Friday, October 19, 2012

Authors Against Bullying

When I got the email from Mandy Roth via Yasmine Galenorn about Authors Against Bullying, I couldn't wait to express my thoughts on the matter. I want to say point blank that bullying is wrong. It is a hurtful act that has a long term effect.

Sadly, I know what it feels like to be bullied and that's not a good thing to carry on your shoulders. When I'm with friends, I'm pretty easy-going and social, but in actuality, I've always been quiet and shy. Add on top of that I'm an awkward geek. My favorite place is working at home all alone--which doesn't make me an ideal person to plan a party. LOL Crawling into my shell and keeping quiet is easier that talking and having people judge me. Which shouldn't have to happen.

Over ten years ago, when I was in college, I cared about what everyone said I should look like, what I should say, and do. Even farther back in middle school, I was bullied from time to time. Now that I think about it, I didn't have the best fashion sense (in college, high school, or middle school), but I didn't deserve to feel left out or different. I've had people tell me I talked funny (I was from Iowa and lived in Florida for a period of time) and people said cruel things about my clothes. (Hey, I thought the leg warmers I had on were awesome.)

Memories can really suck. Especially when they are vivid. I remember how much it hurt and how I dreaded going back to school with kids who had pretty hair and nicer clothes than me. That nicer clothes thing never ended, even into college. As an adult, I've come to realize that there will always be someone who dresses better than me. The same pretty much applies for everyone. And it's okay! As long as you have a good attitude about the skin you're in, it's all good. I've met strangers who weren't in the latest designer duds and had more positive energy than some of the unfortunate folks who had plenty to say about the department store clothes I wore. I've had some wonderful friends who treated me well and I'll always remember them and smile. Wouldn't you like to be the person who does that for someone else? I'd like to be someone's good thought for the day. It's not that hard, either.

I actually had a woman say something interesting to me yesterday at the post office. She said, "You're so polite."
"Well, I want my children to be that way," I said. "I guess I should practice what I preach."
She just smiled at me and gave me my stamps. As I left the parking lot, I thought, Gee, she noticed how polite I was. Shouldn't everyone act that way? Does that mean people aren't even courteous anymore? To her?

It doesn't take a lot of work to not be a bully and I hope everyone who reads this will work today toward treating others with respect.

Another thing I want to add. If you have been bullied, I want you to know something cool I've learned: I don't worry about those things as much any more that bothered me when I was younger. Even though I encounter people every day who judge me, I see through a different set of eyes now. I finally realized that all the strangers outside of my door won't pay my bills, take care of my kids, or live my life for me. (Or back when I was kid, I should have seen that they weren't lining up to do my homework or my chores.) I don't need their opinions as a source of happiness. I should make my own. When something is about to bother me, I say to myself, "If someone has something foul to say about me, that's on them to work out. I have better things to do and they don't mind my business so why should I mind theirs?"

Over time, I've learned it's okay to be different. I've embraced my quirkiness and I've had so much fun doing it. I've learned to rise above other's people's negativity and you can too!

Visit more sites and show your support against bullying!


mandymroth said...

Thank you so much for being part of this and for helping to take a stand.

E.J. Stevens said...

I'd like to see "embrace your quirkiness" as a t-shirt or bumper sticker. :)

Thank you for sharing your story.

E.J. Stevens
Read my Authors Against Bullying post at From the Shadows.

Taryn Raye said...

I agree with E.J. We need that bumper sticker! Thanks for sharing!

My post is up on my blog

Donna said...

I was too tall, too skinny, to smart, too whatever. Haters are going to hate. I was never one of the cool kids so I was bullied on occasion at school but it was nothing compared to the bullying I got at home.
I think my kids had it worse at school as some of the social filters we had as kids have eroded to the point of non-existence. In some ways it is better. There is more information out there and role models are speaking up and out against bullies. More needs to be done at home, in schools and in the media.
My daughter is Jewish and a lesbian living in the bible-belt. How she has grown into the incredible woman she has despite all the negativity is one of life's great mysteries and one of my greatest blessings.
I think blogging about this is a good thing. Thank you for sharing your story.

Michelle Pillow said...

I know what you mean about working at home. I love it, but it does lend itself to not being the social butterfly.

I'm also shocked when people tell me how polite the kid is, especially when nothing special happens in the interaction. When did please, thank you, and your welcome become antiquated? Or holding open doors at the store when people have their arms full, young kids, or for the elderly?

Great blog post, Shawntelle. Thanks for sharing your story. I’m very proud to be a part of this important event, and empowered by all the stories of hope and encouragement I’m reading today. It’s wonderful that people can get together and promote the positive.

Jess Haines said...

Being yourself shouldn't be an invitation for ridicule.

Thanks for being part of the hop. And for your politeness--people appreciate it more than you may realize.