Thursday, 8 July 2010

Belonging at what price?

Bullying is invasive and sneaky more often than not.
As adults we generally have enough nous not to be frankly bullied as we might have been when at school.

In those formative years we are so busy trying to establish our own identities, that if someone bigger than us says we have to do something, we may end up doing it out of fear of not being right, and therefore not eligible to join the gang. It takes a brave person at school to be happy not conforming to the norm.
Which is of course why schools are full of social groups who have nothing but contempt for the other groups. In my day that was mods and rockers. I was a mod and held nothing but ridicule for greasy rockers!

The social groups don't really change just their names, so now there are chavs, skater boys,and as there was way back when, the geeks and dweebs. And no-one wanted to be associated with the last two, except the other losers and misfits. I say that as one who worked hard to leave the last group in one school and reinvented myself for the next.

As we get older and leave the confines of education we start to make our own way. But again we can fall prey to the biggest voice at work. If that person and their acolytes all watch a TV programme that we don't, if we want to fit in, it won't be long before we are watching it so we can join in the conversation.

I think this is why I love being self employed, I skip in and out of others conversations at work. I feel no pressure to join in.I can be a little rebel all on my own terms. I don't care about the craze for knowing about which celebrity has done what now. Although living in the world I may absorb information about them..... Did you know that Cheryl Cole has got malaria, for example. I hear you say 'who' in America from here! Quite! I know this ridiculous piece of info from clicking onto Yahoo to get at my mail yesterday.

I have never bought a celebrity mag ever. I see them at the check out and think who on earth is that person who has just got married, lost 15 stone, ridden an elephant or whatever thing is deemed newsworthy about said celeb!

Ooooh I seem to have drifted off the point I started with here!

In terms of bullying, now all those people who want to be my friend are now busy hiding the evidence of celeb mags, as I am obviously so scathing about them, that the fear would be that I wouldn't deign to give anyone the time of day if I knew they were reading such tripe!

It's taken me years to feel happy about admitting what I do read for example. My sister, eldest son and a couple of my good friends read books I consider to be to high brow for my taste. I read books that are not. So what!

It's ok for me to have my taste and for others to have theirs. There is no right taste.

And this is why bullying is so insidious, we want to belong, we want to be liked, we want not to be laughed at or thought stupid. But the trouble is someone will always think those things of us. Not because there is anything wrong with us, but because they have issues from their past which makes them behave in a certain way towards us. And when they do they have no idea of the affect on us. Sometimes we can laugh it off and others it will cut us to the quick. All we can do as mere mortals is understand this, get support from people who do accept us and move on.

We can't please all of the people all of the time, and that is okay.

And to end on what I hope will be seen as a reminder rather than bullying! ..... Don't forget to put up photographs on Beautiful World we need your pics and we need to spread the word about it.


Zan said...

I just finished a post about adult bullying! Because it pi**es me off quite frankly.

I did know that Cherly Cole has malaria, just like you I found out since I am directed to yahoo everytime I sign out of my mail! I never follow the links though becuase in honestly I couldn't care less.
When Jade Goody was dying in cancer I had to ask someone who she was cause I didn't have a clue.
You can be rich and famous all you want, at the end of the day you're just like anyone of us.

By the way... how did you find the Marian Keys books?
I just began reading the triology by Stieg Larsson - not cause he's got such a fabulous sir name, but apparently they are meant to be brillant. Although must admitt I have now gotten the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on DVD instead :P


Carol said...

I have to say that i was a misfit at school and was bullied as a result.

I went to a small school on the West coast of Scotland and I didn't really want to fit in with most of the people that I went to school with!! I liked Rock music at a time when dance was popular, I wore black when fluorescent was the 'in' thing (I mean seriously, who the hell looks good in fluorescent orange?) and I actually liked learning (and that is soooo not cool!!). It's not always been easy but I've always been my own person and think I always will be...

Great post!

C x

Angela said...

Yes, a good reminder, and I think small children should already think about these things. The book I read to my kindergarten kiddies last time was right about this theme. That if you allow others to bully you, you get smaller and smaller, and apparently they grow from it (that`s why they do it). But if you look them straight in the eye and say, NOT WITH ME, and if necessary get help from your friends, they will shrink immediately! This should be taught at school! Mandy, go ahead and teach itat "your" schools!

e said...

I received a fair bit of bullying and ridicule as a kid and got into more than my share of verbal and physical fights as a result. The verbal matches I won hands down while the others taught people that I would stand up for myself no matter what. While the psychological damage from bullying can be profound, standing up and saying no or stop or no more often gives kids a sense of power they can develop as they move through life.

Marilyn said...

I had my fair share of being bullied at school - being very tall and very thin (still tall but not quite so thin) - and having the initials M T (empty) just made it worse. Now - I am happy being me.

Spadoman said...

What memories you conjur as I recall the social strata of high school. We had the Climbers and Greasers. Our Greasers seem the same as your Greasers (Rockers), and the Mods were the Climbers, (Social Climbers I always suspected) Mops of hair, as in the one line of the Beach Boys classic, "Surfin' USA"
Bushy, bushy blonde hairdo, surfin' USA
In my day they wore white levis and madras plaid button down shirts.
I wasn't bullied, but I never fit in. Although what is amazing, with the advent of internet and Facebook, Classmates and general Google searching, I have found folks I attended school with in the 1960's. They like me and remember me. Why didn't they ever tell me they liked me back then? One gal called me "sweetie" today and I blushed while sitting at the computer. I love it.
In my own life, I have had many different jobs and lived many different places. I seem to fit in while I'm there, then I escape. But if I retrun, I am remembered. Hopefully in a good way. I quote Popeye the Sailor:

"I am what I am and that's all that I am"

I have a saying:

"It is none of my business what you think of me"

When I live life this way, I never have the need to belong. If someone doesn't want me around, I'll know it. People won't tell me, but I'll know it.

Thanks for letting me ramble here. I'm still reeling at being called Sweetie by a gal I dated only once in high school. (She told me I pecked her on the cheek at the end of that date to the movie picture show)


Mel said...

I don't recall being bullied. Nor do I recall being the bully...too busy doing 'stuff' that got me into enough trouble, I'd guess.

I know some of my kiddos at work have a horrid history of being bullied or being the's one of those things we seem to be chronically working on. Ain't okay to get your feel goods at the price of another human just ain't....

In the meantime--laptop is still with a broken fan (don't EVEN get me started). And....*looking around for witnesses* I'm starting to get just a tad intimidated by the great photos folks are posting. And wow--when I watch your slideshow on this page....yeah, well...very amateur like is what I end up with. LOL But they're still pretty for my memories....mostly...LOL

Yeah, yeah...I know!! :-P

TALON said...

I like that - being a rebel. It's amazing what hoops some people will jump through to belong to a group. I've always been independent in my thinking and wasn't really ever comfortable in being part of a group - not as a child and definitely not as an adult. But even then, in school I was still a target though I had friends in all the various groups which we called "the cool crowd", "the nerds", "the browners (kids who got high marks and were the teacher's pets), "the jocks"...

I don't think we can escape some form of bullying, but it's how we deal with it that makes the difference I think.

You've got me thinking, Mandy - thanks for that!

LindyLouMac said...

A great post Fire Byrd, bullying is something one of our daughters suffered at school and I do not think she will ever forget the experience.

As for Beautiful World I am doing my best to put the word out and have earlier today sent you an email about my latest efforts.

Pam said...

Great post on bullying Mandy. I - agree with it all you've said, though re magazines; I'm partial to the mags in waiting rooms, hoping that there'll be a chance to devour a few recent ones before I'm called. Don't have them at home on principal because I don't like the cult of celebrity.Not sure how that works!