bullying

Redheads Writing In Cafes and Mindfulness

(except when it’s my bedroom)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about mindfulness, how we treat people and I have been taking every opportunity to listen to other’s stories. We are living in a time when people have had enough, have been pushed too many times, and are rising up! We need to continue to educate ourselves on the issues, how we can help, and how we can just be better people!

Earlier this week, I posted about this on my Instagram and want to expand on it, not only because it affects me personally, but because I see it happen way too often to friends and so many others, is body shaming. IT HAS TO STOP! Shaming is bullying. Point blank.

Over the last few months, I’ve been fat-shamed a few times. Both in public and online. A friend this week, who is a fucking Goddess, was fat-shamed. It also happens to her quite often. Another friend who lives a 1930s lifestyle is constantly fat-shamed because she isn’t as slender as the women from the era… women who were thin because they were literally starving due to The Great Depression. These are only a couple stories! We read and hear this all the time and we shouldn’t be!!! This goes beyond fat-shaming as well. I’ve heard from friends with physical disabilities and a few friends who are transitioning, that they have been shamed many, many, many times!

It. Needs. To. Stop! Bullying has long-lasting effects on those who are being bullied. You may not see the damage on the outside, but it is there!

Personally, I try to ignore the shaming, but let me tell you sometimes it’s really hard to restrain myself from lashing out, but I would be doing the same thing they are. I do try my darndest to educate and hope they understand what they’ve done is unacceptable.

While I’m at it, let’s also throw judging people into the discussion. Please don’t do that either! You don’t know their story and even when you think you do, you really, really don’t! Just because someone is smiling doesn’t mean they aren’t in pain! We really need to be mindful of how we speak to others. We all have inner editors and sadly, many of us forget to use them.

Our world needs more mindfulness and compassion. Not more hate

Shame, Shame, Double Shame!

This week has not been off to a great start. Last night I was starting to get a migraine, likely weather related and fell asleep on the couch. Never a good thing on both counts. No one wants a migraine and falling asleep on the couch usually means a fitful sleep. We were fortunate to have a couple nice days and now there is a shift in the weather again and not only has it given me a headache, the shift may have stirred up some residual memories and feelings. These things I thought I’d let go keep popping up again.

If you’ve read my blog, you may or may not have come across a few posts about being bullied in High School for being different. For the longest time I called it being picked on, but in fact, it’s bullying. In my case I fought back, however, it still affected me. Being treated that way made me feel as if I was even more of an outsider and it pushed me to move out of that small town. I also had to learn at a very early age that I was going to have to take care of myself. No one else was going to stick up for me. It made me tough and independent. This doesn’t always happen. In many cases bullying has the opposite affect and to heart-breaking results.

In the case of myself, I tried over time to not think about it as much. I tried to let those feelings go. Yet, in my dreams it will pop up from time to time. After being fat shamed the other week, I felt horrible for a few days, then I made an effort to let it go. I’m wondering if last nights dream was that feeling stirring up again. Shaming someone will do that.

In the dream, two friends and myself are at a Rockabilly bar. One of them recognizes a man, who is standing by himself, from a Toronto band from the 1980s. (in my dream I remembered this band, when I woke up this morning it left me) They invite him to sit at our table. The conversation is fun. There is some reminiscing, lots of laughter and everyone is participating in the conversation. The musician even talks about how their band is going to start up again now that 80s music is so popular again. Then it happens. He looks directly at me, and says, “You are so fat and ugly, no one would fuck you.” At that moment everything had gone quiet, the music, the sounds of conversations, everything. Then, after he stopped talking, it started up again. He then looked away and said he had to go to the bathroom and the two friends (male) both said they needed to go as well. I then waited for what felt like a really long time and when they didn’t come back, I left. When I left the bar, my feet were suddenly bare and there were shards of ice everywhere. I had to choose to go back into the bar or walk on the ice and I kept walking. Then the dream ended.

Shaming is bullying.

In the last few years I’ve really struggled with my weight. I went from being slender and physically active, to hurting my knee, unable to exercise and gaining weight. Menopause hasn’t helped. I used to have a friend who said things such as, “Hey fatty!” When I would tell her that was a horrible thing to say, she would then say, “Just KIDDING!” In her mind twisting it into a joke made it ok. Guess what! It’s not OK! It’s never ok! EVER!

Bullying and shaming hurts the victims. Every single time. It has to stop!

How did I get to this blog post today? This morning when I went to begin yoga, I didn’t feel like it. I was tired, I still have a headache and the dream was bothering me. I was going to do an intense core practice today and rather than do nothing at all, I chose the Fill Your Cup video. It is a 22 minute video and was just what I needed, also hearing Adriene’s voice, telling me it’s ok to feel the way I feel and it helped. Doing this practice every day is helping my mind as well as my body. During the practice I kept coming back to why I can’t let go of how horrible I feel about being bullied and shamed, then started to feel heart-broken for those who are pushed to suicide because of it. Bullying has to stop!

If you are being bullied or feeling helpless, lost and suicidal I am including links to helpline’s. I know you may not feel like you can talk to anyone, but please, if you can, contact one of these helplines.

Bullying Canada — https://www.bullyingcanada.ca/
Canada Suicide Prevention — https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/

Redheads Writing in Cafes and Chantilly Lace

Do you believe in ghosts? I sure as hell do. I believe there are many kinds of ghosts, some that can’t leave this realm, those who don’t want to pass over and those who show up once in a while like right now, to check in on you. I know this is fact because I just got a whiff of Chantilly Lace.

My Grandma Betty smelled of baking and Chantilly Lace. Whenever you hugged her you would always breathe it in and as a kid, I just assumed that was how she smelled, until the day I found the little pink box with the fluffy white powder puff. The minute I sat down this morning to write about her, I got a very scent of her perfume surround me. I’m now feeling extremely nostalgic, I miss that woman so very, very much.

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Elizabeth Smart was more than just my grandmother, she was a force. She emigrated to Canada from Scotland, got married, had fourteen children and who knows how many grandchildren followed after that, however, she was more than that. She was neighbourhood warrior, standing up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. I’ve heard many stories about people being chased by the cops for minor occurrences hiding out at her place, she’d then talk the cops down from arresting them. My grandma was a badass. You also didn’t mess with her family. Oh no, you didn’t! Was my grandma Bonnie Parker, no, pay attention, she was a Betty!

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The older I grow, the more I realize how much I am like her. When you met Grandma, she was welcoming, chatty and her laugh would fill the room. She loved to help her community, was loving and was always there if you needed comforting. She also relished time on her own, reading, knitting, sewing and of course, baking. Like myself, she was an Extroverted Introvert. She made the most incredible, melt in your mouth shortbreads, currant cake and pies. To this day, I’m the only one who has nailed her currant cake recipe. The one main thing we have in common, try to corner us, and we come out fighting. My Grandma put up with zero crap.

When I was fifteen, I went through a really shit time in school. I was the weirdo, the girl who dressed all in black, had the weird hair and carried books about ghosts everywhere she went. There were four particular girls who would verbally abuse me. As much as you interacted or ignored them, this still wears you down, especially if you are a teenager. Being told one too many times to basically suck it up, it can’t be that bad, I stopped talking to anyone about it and let it silently eat away at me and it really did. After one particularly horrible day, I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I started crying during my walk home after school. Little did I know, Grandma Betty was walking right behind me. I have no idea how long she was behind me, but I know it was long enough for her to figure out something wasn’t quite right, because her fifteen-year-old granddaughter rarely cried and especially not in public.

Then she was standing beside me. Just like every time I’ve needed her.

I told her what had happened and she listened without interrupting, then these words… the words that have always stuck with me, the words that I repeat over and over whenever anyone tries to belittle me, talk down to me or insult me.

Grandma: Why do you care what they think.
Me: (starts to explain again what happened)
Grandma: Yes, but why do you care what they think.
Me: (starts to explain again what happened)
Grandma: Why do you care what they think.
Me: (getting it) Oh.
Grandma: Those girls aren’t worth it. Who cares what they think.

My grandma stopped and hugged me. I finally got it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You need to be yourself, do what makes you happy. Be the person you want to be. This is a hard message for a teenager to grasp and it did take me a while to accept it, but when you repeat it to yourself over and over, it does eventually sink in.

Did the verbal abuse stop. No. But I not only found a tool to handle it better, I had someone to talk to that would actually listen to me and not brush it off as teenage angst. For those who are wondering, why didn’t the school do anything? It was the late seventies/early eighties and trust me a small town high school… didn’t understand that bullying was a horrible thing for a kid to go through. That said, I did have one teacher who was also one of my heroes. One day I will write more about Mr. Bob Rix.

Grandma Betty is my badass, give no shits hero. I miss her every day and when I get that whiff of Chantilly Lace I know she is checking in on me to make sure I’m doing ok.