HEY THERE FELLOW ARMADILLOS! AKA: MY THOUGHTS ABOUT BULLYING.
BY: KELLY CALABRESE
I’ve been asked to share my insights on bullying, which Urban Dictionary defines as:
See abuse. ‘Nuff said.
So true! Bullying is abuse. It is a wicked display of power meant to intimidate and embarrass another. Worst all, bullying often causes victims to internalize. We remain silent about what happens. But thanks to organizations and people like Brenda Drake, many are speaking up.
This is me speaking up.
This is me on a rooftop bellowing… THE BULLIES ARE THE WRONG ONES. It’s not you. It’s not us!!!
I’m loud. You probably heard that right now. If you didn’t, I hope some of these thoughts might make their way to your ears. And any currently wounded chunks of your heart.
*First thought: For those facing bullies, I wish I had a simple solution for you. I wish I could let you in on a secret that saying the word – armadillo – will ward off all bullies and allow you to live as free as a ray of sunshine. It won’t. But armadillo is a fun word to say. And being able to keep a strong sense of inner light is one key to getting through hard times.
I believe this to be true…
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
It’s not easy to maintain a strong core, while in the middle of a mean storm. I didn’t remain strong. As a kid, from age five to fifteen, I spent every day as a target. I went through a gamut of name calling, people spitting on me, playing pranks on me, and even inappropriate touching. I tried everything I could to make people stop picking on me. I tried laughing alongside them. Ignoring them. Hiding. None of it worked. Only time stopped the bullies. Sucky news. I realize.
But now I know! There was one thing I never tried. Loving myself. Being kind to myself.
Ouch. Damn. It hurt to get picked on. But it hurts way more, still, to know how much I internalized. How much consent I gave. How inferior I allowed others to make me feel. If I could go back to young me, I’d hug the crap out of myself. I’d embrace myself so hard I’d feel no pain at the end of the day except for the hug bruises left by a self-loving, superhero named ME.
*Second thought: Talk about it.
I never told anyone what I went through. Only Cover Girl knew. Yes, I mean the make-up. Because I used so much of their foundation covering up my red, blotched, tear stained face. Heaps of cover up. I know that it’s hard as hell to be vulnerable and open up to others when you’re feeling attacked. The natural instinct is to create a wall. An armadillo shell. But unless you actually are an armadillo, there’s no need to put up so much armor. Share your story. Build your support system. It takes away the bully’s power.
*Third thought: Bowling works!
Bowling can get you through hard times.
We all have the ability to be self-contained. Self-managed. Self-repairing… Bowling lanes.
I have 10 pins that I start with every day:
Yes, I realize I’ve said love twice. I am making up for years of not giving myself enough.
Every day I begin with these 10 pins set in place. At any given point, if a weighted ball comes hurling at my steady set up, I pick the pins back up and reset them. Over and over. Day in and day out. Holidays included. Holidays especially 😉
Bowling. It’s the new key to healing and happiness.
Those are my thoughts. I hope they helped in some way. In case they didn’t, here is a smile and a hug: J + O. They look a lot alike. Makes sense.
J + O
About Kelly Calabrese . . .
Writer, Actor, Creative Junkie – Kelly Calabrese – uses her past as fuel to write Young Adult novels, poetry, and bring depth of emotion to characters on-camera. Kelly has a collection of poems called The Growing Years. And she’s a small biz owner – CanvasCuffs.com.
To find out more about bullying and to learn the warning signs of bullying, go to http://childsafetyblog.org/.
I have to say, I was bullied by kids at school. My parents were really good a making sure I had their support. my mom used to come have lunch with me everyday at middle school. I would meet her at the car and she would take me to lunch daily because the school could not protect me.
I had a weird teacher that insisted smart kids should be punished – She actually said that in a meeting with my parents and the principal. For whatever reason the school would not remove me from her class but near the end of 8th grade she said that in a meeting and the principal finally intervened.
My parents did everything they could to be supportive, they let me follow my dreams and encouraged me. By the time I was a sophmore, I finally stopped caring what others thought and I embraced me. My parents gave me that strength. I still didn’t think I was pretty enough or cool (no boy ever asked me out in high school) but when I accepted myself I could deal with the negativity better and I realized the opinions of others didn’t matter so much. I also learned the difference between fake friends and friends you could really count on. a Hard lesson but a good one.
As a parent, I believed in my kids and I likewise encouraged them to follow their dreams. I don’t believe either kid was bullied – they didn’t care about the opinions of others. I gave them that armor. When kids teased other kids, I witnessed both my kids stand up for the underdog and stop the bullying. When I saw them stand up and say “Enough”, I could not have been more proud.
We need to teach our kids to stand up and say No to bullying when it is happening to others as much as give them armor, the tools they need to protect themselves and invest in their dreams.
We need to teach children that one voice is powerful. One voice saying “Stop” will stop a bully. I have seen it happen. One Voice is sometimes all it takes. Then others will be brave enough to stand up too.
You have one chance to be a great parent – time is short. My kids (23 and 18) are my greatest accomplishment.
This bullying behavior does not end in school.
Kindness matters and courtesy does not cost you anything. Sometimes a smile is all that is necessary to change someones day. A polite gesture, holding a door open for a stranger, smiling at someone, letting a car merge in front of you.
Turning off the mean programs – What is with reality TV. Housewives and ugh why do we like this kind of entertainment and lift up people hardly worth our attention…but that is another story isn’t it.
Thank you for sharing this, Caroline. Yes, we so need to provide armor for our children and teach them to stop bullying when they can. To stand up for themselves and others. It’s so sad when this happens. Hugs!
I can’t thank you enough for these posts. They have been the best things ever. Thank you.