Don’t Worry About Who Does or Doesn’t Like You

Why? Because liking of any person or thing is always subjective, and no two people have the exact likes, dislikes, tastes, or opinions. Know that there will always be those who do not like you and be okay with it because it bears no reflection on you. We all move in different circles and directions.

It’s just how life works and how we were made.

Continue to love and embrace yourself as the person God created you to be. Continue to enjoy the friends and loved ones you do have and never mind the people you don’t have. They aren’t important.

Embrace your differences because no two people are the same. Accept every flaw and quirk you have. Accept no one’s ignorant, cookie-cutter version of what you should be. You are enough!

Imagine how utterly and downright boring life would be if we were all the same. Imagine a world full of white people, black people, or Hispanics- a world full of people with blonde hair and blue eyes or dark hair and dark eyes- a world full of skinny people…or overweight people- or if everyone had the same tastes opinions or beliefs!

It would be like living in a town where all diners were pizza parlors and served pizza but nothing else. Yuck! I love pizza, but I wouldn’t want to eat that every day!

So love being different. Know that there are people who love you and are begging to spend time with you. And above all else, know that God loves you. You will be alright.

Being a Target of Bullying Will Either Make or Break You

make or break

Being the object of bullies is a hell that only few people can comprehend. If you aren’t careful, it can very easily turn you from a kind and caring human being to one of two things:

1. an angry, bitter. distrusting and mean-spirited person

2. a sad, sullen, and withdrawn individual.

Bullying can either make or break a person. Sadly, so many people end up broken. But I want you to know that it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you continue to practice self-care, chances are that, although as painful as it may be, the bullying you suffer will not have as much of an impact as it would if you give up on yourself. So don’t – I repeat – DON’T give up! EVER!

I’m living proof. I’m a very happy, healthy, and successful adult. But if you knew me during high school, you never would’ve thought that I would ever make it as far as I have.

The bullying didn’t break me. It made me! I consciously chose not to let it break me, and you, too, have that choice.

Being bullied is never good. But it not only made me a stronger, more resilient, and compassionate woman, it also motivated me.

It gave me the drive to pursue my goals and dreams. It gave me a purpose. That purpose is to spread awareness of the bullying epidemic, which seems to be sweeping the globe. It gave me the drive to become a published author and be a voice for those who are too afraid to speak out.

If you have a dream, there will be people along the way who will do their best to discourage you because if you flourish, it’ll be as if you’re holding a mirror up to them and showing them a reflection of their own pathetic lives.

No matter how others may treat you, you must continue to follow your dreams and do it because it makes you happy. Never dumb yourself down to make someone else feel better about themselves.

Instead, mute the voices of these toxic people and get them out of your life (if possible) as quickly as you can. Then, continue to go after and achieve your goals because life is too short, not to.

You only get one shot at life. Make it count! Do what fulfills you and live life to the fullest! You can do it!

What It Feels Like to Be a Target of Bullying- What I Did to Compensate

the sad girl has problems with mockery and bullying at school.

Being a target can be a lonely and terrifying existence. Because of the intense hatred people spew daily, you walk on eggshells because you don’t know what the bullies and their minions will do next. They could physically hurt you, or worse. You also feel desperate to correct what is wrong, but you have no clue what it is.

So many targets today can easily relate to my story. With that said, I want to tell you that if you are or have been a target of school bullies, you are not alone, and you will eventually overcome your tormentors just like I did.

I was one of those targets who rebelled against the bullies and fought back. To keep my self-esteem from completely tanking, I dressed my absolute best, but still, it was not good enough for me. I wanted to dress like a million bucks for school. Clothes from Walmart just were not good enough. I had to go to the mall, Cato, Tempo, Maurice’s, or Hollywood’s, before I was satisfied. I was not happy unless I was dressed to the nines at school.

I had to be very well dressed because I was still quite a bit insecure inside. I didn’t feel like I was worth anything unless I was dressed to impress. One of the thoughts which consumed me all during high school was how to dress like a fashionista.

It had a lot to do with how poorly I was being treated, and I continued to believe that the better I dressed, the better I would be treated although, the exact opposite would occur, arousing even further hatred and contempt.

Nevertheless, I absolutely had to be dressed in the hottest fashions, or I just did not feel adequate. The more they put me down, the more I would dress up. I felt that my attire was providing me a sense of not only style but control.

Some mornings, I would dress up, look at myself in the mirror and think,

“So they think I am trash? They must be blind. Does this look like trash? I think not! I know I’m hot, and they are not going to convince me otherwise!”

Does this sound arrogant? Conceited? Maybe. Does this sound downright narcissistic? Perhaps. Was it the right attitude to have? Both yes and no. My defense was to act conceited like I didn’t need any of them.

This holier-than-thou attitude, however unattractive it might have been, helped me preserve what little self-esteem and dignity I had. It helped me to keep going when things were at their worst. It helped me to keep from being totally brainwashed and reprogrammed by my evil classmates, unlike a good majority of other bullied targets, who, sadly, wasn’t that fortunate!

I walked around with my nose in the air and refused to speak to any of them. I had a sassy and smart alicky attitude. I was extremely sarcastic and had a snotty disposition. I even laughed at and bullied others to grab back some power. My attitude stunk – period.

Sure. This same attitude could have also very easily gotten me hurt or worse had my bullies known for certain about it. Many of those girls carried knives, especially those from families of criminals and ex-cons, families who were dirt poor, or just plain loco. Sadly, that was over half of the student body.

I have no doubt that they would not have thought twice about whipping a blade out and slicing my face with it if they could have gotten me in the right place, and I would have had to wear it for life.

However, this arrogance I often displayed was the only way I knew to stay strong and maintain a little bit of poise. I was only a teenager and had not yet fully developed the concrete thinking skills or processing ability to handle my situation more objectively. Back then, I was a slave to my emotions, and I let them guide me in handling people and situations.

Also, I was under a tremendous amount of stress and had been for the last three years. And when anyone, even the most logical and rational person, is under a large amount of stress that lasts over a long period of time, memory, emotional regulation, and ability to maintain positive relationships are negatively affected. Therefore, neurologically, I had two strikes against me- a double-whammy.

From the sixth grade up until I left Oakley, I was constantly in survival mode due to being bullied and had to be to protect my personal well-being. To even make it to graduation, I had to be hyper-vigilant to be safe. You must understand that when you are a target of vicious bullies, it is as if you constantly have a target on your back. You are a marked person, and you learn very quickly to grow eyes in the back of your head.

And it’s no way to live. Please feel free to comment on your experiences and what you did to cope.

Suicide is Never a Solution (Part 4)

(Continued from Part 3…)

In the previous segments of this post, I discussed how you should never let it push you to take your own life despite how beat down by bullying you may feel. For this last segment, I’d like to give you advice on how to overcome those feelings.

First, be positive and take charge!

Make their bullying your motivator and become that much more determined to live—to live a happier, more peaceful, and more successful life. Spend as much time as possible doing the things you enjoy and being around the people who love you the most- positive people who lift you up and make you feel awesome. Caring people. Loving people. The happier you are, the less the ignorant actions and words of any bully will affect you.

Always look your best—for yourself, not for anyone else. Always do your best at any task—so you know, no matter how it turns out, that it represents all you can do—excel in your studies and pursue your interests and talents, whether art, music, sports or anything else that you do well. Do what makes you feel good about yourself, just as long as it causes no harm to another person.

It’s okay to feel emotion when someone hurts you, but don’t get wrapped up in self-pity, no matter how bad things get. Be angry. Be sad. Cry, beat a pillow—do whatever you need to let those emotions out because you certainly don’t want to hold them in. But never dwell on them. Get out of that hurtful place as soon as you can to protect your confidence and self-worth.

Be a positive person! Be kind (without being a pushover, of course). Meet new people. Interest yourself in others and what’s going on in their lives—folks love you if you are genuinely interested in them. Let them talk about themselves, their hobbies and interests and listen to them. While they are talking, listen with your eyes focused on them. People love someone excited about them.

Show genuine interest in what they tell you about and get excited about their dreams. Be happy for them when they achieve those dreams and wish them well. Smile and greet people, calling them by name. Doing this will eventually make you lots of friends and live down any bad reputation caused by bullies.

That’s how I did it. I no longer have the horrible reputation I once had. I have such an awesome little circle of friends today and I couldn’t be more grateful. I’ve also won over a few of my former bullies from school. That’s right. Some of the people who once bullied me in school are now some of my closest friends!

I did it by taking my focus off of myself and acquiring a genuine interest in others. I did it by replacing hate, contempt, and bitterness with love, acceptance, and forgiveness. I did it by loving myself and seeing my own worth as a person. I quit worrying about what others thought of me, and I made my goal to do the right thing always.

Did that make everybody like me? Of course not. But instead of concerning myself with what others think or do, I focus on how good I make others feel about themselves. Did I put a smile on someone’s face, someone who would otherwise be sad? Did I make a difference in the life of at least one person today? Did I restore someone’s hope? Was I the difference in someone deciding against taking his or her own life?

I hope so!

None of this will be easy by any stretch. But build yourself up by building up others. Meet new and interesting people and connect with them. You’ll be surprised how having those people in your life will push aside your experiences with the bad and turn things around for you. You have too much to experience and too much good to offer. So get out there, do your best, make a difference, and enjoy each and every day for the gift it is!

Suicide is Never a Solution (Part 3)

(Continued from Part 2…)

Rest assured. I understand what it’s like to be driven to such a dark and awful place. When I was young, bullied, and felt completely alone, I attempted to take my own life. It was one of the most terrible things I’d ever considered. So, I want you to know I really do understand your pain and your desperation to get out of the corner you feel your bullies have backed you into.

When I think about that time in my life, I get mad about it- damn mad- and not only at my bullies for driving me to such a place, but mad at myself for allowing them to do it. I can’t even pretend it’s all their fault.

In hindsight, I never should have made that attempt on my own life. All that would’ve happened was that the people (bullies) who called me names and thought I was stupid, weak, and beneath them would have concluded that they were right. Instead, I should have wanted to live, if for no other reason than to piss them all off.

I fought like hell to hold on to my pride, dignity, and self-respect. And most importantly, I lived through it, and eventually, things changed for the better. I lived to write and publish four books and begin a blog, which is only my way of turning what was once a very negative experience into a positive outcome, and help people who are suffering as I did.

If I had it to do over, the most important change would be that I would have worked on myself. I would have gotten busy practicing and honing my talents, and I would’ve been unafraid to display those talents. I would have entered talent shows and writing contests, winning all sorts of prizes! I would have begun striving toward self-improvement and a deeper understanding of both what was happening to me and of the world and people around me.

If you’re reading this and you’re in the same gawd-awful place I was then, let me tell you something: You are not a terrible person! You are a fighter, and if you remain tough long enough, you will emerge a winner! I can guarantee it! So don’t give up! Don’t quit! As long as you keep living, you keep fighting. And as long as you keep fighting, you’ve already won.

You just don’t know it yet.

Suicide is never the answer. Never! I didn’t realize then that I was playing right into my bullies’ hands. I was giving them exactly what they wanted— they were already out to destroy me, and I was making it easier for them.

Now that I know better, there will be a cold day in Hades before I’ll ever let another person drive me into that rabbit hole again. Instead, I will only be that much more determined to keep living, counting my blessings, and enjoying the good things in life.

There is beauty in life if you look for it.

(Continued in Part 4…)

5 Things You Can Do to Lift Your Spirits

We all have days when we feel down in the dumps. Fortunately, there are things you can do to remedy your situation and chase those doldrums away!

1. Listen to good music – There’s nothing that cures your ills like boogying down to some good dance music or rocking out to the sounds of your favorite rock bands. There something about music that makes us come alive and want to get up and move! So, put on some good tunes and shake your butt!

 2. Go for a walk – Going on a good nature walk on a beautiful Spring day lifts the spirits and feels so good. Walking is also one of the best exercises there is, so, there are physical health benefits to it as well.

 3. Indulge in your hobbies – working on and completing your hobbies brings out your creative side and gives you the feeling of success and accomplishment. It gives you pride in yourself and in your abilities. And who doesn’t love that?

 4. Surround yourself with your favorite people – Being around the people you love, who love you, and who lift you up feeds your soul like nothing else. When you get together with your loved ones, you know you belong, and you get that much needed sense of belonging and togetherness.

 5. Fix yourself up – As the old saying goes, when you look good, you feel good. When you take pride in your appearance, it shows. Looking your best has a way of building your confidence and your self-esteem. And it also has a way of spreading to others.

The good thing as that you have options. Do any one of these things and watch your mood skyrocket in just minutes. You’ll be glad you did. I promise!

The Survivor of Bullying

The survivor of bullying who escapes the abuse first comes out with shock, anger, and sadness. But once the healing is underway, they’re filled with renewed hope.

When school or workplace bullying experiences have exposed you to the darkest sides of human nature, you have a stronger sense of your own endurance and capability. This is all because of what you have endured and were able to overcome.

You never know your own strength until you’ve overcome bullying, especially severe and chronic bullying.

Another takeaway is that the survivor has a stronger sense of people. She can smell fakery and BS from a mile away and can spot bullies before even talking to them. The survivor pays closer attention to how people carry themselves, body language, and the vibes and energy others put out.

survivors x-ray eyes

He is better able to avoid people who might want to harm him because he’s learned, the hard way, the importance of listening to his gut instinct and heeding it anytime something is even the slightest bit “off” about a person. In short, the survivor of bullying has learned that it’s okay, even paramount, that he trusts himself, and in that, his feelings and judgement.

On the other side of bullying, a survivor learns and develops the determination never to conform to the standards and criteria of others, but to live life on her terms because she knows what it’s like to be a slave to the approval of others. She knows what it’s like to be a prisoner to outside influences. She knows the powerlessness of having one’s pleasure depend of the permission of others. She knows what it’s like to be forced to apologize for simply being who she is and she’s not having any of it!

Overcoming past abuse gives the survivor a restored and refined sense of his worth and knowledge of the immense value he brings to this world. He awakens to his goodness and realizes that yes! He is worthy of love, friendship, affection, and of all the best things in life. He also realizes that he is loved and always was no matter what all those vile people told him!

The survivor of bullying ends up with a much clearer vision of what she will not tolerate nor settle for. She is unmovable in her refusal to kiss arse or bow down to anyone no matter what the cost may be. She’s spent enough years living on her knees and if she’s going to be punished for her unwillingness to kowtow, she’ll suffer those consequences standing up.

The survivor of bullying is also a fierce warrior for other victims. If he sees another person being bullied, he’s will stand up for that person and go toe to toe with the bullies to protect the target.

The survivor who has overcome bullying isn’t afraid to say no, nor to walk away from any relationship that doesn’t fulfill and nourish him. He refuses to be stuck in any environment that doesn’t allow him to grow and flourish.

The survivor is more aware than ever of what she deserves and goes after it with resilience and tenacity. Life’s given her enough of what she doesn’t want and now it’s time for her to go get what she knows is due her.

The survivor realizes, probably more than anyone, that life is short, and you only get one shot in this world. And she works diligently to create the life she knows she deserves, and she does it without guilt. She knows that she’s not entitled nor privileged. She realizes that the big bad world owes her nothing. And that’s okay.

The survivor realizes that there’s no such thing as a free ride because, heck, no one ever gave him anything but hell. What he understands more than anything as that all you have is you and the only person you can depend on is you. So, he knows that reaching his goals and dreams is up to him and him alone. And he works toward what he wants with a fervor.

The survivor of bullying makes it a point never to take anyone for granted but lets her family and friends know that she loves and values them. Why? Because she knows what is like to be alone, unwanted, and abused and she would never want anyone- especially the people she cares about feel that way or endure it.

The survivor of bullying savors every wonderful moment, every positive encounter, and every happy event because he has seen enough negativity.

What the survivor enjoys more than anything else is wonderful relationships and happy moments, and most of all, she’s grateful for them. She also enjoys helping others who go through what she once endured. And she uses her experiences to encourage them and give them hope.

Sometimes, you must be torn down to be built up again. Sometimes you must first be dejected and left lonely before you can truly appreciate the family and friendships you have later. And sometimes, it takes being forced into the chains of others’ approval and validation before you can enjoy the freedom of self-love and the indifference to the opinions of those who don’t matter and, perhaps, never should have mattered.

Bullying Will Diminish the Target’s Ability to Trust Him/Herself

Why? Because the target’s judgement, decisions, and feelings are constantly attacked, negated, and condemned by others. When a target is bullied, they’re taught that, although the abuse they suffer is painful, they either shouldn’t feel, or they have no right to feel that pain because they’re to blame for the abuse they suffer.

Targets are conditioned by bullies, bystanders, even people in authority, friends, and family to just suck it up and negate their own painful feelings. In that, they’re trained either not to understand or to deny their own suffering and that bullies and others are abusing them.

Targets are trained to believe that other people’s vile behavior is their fault and that something is wrong with them, otherwise the bullying wouldn’t be happening to them. Targets are also taught that everything that goes wrong is because of them. In short, they’re taught that the abuse they’re getting is somehow justified.

As a result, targets often withdraw because they become afraid that they’ll only attract bullies and bullying behavior from the people around them. As a result, targets are left feeling confused and inadequate.

Targets are made to think that:

They take things wrong.

They’re too sensitive.

They asked for it or had it coming.

There’s something wrong with the way they are.

There’s something wrong with the way they express themselves.

There’s something wrong with the way they come across to people.

Therefore, targets stop believing in themselves. Even worse, they lose trust in themselves, their abilities, and their capabilities. And once this happens, they become perfect victims for bullies.

Understand that targets suffer many attacks to not only their physical body, but also their psyche and their emotional being.

Even worse, their very souls are tired, their spirits broken, and they don’t understand their own pain nor why they feel it inside.

Being a target of bullying is a hell that no one who hasn’t been there can possibly comprehend. When you’re bullied, you’re in the fight of your life, and for your life. And when I say fight for your life, this doesn’t only means fighting to stay alive, although it can.

“The fight for your life” can mean fighting for your self- esteem. It can mean fighting for your personal power and dignity. It can mean fighting to keep your confidence up and self-esteem from being broken so that the abuse doesn’t affect your grades, performance (at school or work), or worse, your ability to make smart decisions and life-choices. You’re fighting to keep the abuse from effecting your entire future. Most importantly, you’re fighting to maintain your health and your sanity.

Because you’re very much aware that if you allow these people to cause you to lose any of the above, then you unwittingly give them power over your entire life and every aspect of it. You may not end up dead, but you won’t really live, you’ll only exist. And that’s no way to live!

No matter what happens, stay strong. Hold on to everything mentioned above, or as much of it as possible. And most of all, know that there are people out there who care.

When You Look into The Face of a Target of Bullying

You see the anguish- the desperately yearning to belong.

You see the hopelessness and despair- the wondering if things will ever get better.

You see the fear- the knowing he/she could be physically or psychologically attacked at any moment, or many even killed.

You see the sadness- the wanting to cry but not daring to for fear of looking weaker than they already look to others.

You see the determination- the determination to survive another day.

You see the silent pleas for help- help that is being denied and seems to never come.

You see the lack of trust in humanity- because the person has been let down too many times. How can that trust be restored?

You see the exhaustion- the weariness of the constant battle they face.

Lastly, you see the yearning for peace- the desperately wanting the war to stop so they can relax, breathe, and not have to fight anymore.

What Both My Very Wise Grandmothers Once Told Me About Knowing Your Worth- And I Never Forgot It!

“Love is like a fart. If you have to force it, it’s probably shit.”

~ Unknown ~

I just finished a romance novel about forbidden love. It took me back to a conversation with both my grandmothers when I was a teenager and before I even started dating. I was only fourteen, yet I was old enough to understand every word they told me.

Having both grown up during the Great Depression and been daughters of farmers, my grandmothers only had fifth-grade and seventh-grade educations, yet they were geniuses in common sense and street smarts!

As they sat together, sipping coffee and having just finished a card game, my maternal grandmother told me the story of how my grandfather cheated on her many times but only dropped the other woman in the end. She also told me how she ended up divorcing him. After she told me the story, these were her words:

“Never, ever have an affair with a married man because you only settle for second place when you do, sweetheart. You decrease your value as a woman when you go with another woman’s husband- you cheapen yourself. Wouldn’t you rather find your own husband and be his one and only?”

Naturally, my answer to that question was an emphatic “YES!”

She continued:

“When a woman dates a married man, she decreases her worth as a woman- and she does it immensely. She is reduced to the lowest common denominator. She lives on the fantasy and false promise that the man will leave his wife for her. In most cases, he doesn’t. She only waits, with bated breath, wasting her valuable time on someone who doesn’t deserve her love let alone his wife’s. Philanderers don’t change. And if he does leave his wife and marries the mistress, he’ll only eventually cheat on her too. When you have an affair with a married man, you sell yourself short. You set yourself up for a huge letdown later. You deserve to have someone who isn’t already committed and who you can call your own.”

“That’s right.” My paternal grandmother agreed. Then she began to speak.

“And never ever throw herself at a man, or worse- crawl up behind someone who doesn’t want you. I see a lot of young girls in your age group doing this and the only thing it does is make them look desperate. And the guys they chase only get an ego rush from it, them sit back with the buddies and laugh at the girl behind her back. Now, I know you haven’t begun dating yet, but I want to let you know now, so that you’ll avoid these pitfalls when you do begin to date.”

As my paternal grandmother, a widow, spoke her words, I listened attentively and my maternal grandmother nodded in agreement as she looked at me with those beautiful, wide, but serious eyes.

Now before I go on, I realize that times have changed since I was a young girl and that I may offend a few “woke”people out there who may accuse me of using stereotypical gender roles and such. However, this is the conversation we had. So, for those of you who are thinking about sending me a flamer about how “politically incorrect” this post sounds and that I should be more “gender neutral,” do not!

Don’t waste both your time and mine by trying to “school” me on the unwritten rules of identity politics because I’m not interested! This post isn’t about identity politics.

What it is about is a conversation between me and my grandmothers thirty-five years ago, and how it positively impacted me. It’s also about knowing your worth as a person and the importance of self-value, which, sadly, is in short supply in people these days.

Getting back to the subject, my grandmothers sure knew what they were talking about. They were two of the smartest and socially savviest women I knew. God rest their souls, I considered them life-geniuses! They were both masters at human nature and the hidden motivations and intentions of people!

Our little talk really made an impression on me that day.

I never forgot that conversation and continued to live by it.

The small town I lived in back then was a very Peyton place. I can’t count the stories I’ve heard of the many local people who dabbled in such relationships. No wonder the vast majority of the people in Oakley, TN were such miserable and bitter souls.

My point to the above story is that no matter what relationship you choose, heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise, you should always know your worth. You should value yourself enough not to even begin a relationship with someone who’s already taken. Know that there are always better options.

I say this not to judge anyone, but to convince them to see that they’re worth so much more than they think- more than being a side-partner to some creepy toad who doesn’t value women, (or some shameless strumpet who takes men for granted).

The same goes for men who have affairs with married women or settle for fem-toads who either don’t value them or who cheat on them. You must start treating yourselves better!

When you date someone who’s already in a marriage or committed relationship, you set yourself up to play second fiddle. To be okay with lapping up someone else’s sloppy seconds? Yuck! Why would you settle for that pathetic crap?

Here’s something else I’ll bet you haven’t thought of. If you have an affair with someone else’s romantic partner, you might as well be wearing their underwear! Egads!

If you don’t learn to value and be true to yourself, how do you expect a potential partner to value and be true to you?

You value yourself by getting absolutely clear on what you will not settle for and what you won’t tolerate. You value yourself by avoiding such partners who are known for cheating on their significant others. You also value yourself by avoiding any toxic person, commanding respect, and being selective of friends and even choosier of dating and romantic partners.

Know that you deserve so much more. You deserve to be one and only in someone’s life and that should be non-negotiable. Anything less than that is unacceptable!