:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Peace the Bull (Tanya)

There is a ton of information out there about bullying these days, particularly pertaining to kids. Listed straight away below** are some fantastic resources for you to check out in the unlikely event you haven’t heard all about this great and phenomenal stuff happening. Thanks and much gratitude goes out to all the unwavering promotional help of one of my favorite humans ever ever ever, Ellen DeGeneres. LOVE ELLEN!

Dance on, Ellen! And Madonna too. And…………………… lots of good folk.



(**I am certain there is a better way to post links but I couldn't get it to show up with the above "insert link" feature.... so I gave up.)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about bullying and just how disgusting and absolutely unacceptable the whole travesty is. You know, let’s start with the most basic of basics. Is what someone is saying to another person “funny ha ha” for BOTH people or instead, is the teeter totter clearly bottomed out on one side? This is a really important place to start, I believe yes it is.

So, we know, bullying in its worst face forward is aggressive and very intentional physical or psychological abuse towards another person. We know there is a clear imbalance of power and someone is clearly positioning themselves as dominant. We also know that a plethora of bullying is passive aggressive, calculative, and indirect. Social bullying can easily destroy people, and most often, the bullies get away with it. Overall, if we look at statistics, we know that around and about 30% of our youth (almost 6 million kids) in our country have engaged in bullying as either the target or the aggressor or both. Obviously, more people report being bullied than report being actual bullies. But, we all get the point. It is wrong, and it is up to us ADULTS to cut-it-out (please again see the above resources and kudos to Ellen).

You may now be asking, “Why in the bajeezus are you talking about bulling?” Well, I will tell you. Two reasons. Number 1 ~ I don’t like what is happening with our youth, and we have been discussing it endlessly in the mental health world, specifically in relation to sexual orientation and acceptance. Number 2 ~ It has become painfully evident to me personally in the past few months that adults bully with the best of the best, and this sucks.

Adults get more savvy as they “mature.” Adults use primarily verbal bullying tactics while they strive to establish power and dominance to “show who’s in charge.” They don’t like to take “no” for an answer, and they will try very hard to squelch anything resembling no. An adult bully has many ugly characteristics, including sheer narcissism. Others are the emotionally out of control bully with no rhyme or reason to when they strike out a victim, but there is little stress afterwards either (or striving to change). Others use physical intimidation instead of actual physical gestures. They loom. They take whatever they want using intimidation. Of course, we know “sticks and stone will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” really isn’t true at all. The wordy bullies use their language through rumors, blatant humiliation and direct name calling and slurs towards another person. Then, of course, we cannot leave out the bully follower who joins in to protect him or herself. Understandable I suppose, but very yucko, people.

I will come back to why I’m talking about this. I have learned a lot about myself in my adult life. I am certain I have engaged in bullying behavior in my lifetime, and I have had and continue to have serious conversations with myself about being sorrowful and humble to make ongoing intentional changes. I realize now, that particularly as a teen, I followed more than I should have, and I instigated more than I should ever admit (especially in writing… YIKES!). As an adult, I have not only vowed to change my outlook on life to be drawn towards the Positive Polly Pool, but I continue to vow and work towards being that person who says something, sticks up for myself or someone else, and by all means for the good of the balanced soul, I will not push anyone else around or make someone’s life a living Haiti Hell. I will speak up if I’m a random bystander and I see something going down, and I will put that in writing if I have to file a report in a public place (such as Hy-Vee last month when I saw/heard the vendor guy make an obscene racial slur about an employee). I guess, too, I am also thinking a lot about bullying because lately I’ve seen this happening more with people who I really love and care about in my personal life, and I have also felt the effects of this blatant refusal to take no for an answer to thing. I would (as Patresa so eloquently phrased it to me once, nothing related to bullying but still relevant in my mind) would “cut a bitch” towards anyone who hurts someone I love. ****Interpretation of “cut a bitch” means I will turn into a wild (zoo) tiger and protect my young (and peers and elders) in nonviolent but very cutting, mindful and deliberate ways****

To add to the subject more, and to quote Madonna (which I admit I did have to look up this exact quote knowing she’d spoken out on Ellen’s show about the topic), “If you want to talk about solutions or how we can solve this problem, try to get through the day, each and every one of us without gossiping about somebody. And not only that. Not even listening to gossip. Walking away from it. Can you imagine what your day would be like? How much more free time you’d have? I also feel like you’d feel better about yourself.” I would just like to congratulate Madonna on saying something profound and incidentally prolific, and doing so without sporting a pointy exposed bra. Nice going, Madonna.

That is all I have for today about my irritation and unacceptance of bullying. Thank you for reading the Tanya Hadley Soapbox Opinion Blog.

Did I mention I will jump out of that airplane before my birthday (mid-May)? It will cost me around $200, and I will be there around two hours for “training.” My jumping will end with me being documented visually and audibly. Maybe when I do this, I will proclaim “BULLIES, BEWARE. SUCKERS!!” And then I may do a double herkie in the air (which will be tricky since I will be attached to another human body).

In celebration to the goals of all the COFFEE-mates and all the wonderful mates out and about along our journey and inside our worlds, I will end with the wise words from The Daffodil Principle. Learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time ~ often just one baby step at a time ~ and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world…

Peace out mates.


amy said...

So, so much to say about THIS topic, T-bop! (it's also near and dear to my heart, this anti-bullying stuff.) It's something I'm deeply committed to making sure Melissa doesn't participate in, or is a victim of (I'm actually kind of terrified that one day she'll be a victim of it).

1-I love me some Ellen D., too. I think she's funny and wise and really, really awesome. I hope she becomes America's new queen of wisdom now that Oprah's semi-retiring.

2-Quick high school experience that haunts me: middle school was a terrible experience for me (I think it is for many kids--hormones are pinging, and it's just generally a dark and confusing time)...a girl took a disliking to me (for god only knows what reason--I walked around with my nose in books, bothering no one) and it snow balled from there. So bad that when I started high school, I totally switched school systems. I was so much happier...still quiet and unobtrusive, but I made friends and wasn't bullied.

One day, I was in homeroom, and a new girl came in--I forget her name, so I'm going to call her Louise. So, Louise had been at my middle school and was bullied by the same group of ego-driven, snotty, overly pampered preppy kids as I had been. Louise wasn't very attractive, bad skin, greasy hair, and walked slumped over all the time, eyes to ground.

So she's sitting next to me in class, and I recognize her. This is a perfect opportunity for me to reach out and befriend this lost soul. I remember actually thinking this in my head--this person needs a friend, be a friend to her. And I did nothing. Later that week, one of the snotty kids in class leaned over and told her he knew who she was and then said something mean and nasty.

She never came back to school after that, and I have no idea what became of her. I think about that, whenever I hear stories of bullying.

3-Yet as an adult, I also think I've participated in it too,to an extent. It's pervasive in our culture--I see it doing its most vivid, damaging work in Entertainment blogs. My friend Carol taught me the Socratic method to dealing with gossip and gossip mongering: Before participating, as yourself these things: 1, is it true? 2, is it kind?, 3, is it helpful? If the answer to any of those questions is no, then you don't participate or spread it.

4-I hate it when people use these words in sarcastic ways: retarded and gay. "That's so retarded." "You're so gay." I had to talk to some of my first graders the other day about why "That's so gay" is hurtful and wrong. This is hard to do with 7 year olds who really don't even know what "gay" is.

5-I am deeply appreciative to you for writing this, and I love these links...I'll look at the youtube one later today. I'm right there with you, committed to eradicating this ridiculousness from the planet. There's no excuse for it, and I won't have it.

Steph said...

Amen, both of you. I spend my days in a public high school, and this bullying thing is PERVASIVE!!!!!!!! From cruel words to ignoring someone to spreading rumors to evil facebook posts and texts to isolation... it's EVERYWHERE around here. It's sickening really, because most of the time it's done by kids who are simply too insecure to accept that they're okay and that others are okay. Some kids are just mean, true, but mostly I see others hurting just because someone else doesn't feel good about who they are. I could tell you some seriously heart-breaking stories.....
I see it get worse all the time, and I worry about my own kids and making sure they recognize their own worth and the worth of others - enough to withstand when it's directed at them, enough to appreciate others and not bully them, and enough to stand up for others when they see wrong being done. That's a TALL order, yes. I'm going to do everything in my power anyway to see this through. It's my job, and it's my most important job.
Thanks for talking about this, T, and I can't wait to access the links. Lub ya, chickadee!

T-Free said...

I absolutely love and agree with everything you've said in your blog about bullying. I was bullied at two different schools by two different girls, both times on the school bus. It made what was already a tough time nearly unbearable. I cried in a stall in the girls restroom before school quite often. I'd like to be a big person and say that I forgive those girls now, but I can't. I've always been a very nice person and I didn't deserve to be treated that way. And I still think they suck.

As a parent, I have no patience at all for violent, aggressive behavior. I don't even spank, because I don't understand how I could tell my son that civilized people use their words, and not their hands to settle their differences, and then hit him when he does something I dislike. Modeling appropriate behavior starts with the parents, because the kids are watching and learning everything they see at home. Bullies learn it at home and take it out into the world to poison everyone around them with their negativity and anger. There should be no tolerance for that kind of behavior in our society.

On a happier note... I can't believe you are jumping out of a plane! Wow. I can't wait to see the pictures. I'm sure they will make me sweat in fear just looking at them. You are so BRAVE.

Go T-Bop! YEAH. :) xoxo.

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Everything you ladies said is just truest of true. I almost wonder if everyone has a "I've been bullied" story, and I just loathe it all. Plus, I want to find any one of those people who ever made you feel bad!! I mean, hello, you ROCK! I have a feeling they (the bad bullies) knew this too......

I love reading the Socrates method, and I'm SO stealing it!!..... "1, is it true? 2, is it kind?, 3, is it helpful?"....... THAT IS AWESOME! I also love to hear such passion from each of your voices, and for what it's worth, I just sent you all a huge mental hug. AND I think you all are amazing. I truly believe each and every COFFEE-mate is phenomenal.

And again, humbled.......


Katie said...

Tanya, I read this post the day you posted it, and then had to come back to it, because I caught myself totally wanting to soapbox on this, and it wouldn't have been helpful, kind OR productive! The bullying issue is as old as time and it seems so black and white; be nice. Use nice words and tone. Make friends. But the more you learn, the more complex it gets. Age plays a factor, gender, social status, building culture (workplace culture!), bystander effect, family norms.... It's a wonder anyone manages to be nice at all with so many factors buffeting them at the same time!

I am so impressed that you followed up on the Hy-Vee incident - it's really hard to do, even when the avenues to address it are right there. While having dinner with a friend at Olive Garden some time ago, a mother with two children and some old dude slumped over slurping his pasta kept hitting her children. And not taps. Smacking them, on their head, arms, back and butt. After a few minutes my friend and I moved tables, but not before I went over to her table and told her to stop hitting her children. I told her that I was a mandated reporter and if she kept it up I was going to have to make a call. She averted her eyes and said sorry. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had just whipped out the phone there and then, but didn't have the presence of mind.

This mother was not disciplining her children. She was bullying and intimidating them. Same thing as when I saw a mother dragging her pre-teen daughter, screaming the whole way, behind their car in the parking lot of a local park and knock her down. It is a moment I will never forget because as I started across the parking lot to address this, Axel took my arm and held me back. And so I did nothing. It is the last time I will do nothing.

Anyway - I suspect this topic gets lots of people fired up. Thank you for writing it, and for being determined to address it in your life in whatever form it takes.

Also, the "loomers" suck ass. The local head of the juvenile office is a loomer, and it's always a trial to deal with him.

And WOOOO!!! for jumping out of a plan! I can't wait to hear all about it!! You rock Tanya!

patresa said...

ellen is awesome. and i think ellen would like the poop out of this post. this is good writing and solid thinking, t.

witnessing how cruel young people can be to one another was the single most depressing thing about working in schools.

witnessing how cruel adult people can be to one another, to animals, to the earth, is the single most depressing thing about leaving my house.

i think whatever is inside comes out. so when people have a bunch of unresolved and unexamined shite, they fling it on others.

incidentally, i think you would make a tremendous mentor for a kid. have you ever done that?

can i come watch you jump out of that plane? I will take photos and holler and possibly pee myself in your honor. holy crap balls.

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Thanks so much for sharing.... I cannot even begin to express to you how impressed I am with your follow through with confronting the woman openly abusing her children. That is powerful stuff. I truly truly commend the strong woman you are.

P, You are too kind sister. Yes, I've thought about mentoring. My deal has always been time, but I should really change that. AND YES, I would love for you to come and holler with me when I jump out of the plan! Holy Moly Y-E-S!! :)