Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bullying - Talk to Someone

Nothing, NOTHING, infuriates me more than to hear that someone is being bullied. Either some people really have nothing better to do with their time than to pick on someone or they just can't help themselves because they see the other person as a threat and are so insecure themselves or they are looking for power in a sadistic way.

I was bullied, bullied by my so called best friends, to some random nobody I never spoke to at school. Thankfully it never got to the point where I had to be in a fight but there were times when it was close to a punch up. My strength, I was a good talker and it got me out of some tricky situations. The best thing to do is to talk. I did not hesitate in speaking to my mum or a teacher if I knew things were getting bad and making me miserable. On one occasion I had just started high school in England, I was 11 years old, close to 12. I knew high school was full of older kids, it could be scary, I had heard stories. Within weeks I was targeted. I did not know this person, I knew her cousin who was in my year/grade but not the same class, we had both moved from the same primary school to the high school. This is the only thing that connected us. But I did not know the older girl. The weeks went on, as I walked through the corridors I was verbally abused. I was mystified as to why, eventually I got so upset and so worried about going into school I spoke with a older girl I knew, but her advise was a little too scary for me, I was not willing to fight. I spoke to my mum and I said, "If I get into a fight at school it is because I am being bullied and I can't take it much more."  She said, "...speak to your teacher and let him know what is happening. I will contact the school too."

I walked into school and spoke to a few friends who said the best thing to do was to tell a teacher. My form teacher was awesome, Mr Thompson. I went to tell him and I broke down crying. Within 10 minutes the bully told my teacher that I had to walk with her to the headmasters office. He was one scary headmaster, you did not mess around with him. As I walked down the corridor with this girl, suddenly she was my best friend, trying to tell me that it was all a mistake, she did not mean it etc. By this point I had the power, I was pissed that she put me through this situation.

I told my side of the story to the head teacher, I did not hold back. I was excused. What happened next I was unsure but the cousin of the girl told me she heard shouting from the headmaster and she was left in tears. After that she was all smiles. But I could not forgive her. I dismissed her friendship efforts. I got on with my life.

A few years later I was targeted again by someone unknown, but at this point I had an array of friends from all year groups. One of the girls knew who she was and gave me the best advice, "I know this girl, the best thing you can do is confront her, but be prepared to fight'. Holy crap, I don't like fighting, not then nor now. But I got up early for school because I knew she would be there, my friend who gave me the advice said she would meet me but she would not be the one to show her face but stand around the corner should I need help. She showed me where the girl was, and she was with five others, I felt sick- I had not anticipated a group of them. But I had made an effort to get here, I needed to get it dealt with. I found out the kids name and at the bottom of the steps I shouted to her, explained that I did not understand what her problem was, I had not done anything to her since I didn't know her and it was going to end now. I was willing to fight if needed. Nothing happened! What the heck. After that, I never heard a squeak out of her again. Again, I told my mum what I would do should I get into trouble, and she supported me.

Even your own friends can turn on you. in my case it was over a boy I did not even care for but I was a threat and I needed to be out of the picture. I found this out after my so called bestie had dated him and they had split up and now I was allowed to be with the group. 'Fuck off', was my response. I had found my crowd, the ones that I am still good friends with today.

I am a mum with two daughters at elementary school in Canada. My eldest who is 7 years old is already seeing what bullying looks like. I fear for my kids as teenagers. It has changed since I was a girl, I did not have the social media aspect to contend with. However the one thing I ensure we do each and everyday is to talk about the great things that have happened during the day and the not so good. It helps me as a parent to catch things early on and hopefully as they grow they will know that they can come to me or their dad about anything no matter how traumatic. We are not here to judge we are here to protect.

If you are being bullied, TALK TO SOMEONE. This is the most important thing for you to do. Talk to someone who is older, preferably an adult. Your mum is always a good start, but if you prefer a close relative an older cousin perhaps, a teacher; someone you can trust. Your parents won't be angry, they will help you. It doesn't matter what the circumstances, be it an embarrassing situation that was plastered over the social media platforms or daily verbal abuse. You can't go through something like this alone.

Share your stories please, it is good to be heard, you need to be heard.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Books - Anne Frank

Product Details
What an incredible book. A thought provoking read. I will go into more details in a few paragraphs time.

We are currently glamorising the 1940's and 50's but it was anything but, or at least for Europe.. While America were living a normal life perhaps even a glamorous life, (having been through the deep depression of the 30's), Europe was suffering under the Hitler regime. Perhaps this is why the current trend of vintage style is geared towards Hollywood and the beautiful people. Nothing wrong with that, who wants to dwell on the past when it was so traumatic? But we can't forget what happened and you could even say that making this era fashionable again is a way to remember the good as well as remembering those that suffered so that we could have what we have today. 

It's wonderful to see vintage events being held across the UK, War on the Line in Hampshire, Goodwood Revival near Chichester and Vintage Festival in Glasgow, there are so many more. They are educational and fun.

The beauty of the British public, they know how get on with life, through prosperity and austerity. Brits are not easily defeated. Another reason why this era is popular, the austerity which is happening now because of the recession (don't get me started on this), people are making do with what they have or if they need something 'new' they are rummaging through charity shops, getting bargains by purchasing second hand goods, what a way to force people to recycle and reduce consumerism lifestyle we live in today, (of course there are downsides to reduced purchasing on an economic level). People are getting creative. I have even heard of people growing their own food and going to meet-ups where they swap vegetables, jams etc. 

I love to read books of this era, Goodnight Mr Tom, War Horse, Back Home, Just Henry and now Anne Frank. These books appeal to me because they tell a story of challenging times but people also kept their 'chin up' and got on with it. It helps to keep today's difficulties in perspective. Even though we are going through a time of austerity we are not on rations, we have shelter most of us still drive a car, we are not surrounded by bomb sites etc. I know there are other factors and threats looming in today's economic crises, 1. because the world has never been through a global recession before and governments are finding it increasingly difficult to manage but then this post gets into politics and theories and it gets boring. So back to Anne Frank and her diary.

The forward of the book mentions there have been a number of versions that edited out information, names etc but the book which I bought as per the image, is the full version with a few names omitted. I am only a third way through the book but so far it is beautifully written, not many teenagers today could write so fluently, hell, not many adults either. So many things like school friendships, courtships are similar in today's world but the events this 'ordinary' girl lived through are quite extraordinary and unimaginable not one that I would want to live through. A diary which was written to ease boredom and to communicate in a way that she could not with her peers or parents, it starts off as though a story of her everyday life that she confesses, no one would possibly want to read. How wrong she was and she will never know how much this book has affected people. Anne Frank's diary will be passed onto my kids to read when they are ready, infact this book should be read in schools all over.

We can't and should not forget what happened because we do not want events like this happen again.