Normally, I am the first to deride celebrities and their over-privileged lifestyles. But this article I read today on how they are rallying around an eleven year old boy who had to have his finger amputated because he was trying to escape racist bullies is heart warming. You can read the article here.
One question I think many parents grapple with is when should they stop intervening on their children’s behalf. As a parent myself, I have also grappled with this question. It is even more of a battle when the child is being bullied. I know, I have been on both sides of this issue as a target and a parent of one. So, the big question is: when should parents stop fighting their children’s battles?
As a parent, we want to do what is best for our kids. My mother was no different. I am sure that when I was going through that bullying hell, she went through one of her own, wondering whether or not she should come to my rescue from the bullies. There were times I told her about the bullying but she wouldn’t do anything. Probably as a means to get me to stand up for myself, but with my Asperger’s, I wasn’t sure how. I ponder that it might be the guilt from that era which was why she picked up the cudgels on my behalf on two occasions in my adult life. The first time was when I was in the Marines, when I discovered an ex girlfriend had been cheating on me the whole time I was away serving my country. Mother phoned this girl and told her a few home truths and what a mess she was. The second time was in my early forties where after a big row with my ex wife, she emailed my ex saying she was a spoilt brat.
I never asked nor expected my mother to do this for me but inwardly, I was glad. Of course, I got stick from both exes for getting my mother to fight my battles for me. My ex girlfriend tried to make out that it happened more than once but I know it wasn’t the case. Though she did say to one of my friends, “When you see Mike, tell him to stop getting his mother to do his dirty work for him.” Like I stated above, I had no idea my mother had done this until three days after the event.
Back to bullies and no parent wants their child to be bullied. However, parents deal with it differently. My mother’s long term boyfriend, who I drew some inspiration for the Ted character in “He Was Weird,” said that if his sons came in saying they were being picked on, he’d pick on them. This is a misguided attempt to toughen boys but it doesn’t work. In most cases, bullied boys won’t tell of any bullying because they fear worse consequences from their father. Victim blaming was rife back then.
With that said, there is a more important reason why targets won’t tell their parents they are being bullied. It’s a backlash from the bullies themselves. After what I called ‘The Episode’ in “He Was Weird,” actually happened, my mother did say, “Enough is enough” and went into the school to sort it out. While justice was served, the one bully, the one who influenced the David Fitzpatrick character, used it against me. Not long after, I had many bullies calling me a baby for getting my mother involved. While, the bullying took short break, it came back stronger with some bullies using the fact I might tell my mommy to get at me more.
It’s no secret that bullies will use any means at their disposal to get at the target. In the case of parental involvement, the target is made out to be a wimp for getting his mommy in and of course, people would side with the bully. This is another way of discouraging the target to fight back against the bullying. It also had an effect on me a few years later. In “He Was Weird,” there is an incident which I have nicknamed, ‘The Smiley Incident.’ Smiley is the nickname of the adult who pulls the Mark’s shorts down in a PE lesson. In the book, it is reported and Smiley is dealt with by the law but Mark is subjected to further bullying because he had Smiley fired and arrested.
This did actually happen to me two years later when I was a Freshman in high school. Someone actually nicknamed Smiley pulled my shorts down but because of the bullying from a few years earlier and the perceived backlash if I had reported it, I never did.
These days, parents are more willing to take action when their child is being bullied and thankfully, schools will take the bullying more seriously. Saying that, there is still a long long way to go in regards to this and parents and schools still have to do their part in stopping bullying.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?crid=36I8I1G32U0R4&keywords=he+was+weird&qid=1652725116&s=books&sprefix=he+was+%2Cstripbooks%2C148&sr=1-1
Or email me direct at: email@example.com
Last week, Cherie White wrote and posted this poem on her blog, Chateau Cherie. I was so moved by it that I asked her permission and am sharing it with you now.
Don’t apologize for being who you are. You’re just the way God made you.
Don’t be sorry for being a woman, a man, your race, nor having brown hair, blonde hair, blue or brown eyes. For those are the things that make you you. Be happy and secure with it.
Don’t apologize for being a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, nor for holding certain values- for valuing your god and family. For those are the things you hold dear.
Refuse to be sorry for wrongdoings committed by others. You cannot control others’ actions, nor should you be expected to pay for their sins. That is between them and God, and they’ll be judged for it one day.
You’re not responsible for any sins other than your own.
Thanks to my Asperger’s riddle brain, the events of the past week have it swirling at 400 miles an hour. I’m talking about the leaked document announcing that the US Supreme Court plans to overturn the landmark Wade vs. Roe decision from half a century ago. The fear is that in some states, women will no longer have the automatic right to get an abortion. Already both sides are gearing up for the fight ahead.
My personal take and that is only what it is, is that I have been morally against abortion but I don’t think it should be outlawed. I mean, who am I, a man, to tell a woman what she can or can’t do with her own body. Therefore, I don’t think the law should either. Now before all the religious zealots start getting on my case, I believe that if your religious beliefs won’t allow a woman to get an abortion, then it’s down to your faith. Everybody is free to practice their religious beliefs according to the dictates of their conscience. However, I don’t approve of ANY religious group who wants to force their beliefs on others by monkeying with the law.
Now, I am going to divulge something which I have kept secret for over thirty years. My then wife did get pregnant but after a couple of weeks had to go to hospital because she was bleeding. The doctor told her that if she was to carry it, she would have had to remain in bed which wasn’t possible in our circumstances. She didn’t feel she could carry it and a few weeks later, had a termination. However, on account of the above circumstances, we said she had a miscarriage. People accepted it no problem and our parents seemed relieved as we already had a six month old. They thought we couldn’t cope with two small children. Maybe we could have but we’ll never know. I am only talking about this now because as a counter to the “What if it was your child?” question.
Now before anyone starts calling me a chicken shit for this, I simply stood by my wife’s decision. After all, she would have had to carry the baby and go through the pain of childbirth. What was worse is that if the baby was dead, she would have had endured all of that for nought. My big worry was if I had supported her enough during that time.
Fortunately, I live in Great Britain. Sure there are many pro life people in the country but a woman’s right to abortion isn’t debated here. It is accepted that it’s the woman’s right over her body and the law doesn’t touch that. At the same time, it respects the views of religious groups. I worry if what had happened thirty plus years ago was happening now and I was living in the US, I think that would have brought further unneeded stress on my then wife’s mental state.
Here’s another problem with ultra right wingers in both countries. If an Islamic nation openly banned abortion, these hypocrites would be the first ones to denounce it and site it as proof that Islam is a barbaric religion which oppresses women. Yes, there are a lot of Muslims who do oppress women and I abhor it, but at least they’re honest about it. Not like these fundamentalists who speak out against Islamic oppression of women but at the same time, believe women should be birthing and cooking machines.
I sincerely hope that the Supreme Court does not overturn Wade vs. Roe. Especially as some states will even outlaw abortion in cases of rape or incest. In that case, it’s not the fault of the female if she has been impregnated against her will and making her carry and give birth after such a trauma is barbaric in itself. Anyway, I digress again but I do hope certain people see sense.
When I wrote the joint post with Chateau Cherie about a month ago, I had an very interesting response from one reader. Before I talk about the response, let me refresh your memory or if you are a new visitor, give you a rundown of that post. Cherie and I were both targets of bullying when we were much younger and have written books about it. Since our bullying occurred more than thirty years ago, (fifty for me), we wrote a post about what our bullies would say these days about our books and if we called them out on it. We both believed that our bullies would remain unrepentant and would still see their bullying as something to be proud of. You can read the post here:
There was a good bit of response to the post but it was one in particular who is inspiring today’s post. The responder pointed out that some bullies are actually ashamed of the harm they had caused with their bullying. However, they may be afraid to come forward and admit they were wrong. He even shared an experience of when he bullied his brother leaving him feeling hurt for many years. He did apologize for the harm he caused to his brother. It could be a fear of a backlash from the former target or just the shame in knowing they were such a bully.
Those responses has given me food for thought over the past few weeks. What if the bullies who made my life hell during the three years I lived in Margate, New Jersey were actually sorry? Would they be willing to admit it and apologize? While my memories from the bullying experiences make me skeptical, I also believe that nothing is impossible.
Even now, skepticism abounds within me. I fear that they may only be sorry because of the anti-bullying backlash which is becoming more widespread. The town would openly apologize for all of the harm caused and even go as far as giving me some sort of official certificate declaring their heartfelt sorrow. While, I would graciously accept their apologies, my mind questions their motives. They might think that making this open gesture will shut me up, not that there’s any need for that. I said my piece when I wrote “He Was Weird.” Basically, the town would be putting on a good show for the media but I wonder if down deep, they were still resentful.
Now I know that I shouldn’t look deeper into things but that’s an effect bullying has. It leaves the targets to question the bully’s motives, despite how genuine the bully may appear. Saying that, if anyone from that town did apologize, I would accept it wholeheartedly. My hate was released when I wrote the book so there’s no need for me to have any now.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?crid=36I8I1G32U0R4&keywords=he+was+weird&qid=1651525033&s=books&sprefix=he+was+%2Cstripbooks%2C148&sr=1-1
I’ve have seen and experienced many bullying attacks in my life but nothing as disgusting as this! A six year old boy was set on fire by bullies. FFI click the link: https://uk.yahoo.com/news/six-old-boy-suffers-third-202113233.html
I hope they throw the book at this bully.
Normally, I don’t watch television programmes like “Britain’s Got Talent” because to me, they are all a bit the same. Furthermore, I am in agreement with a comment made on my 80smetalman’s Blog many years ago which said, “Simon Cowell is a moron with tin for ears.” Mrs. 80smetalman, on the other hand, likes watching “BGT.” So, while I was plinking away on the computer, she was watching it the other night and I just happened to pop into the living room for a moment when this act was coming on. It was a dance troop called Born to Perform but what I noticed immediately about them as that all of the members had some form of special needs. Many had Down’s Syndrome and I am sure there were some who have Autism. Discovering this, I had to watch their performance which I am sharing below.
Were you impressed? I was. Sure, if one wanted to nitpick, there were times where they weren’t totally in sync with their dance moves but the passion they showed in the performance was just phenomenal! They won over the crowd and the judges. All four of them simply gushed over the group and rightfully so. Of course, I can point out that Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden (she’s the blonde lady on the panel) learned their lesson many years ago when singing sensation Susan Boyle walked out on stage and they acted patronizingly towards her. Anyway, I digress, but the best part was when judge David Walliams pushed the Golden Button ensuring the group’s place in the semi-final.
Because all the members of Born to Perform have some sort of special needs, they were probably victims of bullying. After all, they were prime targets. Being a bullying victim myself, I am already envisioning the negative comments being thrown at them, although to be fair, I haven’t come across any yet. Bullies will cheapen the group’s hard work and success by saying that they only got through on account of playing the ‘special needs card’ and if they were ‘normal’, they wouldn’t have done so. Here’s my take: The members of Born to Perform have been at a disadvantage from day one. Often shunned by society, even the targets of bullying, they threw off the shackles of their disadvantage, worked their socks off, went on national television and totally wowed the audience, the judges and all of Great Britain and hopefully, my non-British readers have seen the above clip and they are wowing the world.
While I won’t start watching BGT on a regular basis, I will watch the semi-final and will be cheering Born to Perform on to victory. Saying that, they have already won a great victory, they have not only won me over but an entire nation.
For some reason, the Amazon link to “He Was Weird” is going nuts. Still, you can buy the book by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bullying is not just a problem in the West, it happens all around the world. Today, I have sadly learned that a young girl in Japan committed suicide on account of the bullying she was suffering. From the report, which you can read by clicking the link, it seems that school authorities weren’t too bothered about the bullying and did not investigate properly. As a result, a beautiful young girl, (we’re all beautiful). has taken her own life.
Sadly, once again, I have to play this song in loving memory of another person who has taken her life due to the cruelty of others. I hope and pray that this will be the last time I have to post this song but I know it won’t be.
I just learned of the tragic death of a 10 year old girl in Utah who committed suicide due to the bullying she suffered. The bullying was both racist and down to the fact she had Autism. For the full story, click the link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10704911/School-ignored-bullying-drove-autistic-black-girl-10-suicide-report-finds.html
Now a new feature on Peaceful Rampage. Well not particularly new because I post certain songs after a school shooting occurs. However, from now on, whenever I learn about a child who has taken their on life due to bullying, I am going to post this song by Matt Kennon.
Maybe people might start to get the message and actually do something to end bullying all together.
I promise that this will be the final post in regards to the slap at the Oscar’s. The whole thing is beginning to get boring now but with my Asperger’s, it has awakened something which lingers in the back of my mind. A lot of memories do that which has left me suffering from ‘intrusive thoughts’ but that’s not the point of this post.
When I first heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock over Chris’s comments about Will Smith’s wife, who suffers from alopecia, my first thought went back to a stereotype I had held about African American men for many years. That stereotype being that all black men use violence as a way of settling things. Now, I have encountered some African American men who do fit this stereotype. Likewise, I encountered white men who do, and if I want to stereotype further, a lot of those would be regarded as hillbillies or rednecks. However, while that might be true, it does seem that it’s the black men who are more likely to get labelled with the stereotype.
Race related buzz has been circulating all throughout the media since the slap occurred. There have been laments about how Will Smith has set the black cause back many years and the usual speculations that Will wouldn’t have come under such criticism if he and Chris Rock were white. Of course this has led to further shouts of ‘playing the race card’ and so on. I had to stop reading about the whole thing as it would have sent my brain into complete confusion. In fact, now that I got it all out on screen, I feel like my head has been cleared of it all, not that it was a major source of my thoughts this week. All I wanted to do was to relate the incident to bullying.
Therefore let me close out with the thought I posted yesterday and something Will Smith and anyone else who thinks they can use violence to achieve their ends should pay attention to:
A superior man uses his words, a common man uses his fists.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?crid=36I8I1G32U0R4&keywords=he+was+weird&qid=1649667142&s=books&sprefix=he+was+%2Cstripbooks%2C148&sr=1-1
Or email me direct at: email@example.com