I grew up in a small town where you had to have the right surname to have the right to “belong”. I was about 5 years old when my group of friends realised my surname did not fit in with theirs… I roamed the playgrounds from my first day in grade one until one fortunate day in grade 4, and then some more in grade 6, again in grade8, 9 and 10. The truth is I never really belonged anywhere as the damage has been done in my most critical forming years. I don’t think I was always bullied… sometimes “they” would laugh about something and I would tell myself they laughed at me. To be honest I liked to play the victim, feeling sorry for myself became what defined me.
I felt like what they call “white trash”whatever that may be… like no one would want to be my friend. Once one of the hunks of the school asked me to dance at a party, with all his friends laughing and looking at me. I liked him a lot and he always stared at me in class, so I felt like cinderella for a few minutes, in the arms of one of the most beautiful boys I knew. Imagine the damage caused when the song ended and he stopped me in front of his laughing friends, and also the rest of the hunks in school, and asked loud and clear for everyone to hear, “Ok give me my 5 bucks.” I realised he was dared to dance with me and I was in the middle of the party, everyone looked at me… the laughing stock. That was but one of the events in my life that taught me that people cant be trusted and that you should always stand up for yourself and never allow people to trample you.
Since then I have learned that there are still people you can trust but the will to defend myself and others has stuck like gum in my hair and I still believe, though you should trust people, that one should never allow people to manipulate or step on you. Enter my pet peeve… Cyber bullying. Never in my life have I seen true colors like on social media. People think that they are free to say whatever they want and don’t seem to care about the consequences of their actions. The things i’ve seen… oh my goodness… I was recently part of a discussion on a moms group where one woman blatantly told the other one (with a very rational problem) how pathetic she was. She said she was bitching over spilled milk (she wasn’t) and that she was trying to get attention (she clearly wasn’t) and the best of all, despite of dozens of women, me included, climbing in to defend her, this woman just went on and on about how irrelevant the poster’s problem was. No shame. None of us could believe what was happening.
Years ago I was part of an alliance on an online war game (oh dear I know… ) and this one guy makes a joke about our 50 year old leader that was excellent at the game by the way, that he’s probably just a wanker sitting alone with his computer every night. The truth was that he was divorced and his children did not visit him often, so those words must have hurt so, so badly. Why do people think its ok to make jokes like that?
Social media has opened many doors for discussions and apparently half of the world’s population have no idea how to have a civilized discussion over matters that people disagree on. Apparently insulting people is the new way of making a point and providing a premise for that point you are trying to make. I personally think it just shows the measure of seriousness your point is necessary to be taken.
How about we all try to be friendly and positive… Theres a saying form Wendy Mass “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” It doesn’t matter how silly someones problem can be to you, to them it is real and relevant in their life. Just because your frame of reference leads you to think about something in a certain way doesn’t mean the other person’s thoughts are wrong, they are just different. Chances are you will get to a point later in life where you actually might think of the same issue in the same way. It all depends where life leads you. Be kind.
There’s a foundation that has a special day for fighting against Cyber bullying called the Cybersmile Foundation. Click on the link below to see their website. I don’t see a date for 2015 but keep an eye out… I’m definitely joining this one!