Excerpts to the upcoming book, “A Mile in Charlotte’s Shoes” – Bullying, Social Politics, and the Power Dynamic. (Part 2)

Part 2

…Middle school and high school were periods of time during which- right, wrong, good, bad, ugly or indifferent everything, according to everyone in that awkward age group, was shameful and the definition of what was good or bad (or cool) became blurred and not so clear anymore.

It was a time when you were too weird, too straight-laced, too smart, or not smart enough. You were either an evil monster or a goodie-two-shoes, too stoic or too sensitive! Your nose was too crooked, too long, or too short. Your skin was either too clear, too blotchy, too pale, or not pale enough. Your hair was either too long, short, straight, or curly. You were either too skinny or too fat. Your clothes were either overly flashy or much too drab.

Charlotte would often think, “Lord! Can everyone just make up their minds, for crying out loud?” It was all so confusing!

There were things about Charlotte her peers could not wait to nitpick, things which were either beyond her control, chosen at random or completely fabricated. And she wondered why all this trivial crap even mattered.

The world had suddenly become one big and twisted soap opera. And it was obvious whom the biggest stars of this proverbial daytime drama were.

They were the best actors- the best liars and fakers!

Charlotte noticed that anytime she heard a member of the in-crowd tell a bad joke, the rest of the class would only laugh that fake laugh people always used whenever the corny joke was told by someone whose ass they wanted to kiss.

What those suck-ups never realized was that they only degraded themselves by replacing their true laugh with one that was counterfeit. Charlotte could only imagine how furious the so-called cool kids would be if they only knew the rest of the class were only patronizing them.

It was all akin to playing a card game with an opponent and ‘letting them win’- just another form of deception.

All that kindness and consideration shown to the so-called top dogs was only for purposes of vanity and due to their high positions in the school social hierarchy. The rest of the student body most certainly did not like them for them and most of those who were not in the in-crowd were wise enough to see it.

All this drove Charlotte nuts! At times, she would wonder, “How in the blue blazes am I the one who was always in the wrong?”

It was a system that was one big freak show and one Charlotte had no desire to be a part of. Sadly, this attitude would be to her detriment. She learned the hard way that if you want to get along in this thing- this maze called Life, you had to play along!

The thought of it was enough to make her shudder. No way did Charlotte want to be patronized or pacified! She detested liars and fakes and preferred to be told the truth. This kind of fakery was an insult to the recipient!

These were Charlotte’s thoughts:

“If you want a reaction out of me, then you damn well better deserve it!”

When she would hear some moron tell a corny joke, Charlotte would only roll her eyes instead of laughing and as a result, everyone else would take her silence and lack of interest as a direct insult and escalate the harassment.

Charlotte had nothing to say to any of them. Every day, she would pass them in the halls and look right through them instead of at them. Naturally, this was an even bigger insult because it seemed they expected her to bow-down and lick their boots like most of the other kids did.

And many of her classmates did believe they were better than Charlotte and that she owed them complete homage and submission to their will and every whim.

They saw themselves as an authority over her- higher than her and how dare she not acknowledge their superiority! Kids who were considered on the lower end endured those proverbial gut punches every single day!

With every misstep she took, Charlotte would feel the flaming hot coals of ridicule scorch the soles of her feet!

But as painful as it was, she would much rather have resisted her bullies rather than acknowledged them, much less make any effort to appease them or worse, seek their approval. Charlotte was way past crawling up behind anyone and she already knew where it would get her.

In the past, it had always seemed that the harder Charlotte tried not to be a target- the more effort she put into being “normal”, the worse she would fail. She was either being fake or being arrogant and uppity, and only certain kids could be uppity and get away with it.

At Beulah High School, you either knew your place or you were put in it. If you were on the lower ranks, daring to show any confidence or backbone could be dangerous. Because if you weren’t good enough, those in the upper echelons of the social order expected, even demanded that you kept your head down.

The bottom of the stack was like a raging torrent and the harder Charlotte struggled to reach the surface and get her head above water, the stronger the current, and the deeper it seemed to suck her down.

Therefore, Charlotte had long given up on trying to be like any of them because it was too much work and she had no time for it. She’d be damned if she was going to lie to herself just to win their approval! Forget that noise! She was through with false impressions! She just could not bring herself to do it.

Why? Because all of it was only wasted time, effort, and energy. If you were on the bottom floor, the reality was that the harder you tried to make friends, the harder and further people pushed you away. You were too desperate, too clingy, or too oblivious to how negatively you came across to people and the worst part was that there was no way to fix any of it without knowing what was broken.

And they would never tell her what it was because they didn’t know either. All they knew was that they hated her and couldn’t wait to pick her apart piece by piece.

Bullies Don’t Accept Anyone Different from Them. What is Hate-Transfer?

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You’ve heard of addiction-transfer- when an addict replaces one addiction with another (for example, the addiction to food is replaced with an addiction to alcohol). But what about hate-transfer?

Here’s an explanation. I’ll use my school bullies as examples.

Many of my bullies in high school were stone-cold racists. However, they couldn’t express that hate to minorities because even during the ’80s and early ’90s, open racism was taboo. So, they simply replaced that hatred with that of the mentally ill and disabled, the indigent and out-of-town people.

I know they were racists because, on many occasions, they bullied me because having been a military brat and been around people of all races and creeds, I had no qualms with associating with people of all races. I accepted everyone because I’ve always believed we are all one race- the human race!

However, in Oakley, Tennessee, people frowned on this and not only people of my race but others as well.

hypocrite hypocrisy double standard

I also overheard many private conversations among girls in the bathrooms. They’d make disgusting racial slurs and put down other races among themselves within the privacy and secrecy of their group, then in public, smile and give a friendly pat on the back to the very people they put down earlier. Sheesh! They would act like they were their best friends.

But wait! There’s more!

However, they were openly hateful to the kids in the Special Ed classes, who they referred to as “the retarded kids.” They also publicly bullied kids who were dirt poor and kids who weren’t originally from Oakley. And if you were gay back then, you never let it be known at Oakley High School.

You see, people such as these have to have someone to bully. If they can’t bully other races, they will bully the poor and destitute. If they cannot bully transexuals, they will bully the mentally disabled.

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But wait! There’s more!

However, they were openly hateful to the kids in the Special Ed classes, who they referred to as “the retarded kids.” They also publicly bullied kids who were dirt poor and kids who weren’t originally from Oakley. And if you were gay back then, you never let it be known at Oakley High School.

You see, people such as these have to have someone to bully. If they can’t bully other races, they will bully the poor and destitute. If they cannot bully transexuals, they will bully the mentally disabled.

That is what hate-transfer is.

It’s having a hatred of anyone different from you but staying in the “safe zone” by only discriminating against those who aren’t as “protected.”

Prejudice against anyone should be illegal, and it is. However, bias against the poor or mentally disabled isn’t near as evident as bias against someone from a different race because anyone from any ethnicity can be poor or mentally incapacitated.

And skin color can be seen with the eyes. Poverty and mental disability are sometimes invisible to the eyes. You can be poor or have a mental disability. People can even know or suspect you may be poor or mentally disabled. But you don’t necessarily have to look that way.

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Sadly, to have legal protections, your uniqueness to the majority must be seen with the eyes, and even then, it’s no guarantee you’ll have those protections.

Understand that most seasoned bullies hate anyone different from them. But they only harass the groups who have less legal protections and are “safest” and more socially acceptable to bully!

The more you know.

HATERS – Only The Best Have Them

bullies haters hate ignore the

Bullies? Haters? Whatever you want to call them, they’re the same. As the old saying goes, “Haters Gonna hate.” And they do, with great intensity.

But why?

Here are your answers:

Anyone who does good for themselves is bound to have a pack of haters sniffing and yapping at their heels. There’s a reason that people have made the word itself an acronym.

1. H- Having
2. A- Anger
3. T- Toward
4. E- Everyone
5. R- Reaching
6. S- Success

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Haters hate because of their own insecurities. They’re the type of people who resent everyone who dares to do better than them. And they’re everywhere! You see them at school, in the workplace, in the neighborhood, and even in the family!

Haters are people who go out of their way to make you feel bad about yourself. They badmouth you, discourage you, give scathing reviews, undermine your achievements, and sabotage you to slow down or stop your progress.

Here are things haters will say when they find out you’ve succeeded at something:

1. “Oh, but you’ll never do that.”
2. “Oh, but you can’t.”
3. “She recorded a CD? Well, she didn’t do much! Anybody can do that!”
4. “She’s not so hot!”
5. “She thinks she’s so (pretty, so much smarter than everyone else, etc.).

bullies haters I have so much more for you to be mad at

When your hater sees you happy and doing good for yourself, it makes her feel worthless and she’ll stop at nothing to block any success you aim for. Understand that these people may or may not want the success for themselves, the power (and pleasure) is in the taking of yours.

Haters hate because they feel inadequate. Therefore, they must make you feel inadequate. Do you see where this is going?

Haters will come at you with a barrage of insults and name-calling. They may talk trash behind your back and try to kill your relationships. And you don’t necessarily have to be successful to have haters.

In fact, you might not even know why they’re hating on you. But understand that if you know you haven’t provoked them in any way, it’s a good bet that it all comes from jealousy! There’s something you have that they don’t and they don’t think they can get. Or, there’s something you’re getting to do that they can’t do.

haters gonna hate

Realize that your success highlights and reminds them of their failures. And the only thing haters can do to feel good about themselves is either insult and ridicule you, or avoid you altogether. And in doing so, they get to forget about their unfulfilled dreams.

They’re only raking you through the mud because the mere sight of you reminds them of what they could never achieve.

It only goes to show that there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s not your fault that these people are either too scared or too lazy to put in the work required to live the life they want to live.

I want you to realize that the hatred itself is an admission of your awesomeness, your worthiness, and your value. It is the confession of your accomplishments. It is also the unspoken admission of their fear, insecurity, and inferiority; and a testament to their cowardice, laziness, and lack of confidence!

female bullies bitches

Because if the haters had any confidence in themselves, you wouldn’t trigger so much hatred in them, you would only trigger motivation. You would inspire them to get off their butts and work to reach their goals and dreams.

Instead of hating you, they would look up to you and want you to mentor them!

This is why you should never allow them to make you feel bad about yourself, or guilty for your successes and for having something they don’t. Instead, you should use their hate as your motivation to achieve greater success. Hate should be used as fuel! There’s a reason why it’s often said that “Haters make you famous!”

Success produces enemies, always! Accept it. Better yet, embrace it and love it!

Why Bullies Hate Anyone Who is Smart

bully boss

Strict Boss: Angry upset young business woman with blank speech bubble on white on gray background. Vector illustration.

Short Answer 1: An intelligent person is a threat to the bullies’ power.

Long answer 1: A smart person can see through the bully’s façade and tricks. The wise person can pinpoint the bully’s motives with complete accuracy. ‘You see? Bullies work hard to keep up appearances, and anyone who has even the slightest chance of exposing them is fair game.

Realize the bullies fear exposure because it would mean losing respect.

Short Answer 2: Bullies can’t stand being outshined or outdone- in anything! This can happen at school or in the workplace. In the workplace, adult bullies bully employees who are star performers with extremely likable personalities.

Long Answer 2: Anyone with good sense more than likely has talents and gifts which bullies do not have. Understand that bullies bully because they’re no good at anything else.

Cyber bullying

For example: Susan in the school choir and has been singing since she was eighteen months old. Coming from parents who are also musically talented, she has a talent that comes naturally. The choir director sees this from day one and gives her solos to sing during choir concerts. Being honored, Susan gives it her all and received loud cheers from the audience and compliments from different people afterward.

However, this also makes Susan an even bigger target for the bullies, and the bullying escalates exponentially the very next day and for the next several weeks. Anytime Susan receives any positive recognition, she watches her classmates’ faces contort and knows what’s coming next.

Susan also witnesses them bullying people who make good grades.
Understand that bullies are jealous of smart and talented people. They can’t handle being outdone by anyone at anything. As a result, they always turn up the harassment and do their level best to kill any confidence the target has in their own abilities.

Think

Example 2: Sandra is the top performer at her job and has just received an award as recognition for her being at the top of her department for the last six months. The next day, Sandra senses a chill in the relationships with her boss and coworkers. Next, they begin to mob Sandra and sabotage her work. Her boss, Elsa begins to criticize her every move, withhold vital information and exclude her from meetings.

I write this not to brag or complain, but to share knowledge with others about how bullies operate so they’ll have the tools to protect their self-esteem- tools that I didn’t have all those years ago.

Chava Boroda’s recipe for peace and tolerance

Chava Boroda_picture

As a young, Jewish girl who immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union (now Russia) during the eighties, Chava Boroda has known the worst forms of oppression, bullying, and persecution. Below is a wonderful piece she has written and it’s well worth the read. Antisemitism is on the rise in today’s hostile world and sadly, the media seems to be sparse in its coverage of it. Only when we publicly address a problem will it be solved. Congratulations, Chava!

“As a Jew, I have always felt need to be the torchbearer of light into promoting peace and tolerance” – California-based Chava Boroda.

“When I finally established my own Jewish home – I knew that my mission should’ve been enhanced though making Judaism understandable and accessible for the Jewish people, as well as non-Jewish community” – she shares in her interview about the Jewish approach toward peace and tolerance.

Kyiv-born Chava spent her childhood in an environment, where she faced antisemitism as an integral part of the Soviet ideology and mentality, which often hurt her feelings, but never her faith.

“I’ve always had a critical eye toward man-made challenges, which tend to create so many obstacles for different layers of society. Even at an early age – I made an analysis that antisemitism often derives from ignorance among gentiles, who have almost no information about what Judaism is and who the Jews are”.

After arriving in the United States, Chava was taught about peace-building and tackling hate speech through education and activism. “Do not hate what you do not understand” – were the words that she cultivated into her thinking and used as a guide to establishing bridges between the Jews and non-Jews. Nevertheless, she has a mission to educate Jews themselves about their inspiring story spanning over and not limited to the middle ages, migration routes, Shtetls, Holocaust, or their struggle to establish the State of Israel.

Butterfly

“I knew that I had to make a move and bring education to non-Jews about Judaism. Especially after bringing five children into this world – I had a firm belief to ensure that generation of my children and children to come would not face antisemitism caused by ignorance toward the Jewish people”. Ever since her children were small, she has provided them with Jewish upbringing, but also fostered the development of their creative energy and talents in the secular world.

As a proud Jew, Chava has spent the last 25 years making Judaism appealing for all. Apart from working with non-Jews, she has a profound desire to bring all the Jewish communities together by embracing their unique cultural traits and peculiarities.

“I admire the mission of the YAD VASHEM in the world in maintaining the memory of the Holocaust among billions of people worldwide. There is one particular aspect of YAD VASHEM, which I have incorporated into my work and goals – stressing out the importance of the Righteous of the Nations, who saved Jews from the atrocities and often risked their lives”. She believes that if more gentiles had been educated about Judaism pre-WWII – then more people would stand up for their Jewish neighbors or compatriots. The latter argumentation is the sole factor for her work toward promoting tolerance and raising generations who will dare to speak out if they witness discrimination of antisemitism.

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Chava has worked with thousands of young people in North America, Israel, and former Soviet Union space educating them about her Refusenik past, as well as raising awareness about promoting peace and understanding between people of various ethnic or religious backgrounds. In her mentoring efforts with young people, Chava cultivates tolerance as a fundamental identity.

“My inspiration derives from Abraham, the first Jew, who is recognized as a prophet by all three Abrahamic religions in the world.” She fully aligns herself with the ideas of the United Nations that “diversity is a form of wealth, not a factor of division”.

Chava sees great potential in the post-COVID 19 era, which has the potential of bringing more empathy among people, who have been witnessing how the whole world has fallen in the same boat against the pandemic. She hopes that more people will look through the “we the people” prism toward the need to build more accepting societies.

“With ongoing clashes between the police and public in the United States – it has become more obvious that educating people about peace and tolerance between all shall be an integral part of educating as early as kindergarten. Ever since I step my foot in the United States at age 14 and as a political refugee from the USSR, I made a realization, which inspires my work every day – diversity is a strength and not a weakness. Tolerance is always nurtured and I am excited to continue my daily work in the digital era and with all the age groups” – Chava shares.

 

Why Victims of Bullying Must Never Give Into Hate

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Sadly, hate is something that’s too easy for bullying targets to get sucked into. When people have treated you so horrifically for long enough, you lose faith in humanity and begin believing that all people are self-serving lowlifes who enjoy seeing other human beings suffer. You soon become the very people you’re suspicious of. I’ve been there.

Targets of bullying often feel that their hate is justified. However, does this intense loathing serve any purpose or have benefits? No!

No matter how you were wronged by a person, never give in to hate. No matter how severely that person may have transgressed against you, do not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to hate them because hate is poisonous! Not to the other person but to YOU!

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Here’s why:

Hate burns you up inside. It eats down into your very soul and prolongs feelings of hurt, depression, and downright misery.

Hate doesn’t hurt the person being hated, it hurts you, because nine times out of ten, the person you hate either doesn’t know about it, or they don’t care.

Anytime you hold hate in your heart against anyone, you unwittingly give up any blessings and forego any opportunities, which would otherwise come your way. You instead invite negativity and evil into your world. You end up forfeiting your own happiness and life is too short to be anything but happy.

While you are sitting around stewing over some idiot who has wronged you in the past, that same idiot is going about their merry way and not giving you so much as a thought.

Portrait of indifferent person shrugging her shoulders wearing yellow turtleneck denim jeans overalls isolated purple violet background

Portrait of indifferent person shrugging her shoulders wearing yellow, turtleneck denim jeans overalls isolated purple violet background

While you are holding grudges and plotting ways to get back at them, that person is just getting on with life. They are not worried about you. They are not thinking about you. So why are you thinking about them? They are a complete waste of brain activity!

Hate, insecurity, grudges, anger- they are all garbage in your life that needs to be disposed of. It’s time to take out the trash and take back the peace and happiness that you not only deserve but have a divine right to.

You deserve to be happy and the only way you will find happiness is to let go of any grudges and hate and replace them with love and acceptance. It is what I had to do before I could be happy.