No Love Loss For Cyberbullies

I promised last week that I was doing some research into Cyberbullying after Melissa McCarthy made the comment that “Cyberbullies needed someone to show them some love”.  I disagreed with this comment when it was made, but after just a very little research, I completely disagree with it.

Cyberbullying:  the use of electronic communication to bully a person,                                                               typically by sending messages of an intimidating                                                                           or threatening nature.

I would be the first one to say everyone needs love and someone to make them happy, but cyberbullies are not looking for that when they go seeking their victims.  Cyberbullies are looking for the weakest of the weak.  For that reason alone, I don’t think it would matter if there was someone to show them love, they wouldn’t feel the love that is shown.  As for being happy, I don’t think they are happy and they don’t want anyone else to be happy either.

I might need to say here, Melissa McCarthy is a very educated woman.  She is educated in Fashion, film, and Production.  She is not a Psychiatrist, counselor, or doctor (and she would probably say “thank god” if she read this).  I am not a very educated person in those either, however, when I want to know answers, I research as I have this subject.  I am always asking questions.  I always want to know more than what I already know.  For example, this will not be the last blog about Cyberbullying.  I think it may be a series because there are so many tributaries to it and I want to be sure I explore all of them.  I have a meeting scheduled with the Douglas County Coroner about the suicides associated with cyberbullying.  McCarthy has me rawle’d and I am ready to explore this to the fullest.

I’m not upset because she may convince these people to give cyberbullies love, I am worried there might be more victims in the process of people trying to give these bullies love and happiness.  This type of bully isn’t what I dealt with when I was in school.   When I say they are looking for the weakest link, they truly are looking for the weakest of the weak.  They don’t want to mess with someone like me because I can care less what people say or think; they want to mess with people that are already dealing with depression on some level or have a low self-esteem.  If the person has both, even the better, they can drive that person to commit suicide.  So, here you will have these people that know what it is to feel bad and want to try to cheer someone else up and the end results could be devastating.

Now, I’m going to tell you what the crazy part of this whole argument is … I am upset about something that obviously won’t ever happen.  That’s right folks, there is no worries or fear at all that someone might try to show ANY cyberbully or electronic troll some love.

Internet Troll In internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on                                                            the internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by                                                              posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in                                                        an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat                                                            room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into                                                              an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal,                                                          on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.

Want to know why?  Because more and more the law is catching on to these cyberbullies and they are making laws against what they do.  A couple more upcoming appointment I have is with the Douglas County Georgia District Attorney and an Investigator with the Douglas County Georgia Sheriff’s Office.  They are going to share with me the various ways in which they hunt down cyberbullies (because of the anonymity attached to them) and the various crimes in which they are arrested for.  The problem with cyberbullies is that they are anonymous.  They want to be anonymous because they can say anything they want to say in the privacy of their own space and no one can find them, see them, or point them out.  So, for them to come out and tell you that they are a cyberbully and that they need your love and happiness is probably never going to happen … and if it did, I would watch out, that is probably another one of their tricks.

I could sit here and go on and on and on about all that I have learned this week, but I am going to cut it off at this point.  Next week I am going to bring another aspect of cyberbullying to you; but I am going to leave out any further reference to what Melissa McCarthy said because as I pointed out, being able to point out a cyberbully is nearly impossible.  To walk up and show a cyberbully or internet troll love is also impossible; not only because of the anonymity, but because of the psychosis they have going on.  They can’t feel anything: for or against someone or something.  They have no sympathy or apathy.  So, I will be dropping my McCarthy attack from this blog forward.

Again, thank you for taking the time to read this.  I can’t wait to talk to you more next week.

signature-w-crimes-worthy-of-ink

 

 

Advertisements

Writing On Crime

There have been a lot of crime stories worthy of ink in the past month.  I try so hard to get a blog out at least once a week, but I have been truly slacking in that department lately.  My promise to my readers, I will do better with this in the future.

Let’s start with one of the grandest in my opinion.  The “Golden State Killer” has been captured.  I personally always find it interesting when they catch someone that has been on the run as long as he has.  I mean, he started killing people and sexually assaulting people back in 1976 and he didn’t stop until 1986.  The FBI often wondered what made him stop.  The normal speculations started: maybe he got arrested or maybe he was dead.  But nope, he is an old man with a very “mean” reputation.  His neighbors, yes, neighbors, said that he would yell at them, yell at their dogs, and speak profanity to anyone that crossed him.  But, for the most part, he lived in a normal everyday neighborhood.  He lived right under the nose of his victims.  You know, this had to be another way of taunting his victims.  I was watching a documentary on ID and some of his victims were telling how insecure they were to know that even today he was still free and was never caught … it must be devastating to them to know how close he really was.  A friend of mine that done drugs use to tell me that if you wanted to find drugs, the best place to look was in the back yard of the police department.  His point was this, the easiest place to hide is under the nose of those searching for you … I always thought that guy was an idiot, I guess not.

Another popular subject in the headlines today, Bill Cosby.  I have split feelings about this.  Bill Cosby is accused of giving several women drinks mixed with qualudes.  These women would be unconscious as Bill Cosby would have his way with them.  These assaults went on during a span from 1965-2008.  Now, only one of the over 50 accusers was able to have her case heard in court.  Today, she got the justice that was so rightly deserved of all the victims, but the other victims waited past the statute of limitations to say anything about the alleged assaults.

Here is my mixed feelings, if you wait 50 years to say that Bill Cosby assaulted you, then you had to have a reason for it.  What was it?  Were you going to be “black listed” by a top dog in the entertainment business?  Most likely.  I am sure he wouldn’t have went down without a fight … which is more than what I can say for these women.  No, before you go messaging me on this blog and sending me emails, hear me out.  These women didn’t say anything … nada.  In the meantime, other women were being assaulted.  Lord only knows how many victims there really are out there because some of those that kept their mouth shut feel they shut their voice in silence for a reason a long time ago.  Women have gone through such dark ages where we had to fight for our right to say our “husbands” raped us.  We have had to fight for the right to speak up against sexual assault and these women didn’t help that fight.  They didn’t help the fight for all women and they certainly didn’t help the fight for the ones that came after them.  But, the law is what it is, and for that reason, Cosby is guilty on all the charges he was accused of.  The guy is over 80-years-old.  My guess is, he will never see a day in prison.  My guess is, he will die either by suicide or health problems before he is sentenced.  I can’t see “America’s Dad” serving time in prison.

Well folks, that all I have for you tonight.  Maybe next week, I will have a bit more to tell you about my book I am writing.

signature-w-crimes-worthy-of-ink

 

NEWTOWN SHOOTING vs PARKLAND SHOOTING: Adam Lanza vs Nikolas Cruz

I don’t like to compare tragedies like these because I feel every experience deserves its own coverage without all the fluff of other stories.  However, I would like to talk about mental illness for a moment.  It always amazes me how mental illness is treated and how the sick respond to that treatment.

Nikolas Cruz went into a school in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 and shot up a school that he used to attend.  He killed 17 and wounded 14 others.  He rode in an Uber to the school and went into the school; pulled the fire alarm so that the students would start rushing out into the hall; and started firing.  The Mayor of Broward County Florida said that Cruz was dealing with mental health issues, but he wouldn’t elaborate any further, except to say he received treatment and stopped.  The family he lived with was under the impression that the only issues he was dealing with was depression because he never showed any anger.  However, he had been in trouble at school on numerous occasions for fighting.

Adam Lanza went into a school where his mother worked in Newtown on December 14,2012 and killed 26 and wounded 2 (counting only students and staff … not counting his mother at home that he killed before leaving the house and his suicide after the shooting).  In the aftermath, they learned that Lanza suffered from Depression, Anxiety, Asperger’s syndrome, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (all of which are controllable with proper medication).

The problem in the nation today is not gun control … it is how we deal with mental illness.  Trump, right out of the gate on this last shooting starting preaching (every speech he gives sounds more like preaching to me) that it wasn’t guns, it was mental illness.  To a point, he is right, but what has he done to help this situation?  Obama would also speak about mental illness in the midst of tragedies such as this … again, what did he do about it?  Please understand, I am not saying we need more background checks on mental illness to purchase guns … as a matter of fact, I am not even referring to gun control or any aspect of it.  My focus is on mental illness and that solitary aspect of one’s life.

We all must deal with mental illness today.  We have war vets coming home with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder); we have family members and friends that are addicted to drugs and alcohol; and we have older loved ones being diagnosed with dementia.  It’s out there people and whether you admit you are dealing with it or not, you are … or you’re not, and in that case, you are one of the ones in the tragedies merely waiting for the next catastrophe.

Let me give you a small history lesson.  Mary Ann Todd Lincoln, wife to President Abraham Lincoln, suffered from a mental illness all her life that was diagnosed as a cerebral palsy after her death (but this was back between 1818-1882, medical knowledge wasn’t that advanced yet).  She was a very unpopular first lady; but I imagine that was because of the mental illness (which was really Cerebral Palsy) she suffered from.  People also probably shunned her because of her use of over the counter drugs that contained opioids and alcohol (which is a very common form of treating mental illness in the 19th century).  How quick people back then were to judge.

I have another one for you, what about Albert Einstein?  He was an absolutely genius … but everyone around him thought he was mental retarded.  He too was shunned (which is probably good, because he had plenty of time to come up with the theory of relativity and focus on philosophical science).

My point is this, they shunned Mary Ann Todd Lincoln in the 1800’s and they shunned Einstein in the early 1900’s.  Still today, in the 21st century, we are afraid to deal with people who are mentally ill.  It is almost like we are going to catch what is wrong with them if we get to close to them.  How we deal with them is so vitally important to the outcome.  Lincoln went on to marry a President.  Einstein went on to discover the Theory of Relativity.  What was the difference?  Could it be that they had more support than the mentally ill today?  Maybe the 18th and 19th Centuries weren’t “throw-a-way societies”, where everything and everyone is disposable.

Rosalyn Carter is the only First Lady that has every tried to get something done about mental illness while her husband, Jimmy Carter, was in office and beyond.  We need more people to stand up and change how we deal with them.  This is one part of the system that needs a major overhaul of reform.  We need more beds available.  We need the police to be willing to haul people to the hospital when a loved one calls the police and says, “Please take them to the hospital, they are sick, they need help”.  Instead, right now, if you call the police on a loved one that is acting “crazy”, most likely, that person will spend that night and possibly more in jail.  The police will charge them with unruly conduct or whatever; just to get them out of everyone’s way at that particular moment.  Why not take them to the hospital first and have a 10-13 done on them?  Why not find out what the problem is and search for a solution?  Because, that would take too long and no one has any time for that.

One thing I thought was interesting when comparing Newtown and Parkland, was how the shooter carried out his rampage.  Adam Lanza in Newtown started at home with his mother, the only person he lived with.  Nikolas Cruz started and finished at the school, and he saw everyone he lived with that day: his host Mom, host Dad, and host brother.  Lanza was in mental health treatment since he was a young child; whereas, Cruz only dabbled in mental health treatment.  Adam Lanza committed suicide after the attacks; whereas, Cruz was caught an hour later and confessed to the shootings.

Could it be, Lanza felt like his mother was judging him?  Were there things that she done or said to him that made him kill her first?  His mother worked at the school where the shooting took place, is it possible she showed more love and concern for those kids to Lanza, than her own son who needed her?  I’m not victim blaming, but I don’t think all crime is a crime of evil … sometimes, I think a person is pushed to their wits end and society as a whole must suffer the consequences.  Is it possible, that he wanted to save her from all the heartache of what he was about to do?  Unfortunately, we will never know, but there might be things we can carry away from this.

Nikolas Cruz went straight to the school to start shooting people.  Witnesses say that he kept asking people where his host brother was or had anyone seen him.  The law community believes that it was because he wanted to make sure he didn’t get caught up in the cross fire.  That is how much Cruz cared about the people that took him in when no one else could handle him.  What did they do differently?  Was it the fact that he felt accepted for who he was when he was at home?  He didn’t feel judged and was given free reign to feel the way he was feeling at any given time.  There has to be a difference here and I have to believe that that difference is what will prevent future catastrophes from happening.  Cruz stayed in trouble at school.  He was getting into fights and getting suspended and expelled.  The student body thought he was a “odd”.  In a lot of the news reports, you can see where someone in this environment might have felt judged … almost bullied.

Have we became a society that doesn’t have any time for anyone else? We don’t care how you are feeling today … “speak your business and please move politely to the left or right out of my way.”   How many more mass shootings, school shootings, will we have if this kind of attitude keeps up?  The song group 4HIM sings a song called, Back to The Basics Of Life.  In that song, they talk about getting back to God and getting closer to HIM.  Personally, I am agnostic, but I can see the message they have.  Years ago people didn’t fire guns unless they felt threatened or harmed.  Today, we live in a society where the only one we are concerned about is ourselves.  No one in life matters any more.  We have mothers walking through grocery stores with earphones in, music blasting, and a kid pulling on their pant leg trying to get their attention.  We have teens, and adults in some cases, that need someone to be there for them, and when they look around, there is no one there.  I am a tough person and I have said many times, I don’t need anyone … but what if one day I did.  Oh, I have plenty of people around me that would in a heartbeat be there for me … I really don’t know what I would be capable of doing if I felt all alone … and then judged for how I was feeling.  If you are honest with yourself, you too know what I am talking about.

It is all in how we make the mentally ill feel that could be all the difference.  For the ones that truly need help, we need to get them a hospital where they and people around them can be safe.  There are not enough beds for the mentally ill today … no funding to put them in those beds … and the ones that are available, are to expensive (let’s face it, not a lot of mentally ill people are able to work … why, because they feel judged … thus the phrase, “going postal”).  So, you sit there on your social media, on your phone to your congressmen and senators, and you just yell it from the roof tops if you want to that these guns are killing people … in the meantime, I will be sitting here on my social media, on my phone with my congressmen and senators, and yelling it from the roof tops we need reform.  Let’s see who gets what done first.  Most likely, to pacify your request they will make another small minute change to the gun control and within a very short few months, another catastrophe is bound to happen.  Why?  Because we will still have people treating people the wrong way and people feeling cornered with no where else to turn.  Whereas, if they were to pacify me and my rantings, we might squelch one attempt at a mass shooting by nipping it in the bud.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  It has taken me longer to write this one than anything I have written so far, but then again, I feel very compassionate about this subject.

signature-w-crimes-worthy-of-ink
 

DIRTY COPS

In February 2013, Atlanta done a round-up of “dirty Cops”.  These cops were charged with protecting drug dealers while they done their drug deals.  What were they protecting the drug dealers from … REAL COPS.  They were protecting these scum bags in the event that an officer came down their street they were selling drugs on … they were paid to make sure that the real officers didn’t arrest them.

I was so elated when I first heard this story in the news.  Even now, 5 years later, I grit my teeth while writing about this story because of how mad it makes me.  It upsets me any time I hear an officer taking his oath for granted; but these officer push me so far beyond mad.

Between January 2006 and September 2006, I was addicted to Crack Cocaine and I only purchased my drugs in Atlanta on Freedom Parkway (the drug dealers called it “the Boulevard”).  This was exactly 42 minutes away from my home.  I done it this way because too many people in Douglasville knew me and as big as Douglasville is, it is a very small town when people talk.

One night, I went down to the Boulevard to buy some Crack and there was a cop coming down the road in the opposite direction while I was talking to the drug man.  I told the drug man to get away from my door because a cop was coming and he looked up and went back to doing business and said not to worry about it because he paid his rent that night.  Eleven years later and that remark still haunts me.   “Don’t worry about it, I paid my rent tonight”.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  But even more devastating was what I saw.  The officer drove right past a black drug dealer at the window of a car with a white lady buying Crack Cocaine without so much as slowing down.  The drug dealer and cop nodded as he passed.  I realize that some people are reading this blog and thinking I am exaggerating when I tell you this story; but I assure you, I am not.

In August 2006, I moved to Florida and started doing my drugs there.  From September 2006 until March 2007 I lived in Florida and became even more of an addict than I was in Georgia.  In March 2007, I moved back to Georgia while my kids were on spring break from school.  I wasn’t in Georgia a week when I got arrested by a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputy while out searching for some drugs.  I was in jail for 29 days before going to court and being sentenced to 6-years- probation.   I tell you this for one simple reason:  if it wasn’t for being arrested, I honestly believe that I would be an addict today.  It took being arrested and losing my liberties for me to get clean and stay clean.

The whole time I was in jail, I kept thinking about that cop that drove past me doing business that night in Atlanta the year before.  I wonder if he knew what he had done that night?  I wonder if he knew how many kids he could have saved from a drug hell if he followed protocol with his job.  I knew he didn’t know about my 2 boys or me.  There was no way he could know.  Once I got sober and clean in May of 2007, I often thought about going to Atlanta and trying to figure out who that officer was and tell him what he was doing by not following protocol … but I promised myself I would never step foot where I stepped between 2006 and 2007 … I never went to try to find him.

Then I heard about this story in February 2013, 10 officers arrested for taking payoffs.  To this day I don’t know if he was one of the officers tied up in that; but I surely would like to know.  Most of these officers are still in Federal Prisons today for the crimes they committed.  They were charged with assisting in Drug Trafficking, receiving illegal payoffs, and carrying a gun in the commission of crimes.  You know what they aren’t charged with?  They aren’t charged with enabling a drug addict to remain in her drug induced hell for another year.  You know what they aren’t charged with?  They aren’t charged with causing 2 young boys to live in a drug induced abusive home for another year.  These are crimes they can’t be charged with because there are no such crimes in the books.  How do you put a price tag or a prison term on someone’s suffering of that sort?  What would that price be if you could?

I want you to know, I don’t blame this officer for my addiction.  I don’t even blame the person who introduced me to drugs for my addiction.  My addiction was my fault … no one tied my hands behind my back and forced me into an addiction … no one held a gun to my head and made me do drugs … I walked into that hellish nightmare all on my own, knowing full well what drugs can and would do to someone.  But these officers need to be held responsible for their part in this epidemic.  I plan to write each and every one of these people a letter and let them know my story.  Only they know if they were that officer on that street that night.  If they weren’t, I want them to know what they caused for someone else.  I will update this blog as I get responses … if I get any responses.

signature-w-crimes-worthy-of-ink

COULD IT HAVE BEEN PREVENTED????

As you know, I am one to ask questions of a person that might give me some sensible answers.  My mind is going with questions all day and night.  The questions I have been asking myself lately is about this Christopher McNabb that is accused of killing his 15-day-old infant daughter.  Who is he and what lead to where he is now?  Were there any signs that we could have used to avoid this?  Were there people that ignored the warnings?  Could you hold those people responsible for ignoring what they scene?  Questions … Questions … QUESTIONS!!!

As you can tell, I am outraged about this case.  About the time I can sit back and relax and relieve myself of the stress of details of one case, I am hit with the details of another.  Now that I say that, wonder if one had anything to do with the other?

download

Christopher McNabb is 27-years-old and he is facing the following charges:

  • Felony Murder
  • Malice Murder
  • Aggravated Battery
  • Concealing the Death of Another

Some of his previous charges are:

  • Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officer – Fayette County
  • He had 4 misdemeanor charges to with this one in Fayette County
  • Theft by Taking – Coweta County
  • Burglary – Bartow County
  • Burglary – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County
  • Burglary – Bartow County
  • 2nd Degree Criminal Damage to Property – Bartow County
  • Burglary – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County
  • Entering Vehicle – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County

With all these charges, he was sentenced to 5-15 years in prison.  As we know, when

They first went to arrest McNabb, they hadn’t found the baby yet, so they held him on a probation violation.  He had just got out of prison last year.  In that year, he made up for lost time … he immediately got a woman pregnant and ended up killing that poor child … oh, and he is back in jail without bail.

Were there no signs that this guy might be violent?  I am sure to his girlfriend, there were signs.  I am also sure that she never told anyone about those times … or no one was ever able to convince her to leave him because of it … one of the two … and I have to wonder which.  Let me elaborate on why that would matter to me.

If she never told anyone about the domestic violence in the home, then it is very possible that she was the only one that could have seen the dangers of living with this man and she was blinded by either the abuse or the love.  I am still on the fence as to whether or not a woman in that state is able to make logical decisions.  One part of me say, yes, she has been hit by him, she has probably seen him get a little too mad at the 2-year-old that was in the home, but she is so abused that she thinks if she leaves him, it will only get worse.  Then there is another side of me that says, no, she sees the abuse, she has experienced the abuse and she knows that the only thing to do is to leave.  Those are the questions people have been asking themselves for decades and I don’t plan to keep hammering that nail here.  However, I do believe she knew full well what happened to Caliyah and I believe that although she may not have been able to stop it from happening, she most certainly knew it was a possibility to happen.  My questions now revolve around the other daughter.  How many times has she been hurt by McNabb and yet she remains in Courtney Bell’s custody.  How long is this going to go on before someone intervenes on that little girl’s behalf?
Let’s say that Courtney is so abused that she is beyond being able to assist her kids to safety (although I find that hard to believe since he has only been out of prison for a year); could there be others that knew how violent he was and yet allowed him to intermingle with children without any reports to Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS)?  I think there is.  How about the family members that found the baby in the woods?  Who are they?  How are they related to the baby and him?  How did they know where to go and search that the police had not already searched?  One cousin was on the news saying that they knew that the father “likely done something to her”.  My question to that cousin, why have you not already reported what you knew?  What if everyone reported what they knew about this big puzzle?  Eventually, the legal system would be able to save another child.

Look at my chart below and the following explanation.  Do I think we should charge some of these other people … why yes.  Maybe if we start charging others for not reporting what they have seen and heard, people might start taking this domestic violence stuff seriously; because right now, now one takes it serious.  Everyone thinks it is none of their business and they leave it alone.  If you report it and it gets investigated and they find nothing … then so be it.  At least you done your job.  After a few more reports, they will have to look harder and harder every time a new report is made and eventually you have saved a life.  Your report might not mean nothing today, but when the next one comes in, it gives your report a little more validation.

When I say, “I wonder if one had anything to do with the other”; I wonder if he got so obsessed with the Las Vegas Shooter story, that it caused him to go crazy also?  What if the media reporting on these things can cause people to lose all control?  We have to start thinking about what we are doing and saying.  How will it affect others?  Will there be casualties that we never considered?

signature-w-crimes-worthy-of-ink

SECRETS

Almost 11-years-ago, when I was addicted to Crack Cocaine, someone said something to me that has stuck with me through my recovery and to this day I don’t believe a wiser statement has ever been made.  They told me that addictions hide in our secrets.  The sad thing is, I have no idea who told me that or even in what context the comment was made.  The even sadder thing is, I don’t know if I was trying to get sober at the time or if it was said while I was in my addiction and I held on to it because I knew it was the way out.  Since I am pretty good with information and where it came from, I would have to believe that it was something said to me while I was in the heart of my addiction.

I have been sober for 10 ½ years now; and when I see someone struggling with addiction, I often want to run over to them and ask them what is it they are running from.  A couple times, I have come out and asked … and most of the time, the receiver looks at me as if to say, “What?” or “Who do you think you are?”.  What they don’t realize, even after I explain it to them, I know what I am talking about.

Other times, in fear of being rejected, I simply wonder to myself and never say anything to the person with the addictions.  When I get home or the next time I am alone, I often kick myself for at least not mentioning it, I mean, one thing I do know is that my rejection is not nearly as painful as their addiction.

I am reading the book Shattered Silence: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter by Melissa G. Moore.  In the preface of the book, she makes the statement:  you’re only as sick as your secrets.  I am sure there are plenty of situations out there that she finds herself wanting to tell people this little nugget of truth and I am sure during those times that she has, she has seen the same rejection I have with mine.

What are your secrets?  If you think about your secrets, they cause you to do something to keep them hidden.  What are those actions for you?  What will those actions lead to?  Maybe it isn’t the first actions that you are doing that is going to be the harmful one(s) … your initial actions might only be the “gateway” to the harmful one(s).  A lot of times, as was my case, the secrets were merely a matter of one’s perspective.  It was a standard that I held myself to and when I realized that others didn’t perceive me that way, I became lost.  I no longer knew who I was or if I was ever the person I thought I was.  I began to think, if I was never that person to begin with, then I have nowhere to return to … however, if I only got lost during the last few months, then how do I get back to it.

My self-perception wasn’t so much that I was perfect, but that I held myself to a higher standard because I didn’t want to be a failure.  I went through a court battle that made me realize that there were people that viewed me as a failure to some degree.  This perception by those few, that were in no way my family or friends, made me begin to hide parts of my life from my real family and friends so that they didn’t get the same perception.   I have always been a family person and I shared anything and everything with my family; but, slowly I began to withdraw from everyone.  It no longer mattered what others thought, so there was no reason to keep everyone in the loop.  One secret became another secret and before you know it, I met someone (who by the way, my family didn’t approve of) that wanted to introduce me to the really big secrets … the ones that lead to addictions.

There are a lot of “what-ifs” here that one could say was the cause for the addiction; I think it started with the secrets.  In my life, my family is my rock.  The first red flag to me should have been when I started hiding things from them.  I couldn’t let them know how I was feeling because that too could be a failure.  I couldn’t let them know who I was thinking about dating because that was a definite failure in the making.

I can tell you the very night that I first knew that I was headed for trouble and did nothing to stop it.  As I said earlier, I had started to date a guy that no one would approve of, but no one really knew about him at this point (I just knew what my family expected and what they didn’t), I didn’t see any reason to have that argument up until this point, so I never shared that with them.  Also, up to this point, he hasn’t introduced me to anything either (just thought I might need to add that).  I had this guy over at my house when my sister called me to babysit for her (another thing I did without question … and never said “no” to).  I was to go to her house and pick up her kids and bring them to my house.  Well, I had this guy at my house.  This guy was also in the dark, I didn’t need anybody thinking I couldn’t act like an adult and think like an adult when I am in my 30s.  I tell my sister that I was busy at that moment (which she never has in the past heard me say), but I would pick them up momentarily.  I then explain to this guy, that I must go get my sister’s kids.  I had to convince him to come with me because I didn’t trust anyone in my home without me present (sound familiar … another secret).  Everything was fine … I mean, he was good to her kids and we ate dinner like they always did when they came to my house … it was merely the fact that no one knew about the other because I didn’t need their opinions about how respectful or disrespectful I was of their opinions.  I laid in bed that night thinking about all the secrets.  They were driving me crazy already and that was only the first night of it.

One thing people don’t realize about a drug addiction, you’re not going to wake up the day after you stop using and be completely back to who you were before you started.  No, that takes a while … it takes a long while.  It would be better to not have to fight that battle to get back.  Be open with everyone.  Be honest and let people know who you are: what your fears are, what you feel, who you like and who you don’t.  I promise you, it probably doesn’t matter to them as much as it matters to you.  The young people today use the word “random” (ex.: “That was a random conversation”).  Today, I have a lot of random conversations with everyone I know.  If it comes to my mind, most likely, it is going to come out my mouth.

Some of you readers are probably sitting here and politely reading this blog and wondering, how on earth random secrets lead to an addiction.  Well, I am here to assure you, they do.  One way they do it, when we share a random thought with someone, most likely, they are going to share their opinion of that thought.  After hearing a lot of negative reviews of our remarks, we begin to shut down and that is the absolutely worst thing we can do.  Our thoughts and conversations are not going to be liked by everyone; but we must realize that doesn’t change who we are and what they mean to us.  What it does mean is that maybe we need to reassess ourselves and make sure we are in check.  Their feelings and opinions of us does keep us in check and that is what keeps us out of trouble.  So, my advice to you, the next time you have a decision to make about whether or not to keep something a secret … don’t.

Image

Who Gave Them the Right?

Mallory Grossman was 12-years-old when she committed suicide because of being bullied at school.  Her bullies weren’t just students, it was teaching faculty also.  Her parents are suing the school system because of the faculty being a part of the problem that caused their daughter to commit suicide.

Technology is awesome.  Today, I bet the reading ability for the average student is a higher than it was when I was in school and this is all due to technology.  When I was in school, I had a reading disability; today, I have yet to meet a student that has a reading disability and has to go to tutoring for it.  The students are still reading at school; but now they read text messages, Snapchat messages, and emails.  Some schools have even gone to computer setups where computers are a necessity and not a commodity and therefore they loan them out to their students … something like the way books were loaned out when I was in school.

In an average week, I use Email, Facebook, and Twitter.  I will gain access to these sites on 3 types of devices:  my cellphone, my Kindle, and my laptop.  Oh, by the way, I have 4 Email accounts (one for every walk of life).  I would imagine that the average student uses on any given week, Email (probably just as many as me, because Mom and Dad can only suspend one), Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, KiK, and Instagram (and probably a few dozen more since I don’t stay in touch with the daily trends).  Honestly, I have a hard time keeping up with Facebook and Twitter on top of work, reading and writing; I don’t know how school age teens have enough hours in the day to do it … but they do and that is where the problem comes in at.

When I was in school, I was bullied a lot … I mean, seriously, a lot.  I don’t know why … my guess is, I got on people’s nerves.  However, today, many of the people that would bully me as a teen are friends with me on my Facebook.  No, we don’t hangout or anything; but it goes to show, as adults, we do act our age.  I hold no grudges for the ones that bullied me.  As a matter of fact, today, I sympathize with some of them because they have had a really hard life in comparison to mine.

There was this one girl that used to bully me that I thought was the prettiest person.  Even though she obviously didn’t like me, that never deflected what I thought about her.  I just knew that she could have had any boyfriend she wanted and it was obvious that she had a lot of friends.  A few years ago, she committed suicide.  I didn’t find out until years after it happened; I was absolutely devastated when I found out.  I wished I had been given the opportunity to speak to her one more time.  I wanted her to know what I always thought about her … back then and today.  I always wondered what made her do it.  Some said a failing marriage … others said a terminal illness … I hate knowing that she would have done something like that because someone didn’t like her.  I would have been the first one to let her know, this was not the answer.

Back then, all I had to do was tolerate the class or bus ride that the bullies were on.  When that class or bus ride was over, I didn’t have to deal with the bullies again until the next day … on Fridays, I had a 2 day break from any bullying.  Today, our teens don’t have it that easy.  The bullying today takes on a deeper meaning than it used to.  Today’s bullying would be considered stalking more than it would be called bullying.  Sure, they are still calling them names, degrading their self-worth, and isolating them from everyone else … but they are doing it all day long.  That is all these people live for … taunting and making this person’s life a living Hell.  It doesn’t end with that one class and it doesn’t end when you get off the bus.  It starts with the texting, emails, and SnapChat first thing in the morning and that is where it stays all day … unless you are in person, of course.   They are able to do it in such a way that even the adults … the teachers and parents … get caught up in it.  As I sit here and write this, I am hoping that the adults don’t actively know what they are doing exactly.  I am hoping this teen is convincing them this is a prank and not bullying; thus their participation is supposed to bring a laugh and not a cry.

When I was in school, adults would tell me, “awe, they (the bullies) just like you”.  No, it was obvious they didn’t.  Even as I sit here as an adult myself, I don’t know what can be done about bullies; but I know something needs to be done.  Sure you can change there classes so they aren’t in the same classrooms; but that really doesn’t take care of the problem.  As I said, these teens today are texting them, SnapChatting them, going on their Facebook and posting things, and making videos on YouTube.  At this point, even changing their schools wouldn’t work.

Honestly, I think the only thing that would work is acting as an example for these teens.  No, maybe not after they become teens; but when they are younger, show them how to treat others.  Sure, you are going to have personality conflicts from time to time … I don’t think that is what bullying is.  I think these teens at some point in their life was given the right to be mean, and the one that gave them that right by example, needs to fix the problem.

For example, one day I was in the Wal-Mart and I ran into one the ladies that as teens was my biggest bully.  Not only did she bully me, in no uncertain terms, she would tell you in a heartbeat back then that she hated me.  In her shoes, I would have probably hated me too.  We were on the same softball team together.  This girl put her all into it.  I don’t know if she ever played for our high school team or not; if she didn’t, she sure needed to … she was just that good.  I really didn’t like softball.  I have never been the outdoor type.  I have always been happier indoors, either writing or reading.  So, imagine playing on a softball team with a player that didn’t want to be there and you were are a competitive player with an all win attitude … it probably made her angry on more than one occasion and yet she was stuck with me.

Anyways, we had not seen one another in years when we ran into one another at the Wal-Mart.  As we got to talking and catching up, my son, who was only about 2 years old at the time, asked me if she was a friend of mine.  Me and this lady both looked at one another and started laughing and the lady told my son, “not until now,” and she was so right.  Never in our history were we ever friends; but today, we may not hangout, but we do have a certain respect for one another.  I have told my boys several times about this lady and our history.  I have showed them that you can’t hold grudges and although you don’t particularly like someone, doesn’t mean you can’t respect them.  I could sit here and give you hundreds of examples of my boys paying it forward what they have been taught by example; but I won’t bore you with the details.  I will say this, they have never been called bullies and everyone that meets them will tell you that they have been nothing but a friend to them.  I tell people every day, once I meet you, regardless of our past, we are friends and my boys do the same.

We need to show our kids that people’s feeling do matter.  Even when we don’t have a particular interest in their life, we can be the one that changes everything for them.  All it would take is one time for them to be the one that changed someone else’s day by saying just what needed to be said instead of hating on them for being in the way.  Next time you get ready to say something mean about someone else or make a face that is unpleasant, think about your audience … you may be giving someone else the right to be a bully.