I posted the link earlier and found out from a few bloggers that it doesn’t work. I found that the link does work when I copy the link, then go to a search engine and paste it in the url bar. However, for some reason, it doesn’t work when you click it and try to go directly from this site. Know that I understand your frustration and I’m contacting tech support and working on the issue. Please allow me to apologize for the inconvenience.
Q & A call-in discussion with a survivor-professional, using an OPEN MIKE forum. We’ll feature a survivor-professional co-host who’ll field topics brought to the episode by you, the listener. ~~ Tonight’s special guest will be Cherie White from Covington, Tennessee, an anti bullying advocate and author of three books who uses her own story of being bullied and gaslighted to help those enduring the same abuse today. “When I became a target of severe and chronic bullying as a sixth grader at the age of twelve,” she says, “I began a long lesson in the human predator/prey dynamic and a battle for my dignity, safety, and my very soul.” At first she took the physical beatings, name-calling, and abuse. Cherie was a victim of what is called ‘poly-victimization’. In just six months she went from being a kid who always made the honor roll, to an angry and bitter girl who made only C’s and D’s. “Who could concentrate on schoolwork?” she asks. Cherie attempted suicide at the age of fourteen. “Because I felt powerless, I began to bully those who were even weaker than me in attempts to grab back some of my power.” ~~ On these episodes we welcome various co-hosts, survivor-professionals who’ll assist in fielding questions and lead a variety of topics suggested by our call-in participants. Their trauma-informed perspectives as survivor-professionals will help them guide discussions on the issues of child abuse, trauma and healthy human sexuality that spring from questions and topics brought to us by our listeners. ~~ Everyone’s invited to engage on tonight’s show. ~~ Please visit the NAASCA.org web site.
As I promised a few weeks earlier, I am writing my review on Cherie White’s book, “From Victim to Victor.” It’s an account of how the author endured years of horrific bullying and eventually overcame it and has gone on to lead a full and glorious life. As I read the book, Cherie’s experiences had […]
I’m so grateful to Michael for reading and reviewing my book, “From Victim to Victor: A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying” I am currently reading his book, entitled, “He was Wierd” and will post my review on it when I am finished. I won’t spoil it for you, but what I can tell you is that Michael’s book is such a great read so far. It’s engrossing and so hard to put down!
Thank you, Michael for your readership and review of “From Victim to Victor: A Survivor’s True Story…” . And thank you also for telling me about your book, “He Was Wierd,” and compelling me to buy and read it!
“Max and I grew up in this house. Lord, how it has gone down since we left!” I told my children.
“It’s a shame how people have neglected this place.” My son, Kevin, who sat in the passenger seat, remarked. I could not help but to agree with him.
“You know, I’ve often heard that once a house becomes empty, it falls into disarray and disrepair quickly. I can’t explain it. It’s almost as if it becomes lonely or misses the family that left. I know it sounds strange.” My daughter Skye mentioned.
“I’ve heard that too,” I replied.
Finally, we all got out of the truck and slowly walked across the yard to the house. We each peered into different windows, and the glass was so dirty with a brown film that we could barely see inside. When the kids and I came to the side door just under the old carport, we noticed that it was ajar. So, I pushed it open and called out.
“Hello!” I called as I stepped inside the house, followed by my brood.
I listened and waited but heard not a peep.
“Hellooooo!!!” I repeated louder the second time as we all began to look around.
The wind which whistled through a hole in the window pane in one of the living room windows was the only sound we heard. Slowly, the four of us crept from room to room, exploring until we came to what was once mine and Max’s old bedroom, which was across the vast hall from the staircase.
I stopped in the middle of mine and my brother’s old bedroom and looked around, studying the faded blue walls, the floor, windows, ceiling, and light fixture. I then looked at my children before walking up to one of the walls and placing a hand on it.
“If only these walls could talk!” I said wistfully, “After all these years, the walls still look the same; only they’re faded and worn. My mother painted these walls for Max when she decided that we should have separate rooms and moved me upstairs.”
I turned and focused on the door to the old closet and was instantly overwhelmed with excitement. I rushed to it and opened the door before the smell of cedar immediately took me back. I walked into the closet, reached up to the shelf over the clothes-rack, and began feeling around. I knew that what I had come for had to be there somewhere unless one of the people who had moved in after we left had accidentally discovered it. I hoped to goodness that had not been the case as I continued to feel around.
“I remember Max and I left something here. I forgot where we put it for all these years. But just the other day, it hit me. There’s a cubby hole in this closet, and I need to find something we left. I think it’s above the shelf.” I told my kids.
I stood as high as I possibly could on my tip-toes and reached over the shelf once more, then paused suddenly when I felt a loose board and pushed it into the back wall. I continued to push around the old back wall with my hand until I felt and heard another board fall backward. Suddenly, an ugly grey spider crawled out of the hole and scurried across the shelf, startling me so that I yelped like a scared puppy and jumped back. When the eight-legged creature disappeared into a knothole in the side wall, I resumed my frantic search, feeling around the now-discovered cubby hole until I finally felt something.
“Oh, my God! I feel something! I think this is it!” I cried in excited anticipation.
There sat an old stool in the opposite corner of the bedroom. My oldest daughter, Leilani, grabbed it and brought it to me. I took the seat, sat in on the floor in front of me, and stepped onto it. My eldest son, Kevin, handed me a flashlight before helping to steady me to prevent me from falling.
The house was falling apart and had an intense, musty order. We could hear the old structure creak and pop around us as the outside breeze blew against it. The paint on the walls was not only faded but chipped in a few areas. Cobwebs filled every corner. I did not know what I was feeling. It felt like just another piece of wood. I continued to look and feel around until I felt something cold and hard. I then felt something plastic.
Feeling a huge rush of excitement, perhaps nostalgia, I shone the flashlight on what looked to be plastic packages covered with a thick blanket of brownish-grey dust. I then pulled the mysterious objects from the cubby hole and out of the closet before stepping down from the stool with the aid of Kevin.
“Oh my gosh! It’s still here! After all these years, it’s still here, exactly where I left it!” I gushed, hardly able to believe the objects had sat there untouched for so long.
“What are you talking about, Mom?” Leilani asked me.
“This!” I answered, showing everyone the items which I held in my hands.
I excitedly wiped away the thick cover of dust and moisture from the objects, revealing two sealed Ziploc bags. When I opened them, I pulled out a little toy red caboose from one baggy and beautiful ceramic picture frame, from the other. Minus the dust, an ugly orange-brown residue had discolored the bags, having slowly formed over the years. I slowly turned the caboose and picture frame every which way in my hands, having a good look at them as my children curiously gathered around behind me and looked over my shoulder to watch. I turned the frame face up, and sure enough, there was a picture inside. It felt as if we had opened a time capsule.
The photo was that of a sandy-haired young man holding a huge, golden trophy, surrounded by three middle-school-aged boys and one teenage girl. I covered my mouth as we all gazed at the picture. Leilani gasped as her eyes grew wide as she beheld the frozen fragment of time.
“Mom! Is that you??? And Uncle Max???” She gasped.
“And who’s the dude?” My youngest son Trevor asked.
“Yeah, Mom. Who’s the young man?” My youngest daughter Skye, repeated.
I paused and continued to gaze at the old photo before turning the frame over, removing the back of it and took out the photo, along with a folded piece of paper. I handed the snapshot and frame to Kevin, then unfolded the document to find drawings, beautiful drawings which looked so professional and realistic! Because everything had been sealed, it still looked brand new, having been spared from deterioration and discoloration of age.
As I stared at the artwork, rubbing one hand across the surface of the paper and sitting down on the stool, my throat suddenly tightened, and my eyes filled with clear, hot liquid. Suddenly, an uncontrollable urge to cry overtook me, and I just wailed, putting my face in one hand as my body writhed with each sob. The looks of curiosity on my adult children’s faces turned to those of concern and fear.
“Mom! What’s wrong?” They all asked, horrified as two of them huddled on each side of me and snaked an arm around me.
“Here, Mom! Get up so I can pull the stool next to the window! You need some fresh air.” Trevor urged. I got up, and he pulled the stool over to the window while Leilani threw it open and let the autumn breeze blow in through the old screen and fill the stuffy old bedroom.
I only stood there, as tears streamed down my cheeks before Skye wiped them away with one thumb. I then hugged the photo, toy caboose, and artwork against my chest before lowering my head to begin sobbing once more.
“My God, Mom! What is going on?” Skye asked as she knelt in front of me, getting level with me and placing a loving hand on my knee. My other three children knelt around me, putting their arms around my torso.
“I guess I never told you, did I?” I sniffled.
“About what, Mom?” Kevin asked.
“The story behind these items Max and I hid in the closet thirty-two years ago.” I clarified. And I sat on the little stool next to the open window, heirlooms in hand, and drifted back in time…”
I would have liked these guys to respond to my calls. Originally, last week’s post about whether the police should be involved in bullying incidents was going to be a one off. However, this past week or so, I have been reading the book by author Cherie White titled: “From Victim to Victor.” It’s Cherie’s […]
For those of you who don’t know, Michael was also severely bullied at school and in the town he grew up in. Thankfully, he now leads a happy and successful life with his wife, children, and grandchildren in England. It is my hope that he continues to enjoy peace and happiness and that he has even more success with his book, “He Was Weird,” which is a fictional account of his own experiences with bullying.
I am currently reading, “He Was Weird” by Michael D. LeFevre and will post my own review once I’m finished. Like me, Michael is an overcomer and I’m so proud of him. He is another survivor of bullying who went from victim to victor!
“I guess we just have to wait a little longer.” Marisa resigned.
Sarah and Tess joined us.
“Surely news of the tsunami has been broadcasted everywhere by now. So, our families back home are probably worried sick about us.” Sarah said.
“Probably. It’s just too bad we have no way to get in touch with them and let them know that we’re okay.” Tess said somberly.
An islander came up and put his hand on my shoulder.
“At least we have food! The meat is done and we’re ready to eat.” He said in English but in his native accent.”
“Thank you so much. We owe you such gratitude.” I answered back as we all took turns shaking the man’s hand. The aroma of cooked pork wafted in the air and my stomach growled like an angry tiger as my mouth watered.
We all walked over to the makeshift fire pit as a few natives carved off pieces of the newly cooked meat and placed them on huge leaves for plates. We were all famished after living on one sandwich cracker, one slimjim, one cheese snack, and about four cracker jacks each for the last few days.
We each sat on the ground, huddled together, under the two lean-tos and tore into our individual hunks of meat. We devoured it like it was the last food we would ever get to eat.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but that was the best tasting pork I’d eaten in my life. Having meat in our bellies was the best feeling after eating like birds for three days.
Suddenly, we noticed that everything around us suddenly grew bright as the clouds overhead cleared the sun and the air instantly grew about five degrees warmer. I polished off the meat, then got to my feet and walked over to the cliff.
What I saw was the most beautiful sight!
Now we could see the horizon clearly and it was lined with ships. I looked to the sky to see an entire fleet of helicopters approaching and the distant sound of rotating blades faded in.
Everyone else finished eating and joined me on the cliff as we all jumped up and cheered, grabbing each other and hugging each other tightly.
When the first of the helicopters were finally overhead, we jumped up and down and signaled them, waving huge leaves and articles of clothing in the air as we cheered delightfully!
Dedicated to those who perished during the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami
As we continued to try and get the attention of the people aboard the ship, I finally stopped. One way one, the others also grew quiet and stilled themselves. We noticed that the light on the horizon was growing dim again and we also realized that they were too far away to hear or see us even with the huge fire burning.
“No-no-no-no-no-NOOOOOOO!” I cried, watching the light grow dimmer until it disappeared completely, and raising the volume and pitch of my voice higher with each ‘no’ to the point of shouting in a high pitch.
“No way!” The lady with the dog cried in frustration.
“Dammit!” One of the male tourists shouted as he angrily threw an empty water bottle to the ground, causing it to bounce back up and flip in midair a few times before hitting the ground again and rolling to a rest.
“Forget it, guys! Let’s just go to bed and try again in the morning.” Another male voice said in English.
The islander who had been waving his shirt in the air, threw the shirt to ground, grunting angrily, then turned and walked back toward the fire. The other islanders just shook their hands in disbelief.
Later that night, after everyone crawled into their tents and under their lean-tos, I swatted a few biting mosquitoes, smashing them dead against my skin, then waved away another mosquito that was flying in front of my face. I then heard the tiny, super high-pitched buzz of another mosquito right next to my ear and waved it away.
As the fire continued to crackle softly and the natives who oversaw the turning of the roast continued to take shifts turning it. I got up and handed each of them a bottle of fresh water, thanking them for their hospitality. They nodded at me, smiled, and raised their bottles in appreciation before I nodded back, smiled, turned, and walked back to the lean-to that my friends and I had been lying under, huddled together.
I lay there and noticed that my friends had all fallen to sleep. Except for the soft crackle and pop of the flames, all was quiet. Just then, a thunderous fart pierced the quiet, followed by giggles and cackles. I raised up from my sleeping bag and noticed that the natives around the fire looked around to see where the fart had come from, then looked at each other and laughed. I snickered. Sound always carried at night, and you could hear even the slightest noise.
I then heard distant snoring coming from one of the tents.
Lying down is the last thing I remember that night.
The next I remember; it was daylight and cloudy. The clouds were thick and hung low. There was a fine mist in the air and the humidity was almost unbearable.
Just then, I heard the ever so distant sounds of aircraft and the noise slowly got louder. I jumped to my feet and ran out from under the lean-to. As the drone of propellers and the sound of jet engines got louder still, my friends came running as did the rest of the people.
We begin jumping up and down and yelling, waving shirts, leaves, anything we could get our hands on. By this time, the sounds came from directly overhead and had grown so loud they were almost deafening.
Sadly, the aircraft, although flying low, were totally obscured by the clouds.
The sounds of the planes then began to fade little by little until there was silence again. Sarah looked at me in disappointment.
“If we can’t see them, they can’t see us.” She said somberly.
After we spent time with the mourners and let them know we cared and we were there for them, they expressed their gratitude with kind gestures. Having lost a few loved ones myself, I sat down and gathered my thoughts.
I knew that grief was one big rollercoaster. You’re crying one moment and the next, you’re sitting quiet and in shock. These people, however, were not only suffering grief, but they were also suffering from trauma too, given the cataclysmic way their families and friends had left this world. I just shook my head, unable to even imagine what they were enduring.
I got up and, with my friends, walked back to the lean-tos. I grabbed my backpack, unzipped it, and took out a couple more boxes of Cracker Jacks, and more packs of peanut butter and crackers, cheese snacks and slimjims.
“Breakfast.” I said, handing each of my friends a snack, “Let’s ration this food. I’ll divi it up. Each person gets one sandwich cracker and about five Cracker Jacks, one cheese snack, and one slim jim. Let’s give the rest of the people up here some too. We don’t know when we’ll be rescued. It could be a few days, maybe even a week.”
“Or longer.” Sarah said.
As the morning turned to afternoon, four natives who were in our group went into the rain forest and weren’t seen for several hours. While they were gone. We all helped to gather kindling and built a fire. Several islanders chopped down huge bamboos and began carving the ends of them with their huge hunting knives, making a sharp point on each end.
Late that evening, the four absent islanders emerged from the brush carrying a huge dead boar tied to long, thick bamboo deadfalls. The boar was so huge that it took all four men to carry it. Two men held the beams in the front of the dead hog, and two took up the rear.
“Look! They got food!” One of the tourists shouted excitedly. The men carrying the hog smiled and we all cheered. We were so grateful to the skilled hunters.
As it got dark. The natives built a makeshift spit, put the hog on it, and began to turn it over the fire. After we all thanked the surviving islanders for their hospitality.
We knew it would take several hours for the hog to get fully cooked. Several islanders took turns turning the hog on the spit as it roasted above the huge flames. After it got completely dark, I looked up and saw Tess standing at the edge of the cliff with her back to us and staring out across the water. I took one sandwich cracker and began munching when suddenly, Tess began shouting.
“Hey! I think I see a ship! A ship!” She shouted as she ran a few steps away from the ledge and continued pointing behind her, toward the cliff and ocean below.
We all jumped to our feet and ran to the edge of the cliff. We looked across the vast water and, sure enough, we saw a dim light on the horizon. We all jumped up and down, screaming.
“Hey! Over here! Over here!”
A male islander took off his button up shirt and began waving it in the air. A second male native took a huge leaf, lit it on fire, then ran to the ledge and waved the flaming leaf back and forth above his head.
Ever so slowly, the light on the horizon grew brighter.
It was a beautiful day out on the beach. It was a secluded beach and the only people there besides us were a couple of runners and an older lady walking her dog. But this was what we had hoped for, a beach that wasn’t crowded- where we could get some peace and quiet.
My girlfriends and I planned for over a year to take this vacation and finally, success! We were finally here on this tropical island, basking in the sun and swimming in the clearest, bluest waters we’d ever seen. So, we swam, feeling the cool water caress our bodies and enjoying the waves that bobbed us like fishing corks and pushed us up so high our feet left the sandy bottom, then washed over us before setting us back down.
The sounds were a breathtaking mixture of many crying seagulls and whispering waves. I’d always loved the sounds of the ocean. The sea was something you never wanted to leave, even turn your back on. Arriving here was such a joyful thing. Leaving would be difficult.
But I wasn’t worried about having to leave and go back home to the daily grind. I only wanted to live in the present, to savor every moment of this wonderful vacation. We all did!
Splashing around in the water with my three girlfriends Tess, Sarah, and Marissa, was a blessing and the memories we’d create today would be the stories we’d reminisce about once we were too old to travel. Our goals were to make as many beautiful memories in the here and now as possible and so far, we were accomplishing that goal!
It’s funny how being in water can tire you out so quickly. We finally decided to rest on the beach in our cozy beach chairs and I dozed off to sleep before I knew it. Not a deep sleep, but more like a light doze- that in-between stage between wakefulness and sleep.
I’d been dozing for about fifteen, maybe twenty minutes when suddenly, I was startled out of my relaxing trance by the sound of Tess’s voice.
“Oh, my gosh! Look, girls!”
I sat up in my chair to see Tess pointing toward the ocean and rubbed my eyes to get a clearer look at what she was pointing at. Marissa gasped!
“What the- where did the water go!” Marissa asked, shocked.
It looked as if the waterline, which had only been about ten feet in front of where we all were lying have moved out by maybe a mile or better. You could still see the ocean, but it looked so much further away than it had twenty minutes before. How had all the water gotten pulled out so quickly? The other three girls just stood and stared, not knowing what to make of this phenomenon.
Suddenly, a very ominous feeling came over me as I remembered an article, I’d read years before that wasn’t good. Scanning the vast, wet sand before us, which was dotted with beached fish that occasionally flopped up in the air, I felt my stomach fall to the ground.
“Oh, shit!” I yelled as I jumped to my feet and began frantically grabbing my beach bag and towel.
At that moment, I couldn’t believe my own mouth. I shocked myself with the expletive because I normally didn’t swear, but in this situation, I didn’t care. My girlfriends jumped with the sound of my screaming voice and looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.
“We gotta go! We gotta go NOW!” I screamed!
“What is wrong with you, Lanie!” Sarah asked me, bewildered.
“We’ve got to get the hell out of here! Grab your stuff and let’s go!” I screamed again, this time louder. I looked around and didn’t see the runners, nor the lady and her dog.
My girlfriends obeyed, quickly scooping up their belongings, then followed my lead as we all ran as fast as we could toward the seawall and the parking lot beyond it, where the jeep was parked.
This is a fiction about bullying from the eyes of the protagonist, who witnesses it and the lessons it taught her about the importance of giving people who are different the same dignity as everyone else.
During the summer of 1987, then sixteen-year-old Grace Bradshaw, her younger brother Max, and neighborhood friends befriend Randy Spence, a twenty-one-year-old mentally disabled man with the IQ of a child.
Because Randy is mocked by many in the corrupt small town, Grace, Max and their neighborhood friends take him under wing and protect him while learning hard lessons about the way most people treat those who are different.
Along the way, Grace, her brother and younger neighborhood friends also learn shocking lessons about good and evil.”
A first-person narrative told by a now middle-aged and widowed Grace Bradshaw McGuire to her adult children, “Kids Under the Latch Key” is a heart-touching story of the summer which prompted her to question God and challenged her initial belief that all humans are inherently good.
I’d like to thank Cecile for the feature in “Feature Fridays” section of her blog! She has an awesome blog that deals with all things woman. Please check it out here: https://talezfromabroad.ca/
“I have to say when I posted the article Shifting from Likeability to Connectability: Humanizing the Women Behind the Grind I was blown away at how brave Cherie was to be willing to entrust her insights with a complete stranger. Cherie is the real MVP here this week as I am honored to feature her […]