My Story- Enduring Bullying and Abuse

I didn’t experience bullying, nothing beyond normal teasing, until I moved to a small Tennessee town after having been an Army Brat and lived in several different areas. Until then, bullying had always been something that happened to kids in the movies.

When I became a target of severe and chronic bullying as a sixth-grader at the age of twelve, I began a long lesson in the human predator/prey dynamic and a battle for my dignity, safety, and my very soul.

During the sixth grade, I never fought back. I’d been taught that decent young ladies didn’t fight. So, I took the physical beatings, name-calling, and abuse.

When I entered seventh grade at the age of thirteen, the harassment by my classmates reached a fever pitch. I was a target of what is called “poly-victimization.” I was name called, slandered, humiliated, threatened, physically beaten, the whole nine. And after enough of it, I learned the hard way that I had two choices, either take a stand and fight back or get eaten alive.

bullying bullied bully physical

The more I tried to set boundaries, the worse the bullying became.

The physical bullying was brutal. I suffered horrible beatings, and it escalated to the point of having a box cutter pulled on me and my life threatened.

Every morning before going to school, I would feel a huge lump in my throat and swallow hard. It took everything I had in me to step onto that school bus, knowing what would be waiting for me as soon as I walked through the school entrance.

During P.E., I was good at some sports, but not so good in others. I loved volleyball and kickball but basketball and baseball weren’t my strong suits. Music and writing stories were my gifts, not sports.

However, students and a few teachers judged me because I wasn’t an athlete or a sorority girl. I was the musically talented and creative type. So, what they were doing was akin to judging a fish on its ability to fly.

bullying judging demonize

In just two short years, I went from being a confident and outgoing kid who always made the honor roll, to a sad, withdrawn, angry and bitter girl who made C’s and D’s.

Schoolwork had always been so easy for me. I had been one of those lucky kids who didn’t have to pick up a book. All I had to do was to listen in class and do my homework (which I could get done in minutes), and I’d ace every test. But in a matter of two years, the schoolwork went from being a piece of cake to being difficult and overwhelming.

Who can concentrate on schoolwork when they’re busy looking over their shoulder and dodging bullies. Who can learn effectively when they’re constantly in survival mode?

The torment became next to unbearable, and I attempted suicide at the age of fourteen, which landed me in ICU for a week. I almost didn’t make it.

suicide attempt ambulance

Having my power stripped away was a hell I would not wish on anybody, not even my worst enemy. The trying to keep a calm demeanor amid so much toxicity and the desperately hanging onto my dignity with everything I had was exhausting! I felt as if I were emotionally held hostage by my classmates and yes, even a few school staff as a few of them joined in the bullying as well.

Because I felt powerless, I began to bully those who were even weaker than me in attempts to grab back some of my power, and it is something I’m not proud to confess today.

I had no one to turn to as bullying was considered a normal rite of passage in those days and something I had to deal with on my own. Anytime I spoke out about or reported the mistreatment, I was shouted down by the other classmates and told to “shut up”, blamed for my own suffering, or perceived as a whiner, thought of as weak, and ridiculed. There was no help nor relief.

positive winner

I was not allowed to be a human being. There was no margin for error.

They would minimize or ignore any good deed, any accomplishments, and any successes. And they would maximize any mistakes.

If I wore a dress and went to school all dolled up (which I often did in high school), I was trying to either impress the opposite sex or get a date and/or laid. If I wore my jeans the slightest bit tight, I looked like a whore.

If I cried, I was too sensitive. If I laughed, I was trying to get attention. If I got angry, I was crazy. If I was friendly, I was either flirting or trying to kiss up. If I smiled, I was secretly plotting something devious.

I was not allowed to be myself and it was exhausting. It felt as if I were suffering a slow and agonizing social murder.

fake fakery be yourself

The last straw finally came when I was four months pregnant with my first child. I was attacked from behind, thrown over a teacher’s desk, then kicked as I lay balled in a fetal position on the floor, guarding my growing belly and trying to protect my unborn baby. Luckily, my unborn child survived and was born healthy later that year.

After the last attack, I was done with Oakley High. I changed schools, and the bullying stopped. Words cannot tell you what a relief it was to finally have the opportunity to transfer to a new school! To a safer environment! One which would be much less stressful!

I loved my new school and felt like a bird out of a cage! The feeling was of being released from a nearly six-year-long prison sentence. I had done my time in hell and now I could put it behind me.

While riding along the highway toward the new school I would enroll in, I sat in the passenger seat with my then-husband (I got married while still in high school) behind the wheel and cried tears of joy.

positive escape fly away

It was hard to believe that it was over! The persecution! The pain that was so great I couldn’t even cry! It was all finally over! and I could start a new and better chapter in my life. Sure enough, I went on to make friends out of my new classmates, but, more importantly, my grades skyrocketed! The transformation of my grades seemed to happen suddenly and like magic!

After five years, I made honor roll again, then finally, graduation!

I now lead a successful life and use what I went through to help bullied kids today. Anytime I hear of an innocent child bullied into suicide, it truly breaks my heart.

What’s even more heartbreaking is the attitudes and remarks I hear from others around me when a tragedy like this happens! I often hear statements such as:

“But that boy was so quiet!”

“Really??? Still waters run deep!”

“But that girl always kept to herself!”

“No joke! Just as an AIDS patient keeps his diagnosis to himself!”

bullying filming instead of helping

“Shame on him! He was such a coward!”

“Right! Anyone running through the woods from a wild boar would look like a coward to someone sitting safely in a tree! You spend a few years being bullied by everyone you know and see how mighty and brave you are! You’ll find out how quickly your life can go to crap!”

If you haven’t experienced it, you’ll never know what it is to be a target of bullying. I was fortunate in that I survived and moved on to happiness and success. But many victims don’t, which is why writing about bullying and advocating for victims is my passion.

Although being bullied is never a good thing, I did get a few positive takeaways:

1.) Having been bullied has made me appreciate the great friends I have today. It also gave me empathy and compassion for others and a desire to help those who endure the same!

dreamstime_xs_42448500

2.) Having been bullied made a strong woman out of me. It made me more determined never to quit until I reach a goal! Knowing that bullies often bully out of jealousy and fear is the motivation for me.’

3.) Being bullied gave me the determination to love myself, put myself first, and the willingness to say “no” anytime I am asked or told to do something which does not feel right!

4.) Having been bullied gave me the determination to follow my dreams, to do things I most enjoy, and to reach success!

5.) Having been bullied has given me hope. Because I know that if I can go through bullying and survive, then I can rise above anything!

6.) It gave me a soft spot and a great willingness to fight for the underdog.

7.) And lastly, it sharpened my BS detector, giving me the ability to read people, spot a bully instantly and avoid being targeted!

Being a target of bullying almost broke me, yes! But in the end, it made me! And if you’re a target of bullying and you don’t give up, you too can survive and emerge a winner!!!

To Love Myself Was, Perhaps, the Greatest and Hardest Lesson I Ever Had to Learn

Sad girl embraces her knees and cries because of body shaming. Concept of inferiority complex, bulling and public condemnation

I had to be torn apart to put myself back together again.

I had to be naïve to become wise.

I had to be weakened by bullying for several years before I could finally realize my own strength.

I had to be cheapened by others before realizing my worth.

I had to feel hate from others before I could finally love myself, all parts of myself.

When I was young, although I was a beautiful girl to look upon, I didn’t think I was so beautiful. Because I’d been bullied for so long, I thought I was worthless. And why not? I’d had that brutal narrative drummed into my heard by my classmates and a few others.

They wanted me to hate myself as much as they hated me.

Every time I looked in the mirror, I didn’t like what I saw. I would jokingly put myself down to keep from seeming arrogant because I’d been brainwashed with that narrative too- “to like or love yourself was arrogance.”

Many of my bullies would accuse me of being just that, arrogant. They called me stuck-up, full of myself, snooty, snob, or crazy and those names were quite tame compared to the other names I was called. Some of them referred to me as “Miss Prissy,” “Empress,” and other sarcastic names and they seemed to come anytime I smiled or showed even a sliver of confidence.

‘You see? When you’re constantly being told that you’re this way or that, and by so many people, you begin to believe it too. And one of the hardest things to do is to change that mindset once it’s instilled in you, especially after you reach young adulthood.

Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.

Self-depreciation is so unhealthy because it often determines your outcomes in life. It also breeds laziness and failure. Any success I did have wasn’t enough to satisfy me and I would shun it, thinking that I should be doing more and being better.

I internally belittled myself not only because I feared looking arrogant, but also because I didn’t think I was good enough. When someone would compliment me, instead of accepting the compliment and thanking the person for it, I’d say something like, “well, I could’ve done better.” I would always belittle my successes when I should have been celebrating them.

I have noticed that we may compliment friends and family on how beautiful, smart, or how talented they are, and we advise them never to put themselves down, yet we find it so hard to extend the same love and support to ourselves.

There were times I’d say things to myself I would never have said to another person, much less my friends and family. It’s sad when we find it so difficult to love ourselves as we would others.

Since those days, I’ve learned that the best kind of love is the love you give yourself because, without self-love, you won’t be able to love others properly and healthfully. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I finally decided that I was going to love myself no matter how others felt about me. But it didn’t happen overnight.

This was the beginning a long journey. I was taking on an exceedingly difficult task, which was reprogramming my mindset. I had to purge all the negative stuff I’d been told for so many years and that wasn’t easy by any stretch. It would take reversing and undoing many years of abusive programming. And it was going to require a lot of grunt work.

When I rose to this challenge, there were times people fought against me because they did not like and were threatened by the positive changes that I was implementing for myself. There were times when my own mind fought against me. But I stuck with it because that tiny spark within me always told me that I deserved better.

I continued to vomit out the garbage I’d been made to believe about myself- to cleanse myself of the negative thoughts and self-beliefs that had only kept me shackled.

It was a long fight, but I must tell you that it was worth it! Today, I’m happy, confident, and comfortable in my own skin, which means I’m free! My intention is for you to be free too!

Here’s what works:

1.Celebrate your successes even if you don’t feel up to it.

2. Make a list of your positive qualities.

3. Make positive affirmations.

4. Reward yourself.

5. Talk kindly to yourself.

6. Catch every negative thought and replace it with a positive thought.

7. Do things you enjoy most.

8. Stay away from toxic people if at all possible.

9. Surround yourself with positive people.

10. Don’t put pressure on yourself to meet standards that are unattainable.

11. Place no value on the opinions of people who aren’t worthy of your time and energy.

12. BE YOURSELF!

If you practice these twelve things every day, I promise you that you will see change in your overall outlook. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen fast. But it will all be worth it in the end. I guarantee it!

I’m Thankful for My Bullies

I know you’re scratching your head on this one. “Why,” you ask. It’s because they taught me things I never would’ve learned otherwise. And they showed me things that, although weren’t pleasant, were things I would need to know later.

1. They showed me the kind of person I never wanted to be and still never want to be.

2. They showed me the ugliest side of human nature.

3. They showed me the level of evil humans are capable of.

4. They showed me the types of people I don’t need nor want in my life.

5. They showed me the types of people to always avoid.

6. They showed me what signs to watch out for.

7. They gave me the determination to love myself and to go after what I want in life.

8. They molded me into a good judge of character.

9. They taught me the value of true, genuine friendships and to take no one for granted.

Yes. Although they were brutal people, and none of the bullying they dished out was fun by any stretch of the imagination, my bullies in school taught me all these things. And I hold these takeaways close to my heart today.

It’s hard to look for the silver lining while people are bullying you. However, once you get away from your bullies and the torment is over, not only do you regain a renewed sense of hope, but you also see so much clearer the lessons in what you had to endure.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

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!

You Can Learn A Lot from A Bully

You would be amazed at what you can learn from bullies. This may sound a bit strange to some, but bullies can teach us so much about human nature and the evils of the world. Although they can hurt us, they can also teach us some of the most powerful lessons.

Here’s what bullies and bullying taught me.

  1. That everyone, including the bully, has problems. Bullies always put on a front of having a perfect life. They use arrogance and cockiness to mask their feelings of hurt, insecurity, and inferiority. Many of my bullies had alcoholic fathers, drug-addicted mothers, fathers who cheated on or beat their mothers, or single mothers who had a different man in her bed every night. Many had parents who neglected or abused them, and others had an older sibling who bullied them. Several had a parent dealing drugs, a parent in and out of jail, or were sexually abused. So, is it any wonder most of my classmates were so full of pee and vinegar?

  1. How to spot a liar or fake. If you’ve dealt with bullies and bullying long enough, you learn very quickly how to spot liars and fakes before you even talk to them. And you learn it because your survival depends on it.
  1. To grow a thick skin. Have you ever noticed how redundant bullies are? Have you noticed how they repeat the same stupid insults, taunts, and negative statements over and over again? It’s true that the crap they talk can hurt and hurt badly. However, they can repeat the same rubbish so much and for so long that, after a while, it loses its effectiveness and potency. Then it just gets boring and your bullies can become one big yawn.
  1. Empathy and compassion for others. When you know what it is to be a target of bullying and alone. It teaches you empathy and compassion for others- especially the underdog who is downtrodden. You’ll more likely reach out and protect those who are bullied because you were there, and you can’t stand the thought of anyone else enduring such pain.

  1. The evils humans are capable of and their predatory nature. Having been a target of bullying will teach you this if nothing else! Anytime you’re a target of bullying, you can end up seeing the darkest side of humanity possible if you’re unlucky enough- things that people who aren’t targets would never see. And they will be things you won’t forget.
  1. To never take anyone for granted. I’m no longer a victim of bullying and I have such an awesome family and the most positive and fun circle of friends you’d ever want to meet. But because I know what it is to be a target of bullying and to be excluded and isolated, I don’t take my familial relationships or friendships for granted. I make it a point to be loyal to all of them and to stand behind them when the chips are down. I consider my family, blood, and non-blood, wonderful blessings to my life and I cherish all of them.
  1. To appreciate the people in your life. Again, I value all my family and closest friends and I appreciate the qualities they bring to my life. Words cannot express how blessed I am to know them and to have them in my life.

  1. To take care of, value, and love yourself. I learned the hard way that if you don’t love yourself, no one else will either. I make it a point to take care of myself and to treat myself kindly. How do I treat myself kindly, you may ask? By how I allow others to treat me. By what I tolerate and the people I let in my life, and by not being afraid to walk away if a person doesn’t treat me well.
  2. That’s it’s okay, and in your best interests, to say, “no.” If something (or someone) doesn’t feel right to me, I no longer hesitate to say “no” and I do it guilt-free. I now know that saying “no” is saying “yes” to my rights and my dignity and that’s the best feeling ever!
  1. To stand up for the underdog. Because you know what it’s like to be mistreated, you wouldn’t want to see anyone else endure what you have. So, you take the opportunity to be someone’s hero and friend for life. This is one of the greatest lessons bullying can teach you.

Being the object of bullies is never fun. But if you look for the lessons in it, it can teach you so much about the crazy world we live in, about the dark side of human nature, and that it’s of the utmost importance that you keep the faith, believe in yourself, love yourself enough to take care of yourself, appreciate the people who love you, and stand up for the people who aren’t able to defend themselves.

Know that you have the power to turn the abuse you suffer around for good and to turn the negatives into positives. Your pain can become your power! I guarantee it!

A Letter to My Teenaged Self (Part 3)

It won’t always be this way!

People won’t always bully you. And your classmates won’t always be in your life.

Your stomach won’t always be in knots and you won’t always be running out of class to go to the bathroom and throw up because of the intense stress.

You won’t always have to wonder when some snake at school is going to attack you in the halls or in the girls’ room.

The looking in the mirror and trying different outfits, makeup tricks, and hairstyles- thinking that if you make yourself more attractive than you already are, the bullying will go away? It will soon end.

The wondering if you’re good enough and worthy of love? This will go away as well.

The wondering if you’ll ever be allowed to be yourself and to relax? This too shall pass.

The wondering if you’ll ever have true friends- friends who will love you for being you, stick up for you, and take care of you? Friends you don’t have to explain yourself to? In a few years, none of it will even be an issue.

Trust me. There will come a day when you won’t have the fake friends you have in school. And when that day arrives, you will have real friends who will love you for all that you are and all the beauty you bring to this world.

There will come a day when you’ll have the courage to walk away from toxic people who are no good for you. And you won’t be afraid to stand alone until better people find you.

There will come a day when you’ll be so confident and secure in yourself that the cruel words of others will no longer matter.

There will come a day when you’ll have a family of your own and friends who’ll love you for you.

People will no longer only tolerate you but celebrate you!

And each rejection, each bad name, each cruel taunt hurled; each punch, each kick, shove, and blow to your body will piss you off a little more, and a little more. But that anger will give you the dogged determination to tune out the naysayers, follow your dreams, and reach success!

Each incidence of bullying is only preparing you for what you’re meant to do later. It’s preparing you for a rewarding and successful life in the future.

Each blow you take, each bruise, each disappointment, each humiliation, each pull of your hair, and each tear you cry is only making you better. It’s making you the lady you’re meant to become- a more compassionate, empathetic, stronger, and wiser woman.

Your loneliness now will be an appreciation of the circle of friends and abundance of love you’ll have later.

Your naivete will become wisdom.

Your victimization will become your launchpad

And your bullies, your motivation.

I know it hurts. It hurts terribly! But the pain you suffer today will be the power you enjoy tomorrow!

So, hold on.
Don’t lose sight of your goals.
The best is yet to come!

Love,
Your Adult Self

 

A Letter to My Teenage Self (Part 2)

I know it’s tough. But sometimes you must first live with what you hate before you can move on to what you love. You must weather the storm before you can see sunlight. Understand that only when we’ve been through hell, do we appreciate heaven so much more.

Although your mind tells you that there’s something wrong with you- that it’s your fault- that you must be doing something to rub these people the wrong way, your heart tells you differently.

Your heart tells you that you did nothing wrong, that these classmates don’t like themselves and that they’re putting all that negative energy off on you. But this war between your mind and your heart leaves you exhausted.

No matter how bad things get, I see that small glimmer of hope in your eyes. Don’t lose it.

Although you carry an enormous amount of pain, you’re still holding on, taking it one day at a time. Keep it up.

Please love yourself and continue to forge your own path despite how others may treat you.

And please don’t hate your classmates, feel sorry for them- take pity on them. Because their lives aren’t as perfect as they let on. Believe it or not, your classmates are hurting too.

They have mental problems of their own that they never confessed, addressed, nor got help for. Only they’ll never in this lifetime tell you about it.

Understand that they’re only keeping up appearances, which is such hard work. And they’re angry at you because you don’t have to work as hard as they do.

Realize that many of them are abused at home, have parents who are into prostitution or drugs and alcohol, and who fight. Many of them are also dirt poor, surviving on welfare and ashamed of it. Many of your classmates have home lives you couldn’t imagine! And school is their happy place.

Open your eyes and see that your home life is better than a lot of kids your age. Be thankful for it. Your home is a sanctuary compared to most.

And they’re also scared- scared of becoming just like you- a target! Therefore, they feel compelled to join in the bullying in order to make their bones with the in-clique.

But understand that all this makes them cowards and again, they’re to be pitied, not hated.

You don’t yet realize how strong, brave, and resilient you are. But you are- just for the fact that you haven’t dropped out of school like so many of your classmates. You haven’t quit the race! You haven’t given up on life!

Even though you know all too well that you will be bombarded with a barrage of taunts and insults, or worse, physically attacked once you pass through the school entrance, you manage to find the courage to get up every morning and go to school and- you do it scared!

So, who are the weak ones now?

They may have favor with most of the teachers, even the ones who have little hope for you. However, most of them will never leave this town. This is a small town- only a dot on the map. In a small town, it doesn’t take much effort nor very long to maximize one’s potential.

Even though you feel so small and insignificant, understand that each of your classmates feels the same way you do. And the only way they can feel big and powerful is to make you feel bad. And one day, you’re going to see just how they end up.

Only a few will make it. The rest will be living in loveless and abusive marriages. Many will be poor and wondering how they’ll pay the rent. Some will join gangs or begin slinging dope.

Several will immerse themselves in drugs and alcohol to cope with their failures in life. A good portion of them will end up behind bars. And many will have kids who disrespect and hurt them.

Love yourself

Most of your classmates will be on a desperate and never-ending search for love, going through numerous divorces and broken relationships. They’ll never learn to fall in love with themselves and with life first.

They’ll be on an endless quest for happiness and never realize that happiness comes from within themselves.

I know you want so badly to fix it, but don’t know what’s broken.

You’ll laugh at me when I tell you what I’m about to tell you. You’ll probably tell me I’m crazy and that I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I’m going to tell you anyway.

There’s nothing wrong with you. Your classmates are the ones with the issues! They are the ones who are “crazy” and to keep everyone from figuring it out, they put it all off on you.

I want you to know that you’re a major threat to them. That’s right. You are a threat to your classmates. Do you know why?

dreamstime_xs_78910116

It’s because you’re smart- smart enough to see right through them and they know it. They also hate it!

You’re also talented. You can sing, for crying out loud! Your classmates know you can sing and they’re jealous of your beautiful voice. They’re afraid that you’ll expose the bullying and let all their skeletons out of the closet.

Why do you think they shout you down and tell you to “shut up” every time you start to open your mouth? Why do you think they scream at you and tell you to sit down every time you get up to sharpen a pencil or turn in homework- or speak up to answer a teacher’s question in class?

But they’re very much afraid that you’ll humiliate them, so they keep you afraid to open your mouth.

They hate it when you write. But understand that they’re afraid you might be writing about them and their cruelty. Isn’t that why they had your journal taken?

But know this. You have so much potential. You just don’t know it yet, because you’ve been programmed to think that you’re no good and will never amount to anything.

dreamstime_xs_107988514

I know that sometimes you want to die. But if you keep living, I promise that things will get better- much better! Because you’re going to accomplish things you never thought you would. You will end up surprising yourself!

Although you think this is a load of feel-good garbage now, the truth is that your classmates bully you to keep you down because they fear that if you ever rise, you’ll cause them to fade into the background.

I also know that your home life isn’t so hot either. Your father doesn’t believe in you and treats you more like a stepchild than a child. He acts like you’re not one of his. But understand that he’s battling demons of his own.

And I know that you’re anxious for your mother to remarry so you’ll have a replacement dad. I know you dream of having a stepdad who’ll legally adopt you as his own. But honey, no one else will ever replace your daddy and someday, you’re going to realize it.

I know it seems that you and Mom don’t see eye to eye and the easiest way to avoid any fallouts is to stay in your room, write, and get lost in the music you blare so loudly.

I know you feel like she’s ashamed of you and wishes she had a different child. She isn’t and she doesn’t. She loves you very much and the bullying you suffer hurts her too. Know that she’s on your side.

dreamstime_xs_111326515

And you’re going to find out later that if you open your heart to her and talk, even cry to her, she’ll listen while she holds you, and you’ll grow closer than ever before.

Also, realize that every kid goes through times when they’re at odds with parents. And I’ll go back to a point I made earlier- your home life is a lot better than most.

I know you’re withdrawn- closed off- scared to talk to people because you’re afraid they’ll make fun of anything you have to say. But take the risk anyway. Open your heart to people. Laugh and have fun with them. I promise you that they just might see your golden heart and love you for it.

School is worse than anything. I know that inside, you want to laugh, want to sing, want to dance, but you’re afraid. Know that one day, you’ll have the courage to let yourself do and be.

Know that what you’re going through now is only temporary.

(Continued in Part 3…)

A Letter to My Teenage Self

bullied girl crying

Hey, Angel!

I know you’re hurting, you’re lonely, and you’re frightened. You’re exhausted- damned tired of having to fight just to get through what should be a normal school day. You’re also confused- you’re not sure what you should do to remedy the situation.

Hurting, heartbroken- crushed because the judgments are severe, and no one will give you a chance. Your opportunities have been taken from you- opportunities to make new friends, to get a part-time job, for scholarships, and for dating and romance- just to grow as a person and move forward!

Lonely, isolated- alienated from seemingly everyone because your good name has been defamed and destroyed. Everyone is seemingly scared of you- scared to be seen with you. Or they’re cruel to you.

bullied help

You can feel the contempt when they look at you with eyes that pierce you. And yes! It cuts deep! You withdraw and refuse to speak to them. You act as if you don’t need any of them, even respond to them in kind. You do all this not because you want to but strictly for self-preservation, which only makes them hate you more, and alas, reinforces the alienation.

Frightenedterrified of making mistakes, and of failing because of the continuous threat of being taunted, ridiculed, humiliated! And why not? It’s already happened, and it continues to.

You’re in danger- danger of being physically attacked- shoved to the floor, your hair pulled out, punched, kicked, choked! You even fear they’ll slice your face, cut your throat, stab or shoot you because they’ve already threatened to. In the back of your mind, you know that every action begins with a thought.

crying1

Exhausted– damned sick of the never-ending drama, the fakery, and the stupidity of not only your classmates but a few petty, immature, and cliquey teachers who are only adult versions of the punks who torment you, and who probably picked their careers because they couldn’t get enough of their glory days of high school. I know that’s what you’re thinking.

You’re just plain worn out from the incessant need to grow eyes in the back of your head- watching your back, looking over your shoulder and of the ducking and dodging people who wish to do you harm! Who can learn when they’re constantly in defense mode?

You’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired. Period!

dreamstime_xs_51126986

Confused– bewildered as to how you should respond to the cruelty the school subjects you to. Because of the constant abuse, you don’t even know who you are now. You’re not sure which direction you should go in, nor what the future will bring. You don’t know what to say because you aren’t sure how the words will come out and whether you’ll end up saying something stupid.

You consistently wrack your brain, trying to figure out why. You wonder how it all even got started and what you must’ve said or done to bring it about.

You’re bullied every day, all the time, by everyone, for everything.

It seems that no one will allow you to be a human being.

dreamstime_xs_97564875

If you smile, people automatically think you’re up to something.
If you frown, they think you’re feeling sorry for yourself.

If you laugh, people think you’re making fun of them.
If you cry, they tell you you’re too sensitive and call you a crybaby.

If you sing, you’re accused of showboating.
If you write, they accuse you of writing something nasty about them.

If you wear a dress, makeup, and your hair down, you’re only trying to impress the opposite sex and get a date and/or laid.
If you wear your jeans a little too tight, they label you a whore.

If you get angry, speak out or fight back, they label you as crazy, mentally unbalanced, and in need of professional help.
If you’re happy and cheerful, they ask you what mischief you got or whether you slept with someone.

dreamstime_s_114254276

If you’re friendly, they accuse you of kissing up.
If you’re quiet, distant, and don’t feel like talking, they call you a snob and accuse you of being stuck-up.
Yet, if you speak, they only shout you down and tell you to shut up.

If you’re dating, they think you’re having sex
If you’re not, they say it’s because you’re a prude, a loser, or that no one will have you.

You’re fully aware that everyone- everyone is watching you closely- clocking your every move, listening to every word that comes out of your mouth. They’re nosy, always prying into your private business. And they’re constantly waiting- just waiting for you to screw up- make a mistake- just one tiny error, all for the purpose of using it against you later and making it bigger. It’s akin to being under a microscope!

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

Sweetie, I know that you’ve been unjustly and unfairly labeled- branded, like a cow. Even worse, they’re trying their hardest to make you believe it too.

But don’t! Don’t believe the lies! They don’t know you, even after so many years, your classmates still don’t know you. Because, for so long, they’ve been so busy pointing fingers at you that they never really took the chance to get to know you.

And what they don’t know is that you have a heart of gold.

You only want what everyone else wants and seems to have- friends and to be loved and accepted for the person you are. Although they may ridicule or demonize you for wanting those things, please know in your heart that there’s no shame in having those desires because it’s only natural to have them. It’s only human nature.

It seems that every time you pull yourself up, they always seem to be waiting to knock you back down again. But they only do it because they’re deathly afraid that if you ever rise, you’d take some of the spotlight from them, along with the benefits they’re getting at your expense.

dreamstime_xs_27622435

When you try to talk about the brutality you suffer at school, the classmates bully you harder and the adults only turn a deaf ear. But understand that they only silence you out of fear- fear that their own bad behavior and shortcomings will be exposed. And the adults are afraid of being seen as negligent and of the impact on the school’s reputation. The town of Oakley prides itself in its schools.

You’re so anxious for school to just be over with, but don’t rush it. Instead, learn everything you can while you can. Get as much out of it now, while it’s easiest to do so!

You’ve been beaten down and trampled underfoot for so long that now, you’re feeling desperate- desperate to just pack up and leave. And you’re willing to go to any lengths necessary to get out of this toxic environment you’re trapped in. Just be sure that you don’t end up jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

dreamstime_xs_135400698

I also know that you’re in a hurry to grow up. You just want to turn eighteen and become an adult who can then have control over her own life. But please, slow down! Having control of your own life is not what it’s cracked up to be.

Please! Whatever you do, don’t lose hope because I promise you! Life will get better- much better. It’s just not time right now. Your due season hasn’t arrived yet.

(Continued in part 2…)

“Kids Under the Latch Key”

 

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.

Mocked by many in the corrupt small town, Randy is taken under wing and protected by his younger friends as he and the kids learn hard lessons about the way most people treat those who are different.

Along the way, Grace and her younger kids 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.

ebook:

Life Secrets I have Learned

Beautiful sunrise over the sea

1. Positive thoughts equal a positive mind, equals positive actions, which bring positive opportunities, which lead to positive results, which bolsters confidence, which gives you a positive and extraordinary life!

2. Tenacity equals positive change and eventual success.

3. Negative people will never see success, only hollow victories from time to time.

4. The reason most people find ways to discourage you and tell you that you CAN’T is because they’re very much afraid that you WILL.

5. Resting on your laurels equals stagnation and repels growth.

Therefore, with each major goal accomplished, I’ll raise the bar, continue to challenge myself and flex those mind-muscles even more.

I will set higher goals and I will reach them.