When did the computers and phones…become torture devices.

Everyday I see SOME thing…whether it’s televised as news, posted on the net or dramatized for television, where people (teens especially) are going IN on each other. Bullying. Attacking defenseless souls who just want to be left alone, accepted, loved, respected…and yet, they’re singled out by miserable people who seek to bring pain to someone else.

Is it peer pressure? Is it that thing that you do with a group of people because you’re just DAMNED glad it’s not YOU on the receiving end? Is it that thing you do because you’re beat up on at home, or you feel inferior to others, or because you want to be feared…because being feared is better than being disliked?

Whatever the motivation…it’s sickening. I’ve seen enough REAL life stories run across my home feed on Facebook…and now, it’s seemingly so serious that producers and writers are making it priority to include this subject into their series. On my soap “One Life To Live”…a young boy gets taunted daily…relentlessly, because he’s asthmatic and carries an inhaler. They call him Weezy and threaten his life if he was to ever tell. The boy was stripped naked and taped. The video…posted to “MyFace” (gotta laugh at THAT) leaving him so embarrassed that he attempted to jump from a building.

On CSI tonight…a young pregnant teen hung herself in her closet because she was harassed on her phone over and over again. Again, a video released…gone viral…rendering her so embarrassed that successfully, she kills herself. Although these are television shows…it is just a depiction of what is REALLY going on in this world. The young man who committed suicide after his sexuality was revealed via video…that happened!! 

Parents…I pray that you’re monitoring your children’s Internet time. I pray that you’re monitoring their cell time as well. There are programs out there that help you trace every keystroke on your child’s computer…allowing you a glimpse of what their activities are. If your child is inflicting harm on others (or is being harmed) there are underlying issues related to their 1) willingness to assault someone so viciously and cruelly. 2) the willingness to TAKE such abuse, not feeling comfortable with coming to you for help.

Perhaps if a child is despondent, obstinate, disrespectful, aggressive and/or evasive with their activities and whereabouts…you may want to consider that he/she may also be taking out those feelings on classmates. If they’re just despondent and passive…and are also keeping secrets…you may want to investigate if they’re being picked on. The best thing you can do is give your child the confidence to speak to you openly. Sometimes adults can come off such the disciplinarian that it invokes fear instead of respect. I’m sure it’s hard to walk that happy medium when trying to scare the life of Job into an aimless child…but, it’s about knowing YOUR kid.

Why am I giving parental advice to parents when I’m not one…(before I gotta tell somebody something, lol). It’s because I’ve BEEN that child. BOTH sides of the coin, too. I’ve bullied and been bullied and I can tell you that as a child whose being hemmed up by someone bigger, it’s not easy to tell mom what’s popping in the streets when her motto is, “IF you come home crying about getting beat up, I’M gonna whoop your ass…”. Yea, it’s that old school shit…and it works to a degree (it’s meant to encourage you not to back down…and to fear MOM over ANY fool in the street). Yet, when it’s happening to you and you’re up against more than one, especially…that theory goes out the window and you’re left with the fight of your life and no stones for your handy-dandy David Slingshot with the super snap back rubber band…

It hurts me to see so many children given such a hard time in school. If it’s not enough to go to school, do the work and pass…they also have to dodge physical, emotional, spiritual and mental harm from children who don’t seem to have anyone keeping them in line. 

What us gone do? What can we do to keep these children from inflicting pain on one another?

Billy the Bully

You all know or knew Billy…the bully. Remember that kid. He was bigger than everyone in his class and his shirt didn’t cover his stomach anymore than his pants covered his ass? His parents couldn’t afford the fly shit, so dude walked around beating the crap out of kids who were dressed better? His ass would come through and smack the shit out of you just because you had a name. “What’s your name?” You’d shudder and reply, “Lenny…”.  :::SMACK::: “That’s a STUPID name!”. 

Yea…you remember him. All jokes aside, Billy was troubled then, and if he didn’t get the snot whooped out of him or someone didn’t blast his crazy ass…he’s somewhere looking like the adult version of his grade school persona. Still knocking over people in the attempt to exact some control in his life. If some woman felt sorry enough, she married him or had a few of his spawn and he’s smacking them around for just being.

I am STILL not joking…

This is what happens to a lot of bullies. Misery becomes his best friend like Linus’ blanket. He drags it everywhere he goes. Chances are…Billy Jr., Billimina and Billisha…are bullies, too. Dad has made life hell at home, so they’ve grown accustomed to exacting control on the school yard…OR the Internet. 

When I did an online talk show a couple of years ago…the producer had a PSA from the Ad Council.  Some little chick “ding-dongs” on her friend’s bell, waltzes in as she greets the mother…and as SOON as she rolls up on her “friend”, she goes IN. She goes from telling her that her dress makes her look like a clown, to her breath smelling like garbage, to her disclosing the fact that the REASON they know it smells like garbage is because the boy she kissed says so. I mean REALLY? I would’ve beat her ass on MY living room floor. As soon as the first words exited her mouth, Megan or Judy or whatever her name was would’ve been swallowing those words whole. The motto?  “Cyber-bullying…if you wouldn’t do it in real life…don’t do it online.”. I would always follow it up with, “Why do it at all?”.

Secret: “I” was “Billy”… 

I remember being a mean child. I was feeling some kinda way about mom, or the new baby, or dad, or whatever…and I’d go to school and slug upon some unsuspecting children. My mother even walked up on me in the middle of me doing a “Sluggo” on some poor girl.  I got spanked…I think. Either way, some years down the road…I traded in my bully fits for a new outfit. I donned a cape and a “U” on my chest. “Underdog Girl”. I wouldn’t bother anyone and I wouldn’t fight if approached…well, if they hit me it was on…but, I let people talk themselves blue, while inwardly DARING them to hit me. YET, if someone picked on a friend of mine…I was ON it! To this day, I don’t take kindly to someone just going in on someone who not only didn’t ask for it…but isn’t willing to speak up. I got a lot of respect for being that one to do that FOR them. I didn’t NEED the respect….but, yea…I made sure no one took me for light and that no one beat up on weaker folks when I was around. To this day, I’m fiercely protective of anyone who I love…and some who I don’t even know.

I wonder what happened though…

I wonder what happened to the little girl I beat up in kindergarten for nothing…

The child in the bathroom stall who I believe I was jealous of because she had on the prettiest outfit, the perfectly braided ponytails and cute glasses (which I believe I broke) ~sigh~…

The little girl who got cornered in the PJ’s hallway by myself and a friend…

God forgive me…I’m probably suffering behind that mess right NOW. *lmao*

Seriously…this blog came about because my sister Almond Joy aka Butterfly Effect posted about a young man named Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide. This young man jumped off the George Washington Bridge, because his roommate shared his homosexual escapades on Twitter via live cam links. WHY would that guy do that? Why would he expose that young man’s lifestyle like that? Why do people feel the need to “tower above” people with such disrespectful and hurtful things? All I know is that a young man is dead because of it. He didn’t feel he could tell a soul of his shame…so he decided his life had no value. NOW, the young man who revealed his secret has to live with this in HIS life. What a sentence.

Parents and adults need to…HAVE to do better. No, I’m not a parent, but damn it, I was a child once…and I know what happens when it’s not nipped in the bud. My mother nipped it in the bud. Children are our little reflectors. Children emulate what is shown to them. They have a distinct idea of us…and they personify it in the scariest ways. You’d be surprised how your little one views you. If we perpetuate rudeness, violence, dysfunction and hate…our children will mirror that. If we don’t cut it out in the early years, by the time grade school is out…they’re who they’re going to be until something traumatic evokes change in them. By then, they’re solely responsible for their own souls and actions. There’s got to be a resolution. The village is divided and in disarray. The home is not a haven anymore. The schools are glorified meeting places. It is imperative that the the village get rebuilt…and that the home be a safe place to be. Otherwise, our children will become bullies…or victims of bullies.

I am sorry to those children I hurt. I pray that their lives weren’t affected too adversely by any actions of mine. I accept my karma…I pray that I’ve protected enough people to bring balance. That is a sincere apology…and they probably will never see it.

My prayers go out to the Clementi family…and to all the families who have experienced similar losses.