April. My favorite month. With April came the sun. Unexpected things. Happiness. New tidings. With April came heart and soul. Most of all, came hope.
This was March for me. Slowly enjoying the warmer weather and trying to think outside the box. Embracing the imperfections and focusing on capturing what I saw in my mind’s eye.
A while back, my youngest son comes into my room crying. He asks me to come with him. He likes to Skype with his friends from school so I thought nothing of it. Apparently he had found a friend he didn’t know from school, another boy around his age, to play Minecraft with. This boy along with 2 others were bullying my son. I read the texts back and forth and was not too happy with what I saw.
While sitting there, the boy “skyped” my son. So I answered. (note, neither have their webcams on). I hear a young voice pop up and I say hello, that I’m the mom and I don’t appreciate him harassing my kid.
He proceeds to curse at me and then tells me I “sound like an 80 yr old woman.” I, of course burst out laughing because it was so…. dumb. I told him thank you, and goodbye.
Here comes in the difference between being a bullied CHILD and a “bullied” adult: I then went in and blocked the contacts. I then deleted the contacts. I am an adult, so I took control. I then asked him…. “Who are these people to you?” My son had felt helpless, he is a child. It’s to be expected. As adults, WE control how we feel. WE control who we listen to. WE control how we react.
Tears still in his eyes, though a little less so after the eruption of laughter….. he asks me how to deal with this. The thing is, he is bullied all the time. At school, online etc.. I tried to explain to him that when you think for yourself, and march to the beat of your own drum, people feel threatened by that. They don’t like it. Since the dawn of time, those who are different have been persecuted for it. He really enjoys being in his own world and I commend him for that. He has his very own story line and he isn’t afraid to speak up. As his mother, it is my job not to “fix” it all for him, but to aid him in getting a hold of the situation. Yes, I step in when needed, but I won’t be able to fight his battles forever.
I have become so accustomed to being “hated” on, it surprises me to have anyone actually take the time to get to know me. I grew up being pushed around, having my hair pulled (I grew up with Shirly Temple curls), being called ugly, fat, weird etc. Groups of kids would wait at the bus stop after school to “beat me up.” I once was pushed around and picked on so badly on my bus, I ended up having a panic attack. My mom had to work to support us so nobody was really there to “defend” me. I had to learn on my own. Looking back, I was that little girl who picked out her own clothes did her own hair and her own thing. I didn’t like to take my shoes off, I wasn’t very fond of people seeing my feet. This made for difficult nap times in Kindergarten, time-outs were often. I was bossy. It was my way or the highway. I had a temper too. I wanted to do things myself. To put it frankly, I was a real pain in the ass. I was also quiet. Reserved. Lived in my own head. The perfect victim.
By high school, the bullying was just a day to day thing for me. I ignored it. Read my books on the bus, retreated into my own mind for comfort. One day in Drama class, I happened to see one of the boys who bullied me sitting alone. My curiosity got the better of me and I went over and quietly asked him, “why do you pick on me?”
He told me, “because you look like you can handle it. I’m expected to be this big ‘jock’ and to be popular, so I do it to get a laugh from my friends.” I understood, I was shocked. It was literally as though he was hoping I’d ask so he could just rid himself of the guilt. That day on, he never bullied me the same way again. We actually “teased” each other more than anything. No, we never became friends, but I understood. It was no excuse by any stretch of the imagination. Bullies are people too. Something drives them to do what they do. Whether it’s low self-esteem, family expectations or just fearing what they don’t understand.
Not everyone can “handle” it though. I had far worse things to deal with so the bullying was breeze when put into perspective. It helped me release those feelings of “sorrow” when people were mean and replace them with more curiosity as to why they behaved the way they did.
In the long run. Learning how to react to bullying as a child, helps as you get older. The problem is, not every child has a good support system to help them deal with it. Every person is different. I let my kids know to be there for those who might be bullied. Stand up for them and offer them support. As adults, we should do the same. Instead of attacking others, we should try to understand them instead.
Imagine this. For only a moment.
You work your ass off for years. Slowly building a brand. You didn’t buy your 100K likes on Facebook. There was none of that “Political Facebook-ing.” You didn’t join the “viral” universe to make a name for yourself. You worked your ass off. Poured your blood, sweat and tears into making something you can be proud of, something you can whole heartily say…. “I DID THIS.”
I forgot to mention. You’re also a mother, a wife and most importantly; a human being.
One morning you wake up only to find out an entire website has been created about you. On that website are hundreds of comments calling you “fat,” “cunt,” “bitch,” etc…
Let’s press pause for a minute. I was one of those unfortunate souls who fell into the vat of ickiness and listened to the rumors. That was until I got to know some of the people who were being attacked. One in particular really changed my viewpoint on how I see those in “photographic” positions of assumed power. I will forever be in her debt.
Now lets add in a few FB groups dedicated to ripping you, your lifestyle and your life’s work apart. Sprinkle on a few sneaky bastards that gather groups of people do a “buy-in” into your workshops (with the purpose of recording them and sharing them on file sharing sites), and add a dash of action makers who try to get into your editing workshops for the sole purpose of creating action sets THEY can sell.
That’s just breakfast.
For lunch you get to have a few hundred people on Facebook telling you each and everyday how to run your business. A few who think your work is porn, some who question your ability to keep your clients safe and at least one or two who feel the need to declare their immediate action to unfollow you.
By now you are probably getting at least a little flustered. Remember, you are also running a full time business, raising a few kids, having a normal life and on top of that…adminning a Facebook page.
Dinner rolls around and you have received at least two fake emails telling you about more internet articles being written about you, more web pages being created to bash you and at least one telling you what an evil bitch you are and that you should die.
Let’s not forget dessert.
For dessert you get to watch your entire portfolio being re-created in your newsfeed and watch other people take credit for your imagination, your creativity and your unmistaken style. Then you get to be told to basically take it up the ass like a good photographer and just smile and nod. You’re a professional remember?
When did it become OK to be a constant victim? When did it become OK to show people how to take it up the ass? That’s what is going on. By sitting by and doing nothing and just smiling and deleting hundreds of comments a day….you’re taking it up the ass and telling others who look up to you, to do the same. Wasting HOURS of your time….sitting there moderating each and every hateful comment because you’re suppose to bend over and take it. GRAB THOSE ANKLES!!!! Because not only are you supposed to just take it, there is ZERO lube involved.
Stressed out. Upset. Angry. Sad. Humiliated. Devastated. Depressed.
But your supposed to smile…..?
This is where it is perfectly OK to drop the f-bomb. Tell those people to STFU. Fuck you and shut the fuck up. Those who stand up for themselves often find themselves standing alone. It’s not popular to stand up for yourself. It’s not “politically correct.” Some of us are just sick and tired of being ramrodded in the ass… at least grab the lube next time.
Please be warned. Some adult language is used. (oh and you might not want to eat beforehand either…) :P