Category Archives: bullying

Focus 52: Shadows

I love make up.

I am a girly girl who lives and dies for the sparkle, the shimmer, the gloss, the gleam, the bling, the shiny and all things that are wonderfully and magically feminine.

Lately, I haven’t been feeling so girly.

Since my hysterectomy, it has been hard for me to jump back on the “Sparkle Wagon” as I call it and make myself fabulous.  It’s been a real struggle. A chore for me.  Even showering is a process.  Bending over to shave my legs is a true production as I can feel the incisions in my abdomen tugging hard to the point where they feel like they are going to snap.  Showering usually exhausts me to the point where I don’t feel like going out any longer.

The other day, in the mail, one of my dear friends, a fellow blogger who shares my love of all things make up, sent me a pallet of eye shadows, cheek tints and a nude lip gloss.  Just something to brighten my day and make me feel “gorg” (as she put it) after all the shit I have been through as of late.  Well, I played with those eye shadows in a gazillion different color combinations on my arm til it looked like one big long bruise.

You know, when a bruise is healing?  All those crazy colors; purples, yellows, greens, blues, blacks.

And when I realized that, I scrubbed my arm clean.  It brought me back to a time in my life where I had to rely on cover up, thick, copious amounts of cover up, to cover up bruises that were given to me by someone who claimed they loved me.  As I was washing off my arm, still staring at these glorious eye shadows, I wondered why…why would I be thinking about something so terrible out of nowhere when just five minutes earlier, I was in girly girl heaven?

Then, I realized.  20 years.  This November will be 20 years since someone tried to end my existence on this planet.  20 years since someone beat me into a coma with a baseball bat in front of my 4 year old daughter.  20 years since doctors told my parents that I may not come back from this and if I do, I will probably have severe brain damage for the rest of my life.  The “anniversary”, if you will, of one of the worst moments of my entire life.  I suppose it had been brewing just under the surface in me for awhile.  The night before receiving this wonderful present from my friend, I had had a very restless sleep.  At one point, my husband had to wake me, because not only had my sleep been fitful, but apparently at one point, I ended up flailing about, punching him violently and screaming for whomever I was dreaming about to “leave me alone, leave me alone…stop!”  My husband shook me awake.  “It’s me, baby…it’s me,” he said as he slowly brought me out of my tortured slumber and back into reality.  I stared at him for a minute, still confused and somewhat dazed.

“It’s me,” he said again, softly.

“Okay,” I nodded, understanding that he was reassuring me that I was safe.  “Okay.”

I curled back up on his chest and went back to sleep.

It’s peculiar to me that even 20 years later, the silliest of things can trigger me.  A certain scent.  The sound of a man’s voice when it is particularly gruff and laden heavily with a thick, italian accent.  There are specific sounds that make me jittery, like the sounds of footsteps on a wooden floor, especially if that wood floor creaks.  There are certain actors I can’t watch on TV or in the movies who remind me of my abuser and even if the movie is supposedly “sooooooooooo good,” I will still avoid it like the plague.

The day after I got my friends gift, I went back into my bathroom, and played in front of my mirror again, combining golds with peacock blues and and lush, rich purple shadows.  And it became fun again.  The joy was restored because those other shadows, the kind that hover over you and wake you from restful slumber…the kind that haunt your thoughts and dreams, the kinds that are long, tall and ominous?  They eventually go away.  And they are replaced by 16 pots of beautiful eye shadows sent with love from a gret friend.  A silly soap opera palette called “The Balm and the Beautiful”…with names like “The Other Woman”, “The Drama Queen” and my personal favorite, “The Perfect Man.”

However, I think I will steer clear of the one called “The Coma Patient” for a little while.

Hits a little too close to home.  😉

Focus 52: "Play"

Playgrounds.

The birth of innocence starts here.  The death of innocence generally starts here too.  Standing outside the chain link fence of a nearby school, I am transported back to the days that I spent in my own schoolyard.

“Fat girl, fat girl,” they used to chant at me.

I would slide underneath a sliding pond, looking for solace, hoping to become invisible.

“Brace face, brace face,” they would scream at me.

I would try to touch the sky in a swing.  Maybe if I could get just high enough, I could fly away.  Maybe if it would lift me high enough, I could learn to rise above this…but their hate spew would still fill my ears and simultaneously, empty my heart. 

“If you would just get to know me,” my heart would cry out to my head.  “If you only knew how funny I am.  How silly I am.  I have the best jokes.  I really could make you laugh…if you would only let me.”  I make my little brother laugh, I would think to myself.  I do a really cool impression of Donny and Marie singing,
“I’m a Little Bit Country/I’m a Little Bit Rock and Roll”.  If you would let me show it to you…you’d forget how fat I am.  You wouldn’t care about my braces.

You might even like me…just a little.  And we could be friends…in secret.  No one would have to know.

I can keep a secret.  I’d make a good friend.  I promise.

There is nothing lonelier than the sight of a little girl alone on a see saw in the downward position, the other end high up in the air.  “The whole class would have to get on the other side to lift you up,” one especially mean-spirited girl would spit at me, venom in her voice and malice in her eyes.

I would close my eyes.  Squeeze them shut tight.  So tight, I would see colors.  I would make up rhymes in my head, jotting them down in my notebook.  Later on, when I get home, I can write a song.  I can write a poem.  I could write a book, someday.  My teachers always said “what a good writer you are”.  And I was.  Alone…in my little world, I could write the words that could bring grown men to tears and cause the coldest heart to defrost.  I had talent.  I had a gift.

But they don’t know that about me.  They can’t see past a fat girl with braces. 

So, I would get up from the see saw.  Walk over to the bench and sit down, eating my lunch quietly alone. I had my notebook.  I had my new pencils.  I had a shiny, brand new Charlie’s Angels lunchbox.  I would happily give you half my sandwich.  Or, you can have both of my snacks.  I would give you the world if only you would be my friend.

“What are you writing,” the teacher would ask.

“Just a poem,” I would mumble.

“You are such a good writer,” she would say with kind eyes that easily translated to “I feel so bad for you”.

“Thanks,” I would reply with a shrug of my shoulders. 

And I would continue to sit on the bench, scribbling notes and words that scarcely make any sense.  I would show them all someday, when I am a famous writer.  I have no time for their silliness.  I am a smart girl.  I am a good person.  I have more important things to do than play hide and seek or freeze tag.  I have plans.  I have hopes.  I have dreams.  I have secrets. 

But, if you knew me at all, if you ever took the time to…you’d know the truth.

All I ever really wanted to do…was play.

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes…

How do you measure a year?

The song would suggest you measure in sunsets.  Perhaps daylights?  Cups of coffee? 

I would have to go with their ultimate conclusion of love.  And there has been a lot of that in my life.  Never more than there has been this past year.  2008 saw me falter.  2009 saw me climb.  2010 will be the year that I surfaced from under the drowning pool I was swirling around in for the past two years.  It is the first year that I rose up and gasped for air.  The first time I can recall my head being above the surface.  It marked the birth of my second grandchild in January.  My 10th Valentines Day with my husband in February.  It saw the reuniting of myself with many old friends and my letting go of some who should have never had the privilege of even speaking my name.  It marked my triumphant return to school on a career path that will both help me, heal me as well as allow me to share my special gifts with the world. 

There were amazing trips:  Israel.  California.  New York. 

There was the foreclosure fiasco of 2009 that led to the final goodbye to our home in March, 2010.  Our new home is far more beautiful, far more homey and has none of the haunting horrible memories that plagued our old home.  Nothing was more terrifying than not knowing if today would be the day you pulled up to your house to find chains pulling the front doors closed.  Though it was through no fault of our own, it was still a cringe-worthy way of living. 

May of 2010 marked one full year of sobriety.  An accomplishment that back in 2008 wasn’t even in the cards for me and in 2009 seemed like it would be an unattainable goal.  I am still on that path. 

August was my 44th birthday and sometime in September, I chose to forgive myself for a lot of things I had done wrong.  I gave myself that as a gift.  I am sincerely looking forward to my 45th birthday, as I have always considered that number to be the mark of “halfway through” my life.  Only halfway there.  I’m still a baby.  I still have so much more to do. 

October of 2010 saw me have to confront the very real prospect of not having full control over the things that happen in my childrens’ world.  It was the first time I had to protect either of them from bullies and it was entirely too terrifying in light of all the suicide induced bullying incidents that it coincided with during that month. 

November.  Sweet November.  November would bring my parents, Esther and Harold, back into town.  It would be the month of the Turkey.  It would be final exams, final projects, final papers.  It would also be the last and final time my blog would ever be so uninspiring.  My friend in love, Janice, would turn my plain Jane blog into a bucketful of beautiful, where a princess would be happy to flounce around in once more.  Since she changed it, I have begun writing again.  That is always a beautiful thing. 

Then, finally…December.  I hate the holidays.  If you’ve read me for any length of time, you would know that.  But somehow, this year was a little different.  This year, there was hope in the air.  Laughter in my home.  And, to sound entirely too cheesy, perhaps a song in my heart.  My grandson celebrated his first Christmas/Hannukah.  My kids are happy.  Healthy.  My marriage is good.  So, so so so so good.  We went on our yearly anniversary cruise.  11 years together, 8 of them married…both taking place in December.  It’s a special time for the hotband and I.  A time of reflection.  A time to bond.  A time to kick back in the sand of some tropical island, look over at one another and realize…we made it.

Wow.  We made it.

Through tears.  Through pain.  Through strife.  Through uncertainty.  All the while, never letting go of each other’s hands.  Together…we survived it all, weathered the storms and sailed away on seas of contentment and joy.  We made it, my love.  We truly made it.  And look at all we have to show for it. 

Sitting perched on the precipice of a new year, I can’t help but reflect and can’t help but rejoice.  More than anything, I can’t wait to see what else the future brings.  So, yeah…it begs the question:

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes…how do you measure a year?

In love.  Definitely, in love.  

Why women suck…

I have a lot of acquaintances. I have a lot of good acquaintances. I have some friends. Of those friends, most of them are male. There is a reason for that. The reason?

Most women suck.

I learned at a very early age that women tend to be spiteful, catty and malicious. Even when they are well intentioned, they can’t help speaking from a place of jealousy most of the time. I hesitate to use the word “envy”, because I tend to put a positive spin on that word. There are definitely things I envy about some of my friends. I envy my kid sisters gorgeous, thick brown hair and her insane ability to cook. I envy another friends gorgeous wardrobe. Still, another friend manages to make her life look so effortless and breezy easy. I don’t covet these things, but I sure as shit wish I knew how they do what they do and manage to do it with ease.

What I don’t do is begrudge my female friends their beauty, their strength or the wonderful things that happen in their lives.

It seems to me that when really great things happen in our female friends lives, we don’t entirely focus on their happiness, but rather, use it as a gauge to figure out exactly where we are on the scale of female perfection. I have been steadily working on that with myself. I try to realize that when enormously wonderful things happen to my girlfriends, it doesn’t mean I am less than. It only means I have yet another goal to strive towards.

Recently, a friend clued me in that someone I considered a friend, who I have known via the blog realm for nearly 5 years has been talking shit behind my back. Now, I am no stranger to criticism and back-stabbing. I’ve been hearing women talk shit about me since the day I was old enough to understand it. I’m okay with it. My mother always told me, feel bad for the girls who talk about you. It means they have nothing in their own lives worth talking about. One thing I can say about Esther, she sure knew how to make an impact on my tender pre-pubescent psyche.

Back to my point.

This “friend” tore me up in a letter? Email? Blog post? I’m not sure the medium. I didn’t ask. I frankly don’t care enough to ask. What I do know is I was chastised for the following:

1) I brag about my husband too much. I will reply to this with an “absofuckinglutely”. I do. My husband is awesome. He’s better than your husband. He’s better than you. He’s even better than me. I believe that the Christians have not yet realized that my husband IS the second coming of the Messiah that they have long been waiting for. Until they realize that, I will keep him as the best kept secret Judaism has ever seen since the burning bush. He loves me unconditionally, flaws and all. He loves my children as though they were bred from his loins. He has three jobs all to support my dream of heading back to school to do the work I long to do. He is a good friend to everyone who meets him. He is KIND. Like, “walk an old lady across the street while he pushes her stalled vehicle across three lanes of traffic” sort of kind. He is a devoted grandfather who cannot get enough of his grandkids. So, do I brag about him? Yes, because he is worthy of this praise and should have it heaped upon him every single day. And, yes, you should have to know that he is the reason I am happy. If you were really my friend, you would love that about him and be thrilled for me. Just because your husband hasn’t touched you since the new millennium began, don’t hate on me for it. Buy yourself a vibrator, dust out the old vag canal and handle your business.

2) I brag about my “things”. No. I don’t brag about my things. I tell people about my things because I want them to have similar things. Similarly, I expect to hear about YOUR things, because if you are happy with something…I would hope you would want me to have that same feeling. Do I get excited about an upcoming vacation? Certainly. Am I not allowed to voice that? Do I talk about my shoe obsession? Yes. And to someone who is not a shoe whore, I can see where that would be annoying. However, I don’t begrudge you your new breadmaker? Salad shooter? Curtains? Shop Vac? Whatever the fuck it is that brings you pleasure, I applaud it. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it. But, I do understand that whatever it is, it is making your life just a bucket of awesome, therefore, it is doing the same for me too.

3) I brag about my grandchildren. Wow. This one cracked my ass up. Is there a grandmother on the face of this earth who doesn’t do that? I’m sorry you didn’t produce children of your own who in turn will provide you with the joy of grandkids, but that is hardly my fault. My grandkids are amazing little creatures who change and grow every day. Every day they bring something new and fascinating into my life. I love this brand new aspect of my life. Do I tell you not to brag about your dogs? Cats? You say these are your “furry children”. Well then, act like it. Enjoy them. Have fun with them. Let them make you laugh…and in turn, share the funny with me! I’d love to hear it. No, really. I would. I’m not you.

There were other things, like for example, my coffee maker. Yes. My coffee maker. Sure, that goes under the category of “things”, but this one had to be separate because in this letter/email/blog post about me, it was a separate issue for this person as well. Apparently, the fact that my husband bought us an industrial sized Keurig was of grave concern to this person. So much so, that she went on to discuss why HER coffee maker was far more awesome.

I also brag about: My charity work. My writing gigs. (Really? I usually keep those kind of private). My grades. (Totally fuck you on this one. I work for those A’s, bitch. I work hard.) I can go on and on. It’s truly fucking laughable at this point.

Has it seriously come to this?

So, this is why women suck. We all have jealousies and insecurities. But, the measure of a good woman is the one who can put that on the back burner to allow for genuine happiness for a friends good fortune. And honestly, am I a braggart? I would suggest a thorough read of my blog would answer that for you. I have been through a LOAD of shit in my lifetime. Was I bragging about the losses I have suffered? The man who beat me relentlessly for 2 years? My past drug addiction? My struggle with bipolar disorder? No. Unless of course you are under the belief that I am one of those people who feels they have to “one up” everyone else’s sob stories. I don’t believe that’s me either. I’m just a real person. I talk. A lot. I talk about the good things in my life openly just the same way I talk about the not so good things. If it seems like there has been more of the former as of late, well, there has been. And honestly, I feel I have earned the good things that have come my way over the past few years.

I am a good person at heart. I love my family to the ends of the earth and would lay down and die for any of them. I am fervently devoted to my friends. (Is that bragging or is that simply a statement of fact? I think the lines are starting to blur for me). I think I am smart, funny, confident, interesting and damn beautiful to look at. Oh, and I have a great rack. Again, not bragging…it just is what it is. The other day, I happened upon this quote:

There’s no such thing as bragging. You’re either lying or telling the truth.

I know I’m telling the truth. And sometimes, sister, the truth hurts…especially when it reflects your own personal truth right back at you and you don’t like what you see. For that reason alone, I forgive you. I hope you are strong enough to forgive yourself and allow yourself to know happiness in your life. You deserve that. Every woman does. Even you.

No. Especially you.

Day 6 – Something You Hope You Never Have to Do


(This post brought to you by the word “Middy”, who publicly outed me on Facebook for not finishing up the 30 Days of Truth. Where does it say it has to be 30 CONSECUTIVE days, bitch? LMAO)

There’s a lot of things in my life that I hope I never have to do. Some of them are things I hope to never have to do…AGAIN. Bury a child. Return to drug rehab. Go back to nursing. Re-marry. Those are the things that come to mind immediately.

However, something I really hope I never have to do again is deal with my son being bullied in school. This blog post dropped off a couple of weeks ago after an incident at my sons school brought my flow as a writer to a crashing halt. In light of all the anti-bullying campaigns going on, I found myself smack in the middle of the controversy.

Apparently, my son was approached by a young lady in his school about smoking pot with her. He told her that he didn’t do that, told her that he thinks people who do are losers and left it at that. Should he have said that? Maybe not. No sense in making people feel bad about their personal decisions, but I was nevertheless proud to know that is his take on drug users. This in turn incensed the young lady.

Sometime around noon, she tapped my son on the shoulder. He had his back to her and when he turned to see who was tapping him, she proceeded to strike him, close fisted, right across his face. She left large, red welts across his cheek. As he was always taught, he did not retaliate with violence, but rather with a “What the Fuck, Lindsay?” She stormed off. He was sent to the clinic for some Tylenol and an ice pack for his face. At approximately 4pm, I received a call from the school telling me what happened. All the administrator said was that my son was involved in an altercation. She was not forthright with the details immediately, so I was incensed. The details were not coming out as fast and furiously as I wanted them to. Is he okay? Is he hurt? Is he safe? Where is he now? And…the all important, if this happened at lunch, WHY THE FUCK AM I FIRST HEARING ABOUT IT NOW??? To say I was livid is putting it in graciously mild terms.

The admin told me that the girl will be suspended, however, my sons “involvement” in the incident was going to be investigated. My sons involvement? He never touched her. Never laid a finger on her. What the HELL are you investigating my son for?? This girl is obviously a bully. According to my son, this isn’t the first time she has hit a boy in school, simply because “she can”. She knows they won’t retaliate.

Her reply to me was “We don’t understand how we can qualify this young lady who assaulted Nick as a bully. She’s in all honors classes!” *ROFL* Really? Because if you are a piece of shit who assaults other people, you can’t possibly be smart too? Well, hell…there goes my entire High School career! LOL

The first night it happened, I was enraged. I was literally pacing the floors wondering how I can get this girls address so I can beat her father to a pulp and claim “Well, I’m a girl. I can do what I want and get away with it.” I was so angry. Someone struck MY baby. My little boy. The child who I nursed back to health after open heart surgery and a time there that we weren’t sure he was going to make it back into the safety of my arms. MY baby. Who the FUCK are you to touch MY child? To make him feel unsafe? To harm him in any way whatsoever, simply because he opted not to conform to your drug use? Seething. I was literally seething. And what would be the aftermath? I told the administration that I intended to press charges of assault against the girl. When I told my son of my intentions, he begged me not to.

“It would ruin me in school, Mom,” he said. “Please don’t do it. It will ruin me.”

So here I am, caught between needing to do what is right to protect my son and my sons comfort and safety in the days that would follow thereafter. It was a confusing time for me, especially as I watched his facebook page, posting video after video of angry songs about kids being bullied. This obviously was affecting him deeper than he was letting on. And all I can think of was how angry I was. I am so angry. And Alone. And I want to hit something. I want to hit it so damn hard over and over again until it hurts as much as I do.

What to do next? What do you do?

I go to the girls facebook page and find that she has written in her “info” that she has bipolar disorder and anger management issues and that if you “fuck with her” expect to get “fucked with right back”. But, my son never did anything to her. He was a victim of abuse. For any of you who have read my blog for any length of time, you know I was the victim of abuse at the hands of a man who beat me relentlessly for years before I finally got away. I don’t tolerate it in my life any longer and I sure as fuck will not be standing for it in my childs life. Further, since when is bipolar disorder an acceptable excuse for bad behavior? Obviously this child does not have her parents involved in her life or they would see her facebook page, as I did, and be appalled by most of what was written there. I did print out a copy of her page and send it up to the school to show them what their precious “honor student” was capable of when left to her own devices.

Eventually, Nick was completely exonerated of any wrong doing at all. Opted not to press charges against this little piece of shit, but did let her parents know that I have six months in which to change my mind about that and a police report in my pocket. So, hopefully, they will keep their little mongrel on a leash from now on.

I hope, in the rest of my lifetime, I don’t have to do this again with my son. I hope that the rest of his school career is safe and nurturing. I never want to see that look of pain in his eyes ever again, nor do I ever want my level of anger to rise so high that I do something stupid in retaliation for a wrongdoing directed at any of my children or grandchildren.

If nothing else, it has only gotten me more involved in The Trevor Project, an organization that is seeking to stop bullying. Their agenda incorporates the bullying of gay teenagers to the point of suicide, but really, any child who is being bullied and threatened in school is encouraged to seek help before opting for the final act of suicide, simply because they just can no longer take the ridicule. Being different, whether it is because you are gay, you are fat, you are tall or you refuse to do drugs with your peers should not make you a pariah. People need to learn to respect that we are all different. We are all unique and everyone has a place in this world.

Bullies are small minded cowards with big mouths. Nothing more.

If you are being bullied in school or are the parent of a child who is being bullied, I encourage you to join in me in my endeavor to get out the word about The Trevor Project so that no more teenagers succumb to suicide due to being bullied in school. If you have an urgent emergency and need help, call The Trevor Project. That number is The Trevor Lifeline: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).

In the interim, I must encourage you to take 15 minutes out of your life and watch the short film “Trevor”, the movie that inspired The Trevor Project. It is 15 minutes that will change your life and make you realize that yes, it DOES get better.

You may watch the movie in full HERE Please encourage your children to watch it as well.

Nine children in the past 6 weeks have killed themselves due to bullying. Those are nine beautiful lives that were full of potential and promise being snuffed out in the springtime of their lives. So much in store for them, so much lying ahead for them and now, they will never know.

We have to do better. We have to.