displeasure of even knowing you are these:

  1. That if I can survive your obsessive bullying and mobbing for six long years, then I can survive anything. Oh, yes! You most certainly showed me my own strength, resilience, and determination.
  2. You showed me the type of people I don’t want in my life, and who aren’t good enough to be in it.
  3. You gave me a much better appreciation for the real friends I have today.
  4. You gave me a thick skin and a fighting spirit.
  5. You gave me clarity- clarity of what I want and what I will and will not tolerate in my life.
  6. You gave me the confidence that when hard times come, they will eventually pass me by, and things will get much better.
  7. You gave me the drive and determination to have what I want out of life and the motivation to work hard and keep going after it until I get it- the commitment to reach success and live my dreams.
  8. You gave me the desire not only to learn and improve my knowledge of bullying and the psychology of predatory behavior but to use what you tried to do to me to protect other innocents from people like you.
  9. You also gave me the ability to spot a liar and faker a mile away in the dark! It’s funny how dealing with the likes of you can give one the ability to point out other liars and fakes without ever meeting them.

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I survived because my determination to remain standing superseded your desperation to tear me down. I survived because the fire inside me burned hotter and brighter than the fire you ignited around my feet.

My efforts to reach happiness and success outmatched your efforts to keep me miserable and in failure. And my strength to keep going was much bigger than the force you expended to stop me. I prevailed against odds that would’ve proved overwhelming for the likes of you.

I graduated because I kept pushing myself and went on living through enormous threats and circumstances under which you wusses would’ve dropped out.  And the thing is, most people would’ve hated you. But I don’t. ‘You know why?

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Because hate is a waste of energy, and I’d rather spend my energy focusing on my goals. I’m too busy working on me and pursuing my own agenda than to hate on anyone. I make it about me. That’s right, class, all about me, my family, and my goals.

(Continued in Part 2…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lesson from “Good Will Hunting”: Know Your Worth

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When I watched the movie “Good Will Hunting” for the first time twenty years ago, the character Will Hunting reminded me a lot of myself during high school- bullied, angry, lashing out at people and would fight at the drop of a hat if someone stepped on my toes. I wasn’t a genius like he was. But still, there’s a moral to the movie.

Will, although uber-smart and talented, had been conditioned to think he was worth less than what he was, hence his working a job as a college janitor at the beginning of the movie. With his smarts, Will could have any job he wanted. He just didn’t know it.

Because this poor kid had a terrible start in life, he had long ago lost sight of his worth as a person. Just as I, and the character Will Hunting, leaned the hard way, you must know your worth to be happy and have a good life. Know that you have value and that you matter because if you’re blind to that, you’ll never be successful at anything.

For example, if you do not know your worth, you’re likely never to reach your true potential. You’ll end up settling for less than you deserve. You’ll sell yourself out in every area of life.

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You’ll settle for crummy dead-end jobs that pay a pittance, dates, and partners you aren’t interested in and friends who treat you shoddily.

As the old saying goes, “If you settle for less, you get even less than what you settled for.”

And that’s the gospel truth because I did that when I was young and got even worse than what I thought I’d accepted. It was all because others had programmed me to believe that the mere crumbs I’d received were the best I could do. And let me tell you, it royally sucked!

That’s what bullying does if you let it!

Fortunately, I eventually scratched and clawed my way out of that mindset, and now live a better and happier life. It wasn’t easy, but it got better once I began drumming into my own head that there was more out there for me and that I deserved a good life as much as anyone else.

Isn’t it time you started getting more of what you want and deserve out of life?

Make the decision today to begin aiming higher! Apply for that 90K per year job you may or may not qualify for. Go ask out the girl who you initially thought was out of your league. Command respect and love from others and return the same to them.
Aim higher than you ever have and watch your life begin to change for the better and become more rewarding!

Don’t Wonder if They’ll Like You, Wonder if You’ll Like Them.

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When you walk in a room, you shouldn’t wonder if the people there will like you, you should wonder whether you’ll like them. Any time you get nervous upon meeting new people, the root of the nervousness is that you’re afraid they won’t like you. Don’t do that! Understand that when you worry about how others will perceive you, you’re taking value away from yourself and giving them too much of it! Not good!

Stop giving people you don’t know the worth they haven’t earned!

That’s right! When you meet new people, they (and you) are starting with a clean slate and as far as you’re concerned, it’s up to them whether they fill that slate with negatives or positives. They must prove to you whether they’re people that you want in your life, not the other way around.

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When you worry needlessly whether other people will like you, you are giving them all your power and leaving none for yourself. And you’ll likely go out of your way to prove to them that you’re worthy of their time. Bullies will sniff that out and they’ll take advantage of you.

Stop! It’s too much work and it’s beneath you!

When I was a young teenager, I did the same because I didn’t know any better. And it cost me! Today, I’m the opposite. When I meet a new person, I wonder if I’m going to like them. If a person wants my friendship and my trust, and my time, they have to earn them.

Be picky about who you allow in your life because you don’t want to let just anyone in! And you don’t want to let them in right away. Observe them first. Note their demeanor and how they carry themselves because it will tell you a lot.

Realize that when you make friends and associates, it’s because you chose them out of a vast number of people you’ve met.

Selectiveness adds value to a person. So, always value yourself.

The Difference Between Bitterness and Acknowledgement of Past Victimization.

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Telling you to “get over it” is typical of bullies. The reason they tell you this is to shame and to silence you. In telling you to “let it go,” bullies make you out to be unstable or a drama-filled person who carries a grudge and can’t leave the past behind.

I don’t hate my classmates. I thank them. Because if it weren’t for my classmates, I might have never found my niche and the thing I enjoy doing the most. In their torment of me all those years ago, they inspired me to become a champion for the bullied, an author of 4 books, and a blogger whose niche is bullying. So, I thank them from the bottom of my heart. In truth, I can never thank them enough.

Here’s the thing. There’s a difference between holding a grudge and accepting that you suffered abuse. You can acknowledge what happened without holding onto bitterness and hate.

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Grudges, bitterness, and hate – unhealthy

Grudges are unhealthy. A person who carries a grudge has anger, resentment, and hate boiling inside them and will often seek revenge. A grudge-holder handles any past victimhood he suffered in very destructive ways.

People who hold grudges only let the past hold them back from growing, from enjoying new friendships and relationships with others, and from success. Because a grudge holder carries so much anger and bitterness, they only repel people who would be potential friends and partners. They only attract more negativity and adversity into their lives.

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Acknowledgment of Past Victimization – healthy

On the other hand, acknowledgment or acceptance of prior victimization and how it hurt you is one of the healthiest things you can do. The person who does this doesn’t hold a grudge and doesn’t hate the people who abused her. She only feels sorry for them.

Survivors who accept the past realize that there can be valuable lessons learned from being a past target of bullying and abuse and often use it as their rocket fuel. Like I have done, they do years of research into bullying and into the mindsets of bullies and the victims they select. They consistently search for answers as to why bullies bully, what bullies look for in victims, and much, much more.

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They then speak out about their experiences and the pain they suffered to bring awareness to the world- consciousness that, yes, such evil does exist. A former victim who accepts the past freely talks of and spreads awareness of bullying and abuse only grows and acquires wisdom. She then uses that wisdom to reach out to others who endure the same or to prevent others from experiencing the same pain she did.

You would be surprised how rewarding this is to a survivor. Through using past pain for good, many survivors have achieved healing and gotten closure. Also, these people often make fulfilling and life-long friendships and connections through their work toward their cause.

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Expect your old tormentors to come for you if you raise awareness

Sadly though, it’s easy to get these two things confused. Former classmates from school have accused me of being bitter and full of hate. They have blasted me for having the gall to speak out and write about the brutality and the vile and downright devilish behavior they displayed years ago. Luckily, I see right through them.

‘You see? Even years after the fact, abusers despise it when you take the pain they caused you the past and turn it into something that can help people. And when you take something that was meant to defeat you and turn it into something that helps others, and only makes you stronger, oh man, do they hate that!

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All that time, they tried to tear you down! All that combined effort! And still! You didn’t drown! You only took it and turned it into something positive, and all that work they put forth to bury you ended up wasted! Understand that bullies become furious when they realize they weren’t able to destroy you.

Anytime you speak out about any past abuse you suffered, it should be not only accepted but expected that your old tormentors will come for you, telling you to get over it. Not only are they angry at you because you didn’t crash and burn, but they’re also very much afraid that you’ll expose them somehow or that you’ll succeed. Don’t take it personally.

Instead, take it as confirmation of their guilt- as proof that they were and still are the ones who have the problem. When old bullies bash you for speaking out, they only out themselves. Don’t let them silence you, nor allow them to stop you from reaching out to those who need to hear your story because you might end up saving a life!

Turn your pain into power! Be a friend and advocate for the bullied!

The Reality Behind Reality Shows (Part 2): How They Get Their High Ratings

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I feel compelled to discuss how these shows get their ratings to give parents who permit their children to watch them, a better understanding of what subliminal messages their child may be receiving.

Sadly, reality shows which receive the highest ratings also have the highest incidences of peer abuse or most commonly called, bullying. Peer abusers (bullies) love drama and are drawn to it like flies to feces! Bullying brings drama…always! The more altercations and confrontations a reality show displays for viewers, the more drama it brings.

More drama means the show is more interesting to viewers. The more interesting the show, the more views the show gets, and the higher the ratings the show receives.

Also, the more drama a certain reality star brings to a show (usually by bullying others on the show), the higher the show is rated, and in return, the higher the star is rated by producers of the show and network executives…all because he/she brings the most drama. For a reality star, this not only guarantees them a spot on the show’s next season but also much higher pay, with producers and execs offering the bullying star hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars!

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This equals great rewards for bullies on the show…rewarding and encouraging despicable behavior! Think Teresa Guidice, “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, or Nene Leakes, “Real Housewives of Atlanta”.

In my opinion, both of these women, who are in their 40’s and 50’s, have shown some of the most queen bee, mean girl behavior of anyone on television. Should they even qualify as stars? I don’t know about anyone else, but in my opinion, watching women in this age group display such girl’s room/locker room antics is sickening and an embarrassment to my generation of women.

This behavior is unbecoming of women of any age but looks downright ugly coming from women of middle age, whom you would think would be a better example to younger females

Parents need to sit down with children and explain that just because reality shows make bullying look glamorous does not mean that bullying is okay. Bullying is anything but glamorous, especially to victims.

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Sadly, high ratings for these shows speak volumes about the society we live in today- that the bulk of society apparently has an insatiable appetite for trash. It is glaring proof that in the eyes of a vast majority, crap is king. It shouldn’t be any wonder that bullying and peer abuse is so globally rampant today.

Parents and grandparents must either forbid kids to watch these types of reality shows or, if they permit them to watch it, they must also explain to the children that just because certain behavior is shown on television, does not mean it is acceptable in real life. We must also stop prioritizing petty and poor values, one of which is the misguided belief that being the most popular, liked, or the toughest kid on the block is what life’s all about.

Books by Cherie White

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Cherie72

The Reality Behind Reality Shows: How They Glorify and Glamorize Bullying

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Reality shows and the present epidemic of bullying.

I believe that one of the reasons that bullying has become so out of control in our schools is because of the overabundance of reality shows on television, which seem to glorify and glamorize the abuse of others.

Shows like, “Bad Girls Club”, Jersey Shore (which I think are the absolute worst), and The Real Housewives franchise, are shows in which people as old as their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s act like middle schoolers in a locker room brawl. Grown men and women, whom you would think would have a modicum of maturity, often resort to name-calling, bashing others, and yes…even hair-pulling, shoving, punching and kicking.

When I see this, a question always comes to mind: “What kind of example and message are these shows and their stars sending our children and teenagers?”

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It’s true that violence has been shown on TV and in movies for decades. However, before reality shows were heard of, TV was not real and kids of my generation understood because our parents never let us forget it. We knew that what we were seeing was only actors playing the parts of fictional characters in fictional shows. Moreover, we were taught not to try anything we saw on TV in real life because it would put us at risk of getting hurt and/or worse. We grew up with the understanding that, “It’s only a television series” or “It’s just a movie” and none of it was real.

Sadly, as television networks slowly run out of ideas for fictional shows and reality shows gradually take over the airwaves, TV is becoming less fictional (and interesting) and is sending the message to kids that bullying is okay, or that you have to be a bully in order to move up in the world…that to get ahead, you have to step over another person. Such a shame!

Most of the biggest reality stars are lousy role models!

Books by Cherie White

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Cherie72

The Worst Thing About Being Bullied

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As a survivor of bullying, people often ask me, “What’s the worst thing about being bullied?” Here are my answers:

It’s the pinned up fear and rage you feel but don’t dare show. It’s the paralyzing social fear that sets in. It shuts you down and leaves you withdrawn from the rest of the world. Once people have bullied you for so long, you become intensely paranoid and suspicious of every person you meet. Any laughter you hear, you automatically think, is directed at you.

It’s the confusion. You know that you should take a stand against the bullies. You know that you should speak out about it, only you don’t know how to do it and you’re terrified that it will only make things worse.

It’s the unanswered questions that play in your mind a thousand times a day. “Why me?” “What have I done to these people” “How do I fix this?” are the questions you have in your head every time bullies surround you and harass you. You know what you want to say to the bullies. “Look! Leave me the &%$# alone!”, you scream inside your head but don’t’ dare say it because you know what’s likely to come next.

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It’s the feeling of loneliness and isolation. When we suffer bullying, not only do bullies smear us to keep us isolated and from making any new friends, but we- WE automatically put up walls of protection to keep other people out, which only reinforces the separation from others.

It’s the loss of your entire personhood. You forget how to smile, how to laugh, and how to have a good time, and how to connect with and interact with others. You’re no longer that vibrant, happy, and healthy person you once were. And each insult, each back-biting rumor, each physical attack, each joke, and each prank cuts a little deeper, chips away at your self-esteem and brings you lower. You feel trapped. You feel as if your bullies are holding you hostage!

Bullies can ruin a target’s life! And they can alter your entire life if you don’t make the changes needed to take your life back.

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I won’t kid you. To get out of the hole that your bullies have forced you in, you will have to work hard.

You’ll first need to get out of that environment (if possible), then change your entire mindset, which means altering your thought patterns, your attitude, and your whole demeanor. And this change won’t happen overnight but may take years.

However, you must be patient and put in the work and time if you want to take back your confidence and your happiness. But I promise you, it will be worth it in the long run, and you’ll be so glad you put in the time and effort!