So many pages have been filled and there are only 91 pages left to fill this year. I've no doubt some wonderful memories have yet to be written.
I have wanted to sit and blog for a while about a multitude of different topics. Unfortunately, I always seem to get sidetracked by other tasks which require my immediate attention. Recent events, however, have left me analyzing so many different aspects of my life. Now, here I sit, attempting to put into words the all the things I have been thinking, feeling, and wanting to say.
In the past I have been asked what my “platform” is as a musician. It was an excellent question. I spent a great deal of time thinking about that. Eventually, I finally answered that bringing attention to the long term emotional and even physical effects to the victims of bullying was my focus. As a victim of bullying as a youth and throughout my life, it is an issue close to my heart.
Too many people think that bullying is a childhood issue. They believe bullying is an issue relegated to children and adolescents. I beg to differ. Bullying is something we all go through in one form or another throughout our entire lives. From children in school who are picked on for being “too this” or “too that,” to adolescents ostracized for not having the right “look” or “clothing,” to the elderly in the community who are frequently taken advantage of by low-life scoundrels, to the elderly in nursing homes who are treated poorly, to even your basic citizen being judged merely by the car they driver or the job they have – every day we are surrounded by victims of bullying. Moreover, we may be perpetuating the bullying ourselves, teaching our children these bad behaviors, without even realizing what we are doing.
If you are reading my blog, then you know I am a musician. Rarely do I blog about that aspect of my life. I like to consider myself an educated and eclectic individual and I don’t limit my blog to my experiences in the industry. Rather, it is my experiences in life that fuel my blogging. After all, what is a song, but a life experience or belief wrapped up ever so carefully in a melody.
I was recently confronted with a form of bullying that snuck up on me and took me by surprise, which left me re-evaluating the entire realm of bullying and who the victims really are. Is it possible for someone to not only be a bully, but to also be a victim of bullying all at the same time? I believe it is. I believe it happens more often than we even take the time to realize.
Have you ever had a friend, someone you trust and know come to you telling you a terrible tale about a person you recently met, a person you don’t know very well? Have you taken what your friend said to be the truth, simply because you know and trust them on some level? Have you then ostracized that other person, made a judgment upon them based on what your “friend” said, and passed on that information to another friend or multiple friends? If you answered NO to those questions, then maybe you need to step back and look a little harder. We have all done it. In the moment your “friend” comes to you with their tale of another person, you become a VICTIM of the bully. You are being manipulated by the Bully’s sick and twisted game, feeding into their tactics. However, in the moment you take what has been presented to you as a fact and begin treating this other person poorly because of what you have been told, you become the Bully. Moreover, when you pass on that information as factual to another individual, you contribute to this evil cycle.
I am a Bully. I am also a victim of bullying. And, right here, right now, I am making the commitment to no longer perpetuate this cycle in my life. I will not allow myself to be looked down upon by others and have them say, “She is a Bully.”
Recently, I experienced some pretty significant emotional trauma. If you know me, you know that I have struggled through some of the most difficult moments in life – including the death of a child. I believe there is very little in this world that is more heart wrenching that burying your first-born child. I think I can safely say that this recent issue I have been dealing with is very close to that type of emotional stress.
I'm not going to expound upon those very personal issues at this point in time. However, as a result of the stress, sadness, disappointment, and outright anger I felt over them, I lashed out on a social networking site with language that is better left for a sailor, and it was something I regretted and ultimately removed in a very short space of time. However, with that, I was labeled by someone as unacceptable. It was someone I respected in the music industry and someone closely associated with someone I admired in the industry. I was regretful of my behavior, at the same time, I found myself feeling very unkindly toward this person for their judgment of me not knowing the circumstances surrounding my outburst. I began judging this person. It’s moments like that where the transition is made from Victim to Bully.
Within a very short time after that incident, someone in close association with the previous person who labeled me unacceptable, twisted another social networking post of mine into something that was, for lack of a better term, a complete lie. Specifically, lyrics of a song I was playing on my guitar at the moment were taken, twisted, and translated as representative of my spiritual beliefs. I was labeled as someone who doesn’t believe in God based on the words of a song that someone else wrote - a song that is played worldwide on the radio today.
Let me take just a moment to interject another issue here. People, not everything you see or read on the internet is what it appears to be. The internet is not full of only truths about people. Usually, it is full of lies colored with some truth, which is meant to manipulate your thinking – a form of Bullying. And, if you can’t understand that, then the internet is not a place you should be hanging out with any regularity.
Ultimately, this entire experience of mine left me labeled as a vulgar, raging lush, who doesn’t believe in God. All of which couldn’t be farther from the truth. But, these people don’t know me. They are victims of someone else’s bullying. What’s worse, they perpetuate the bullying by believing this garbage told to them, passing this muck on to others, ultimately becoming bullies themselves. It is the cycle of bullying. And, while one can attempt damage control – particular when it relates to your professional career – it can never be completely undone, and the emotional damage takes even longer to resolve.
What did the Bully gain by this behavior? Well, I honestly don’t know. The person at the heart of it is someone I met once, in passing. Someone whose name I barely knew. Why focus on me? Again, while I have my own theories, I honestly can’t say for sure. Sharing those theories here really would not achieve anything.
And, what about those people who perpetuated the bullying by listening to this single individual and then going on to make massive judgments on me, passing them on to others??? What was their motive? Once again, I find myself with nothing but theories.
In the entertainment industry, nothing is what it seems. Therefore, you would think that those involved in it would be the last people to pass judgment on someone they only just met based upon the words of a single individual who has absolutely no personal knowledge or personal association with the individual their associate is maligning. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world.
What I can say is, in this situation, multiple people have lost opportunities, lost respect, and lost friendships as the result of a single bully buzzing in their ear, rather than confirming facts, rather than inquiring as to the nature of the statements made, or even saying “Hey, I saw/heard this. What gives?”
And, the transition from Victim to Bully begins, shrouded in various shades of grey and misrepresentations.
If you remember nothing else, remember this, my friends. There are always three sides to every story. Don’t jump to conclusions. Take time to try to understand what someone else is going through, what someone else has said, what someone else has done before passing judgment – even if the buzzing in your ear comes from someone you think you can trust. Confirm your sources. Confirm your information. Go to the source. Never, never, never, perpetuate lies… One day you will find yourself in the very same situation and you will be wondering why you are where you are and how it all happened… I hope these verses – shared from the labeled “disbeliever” ring loudly in your ears.
“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” Proverbs 10:12
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Matthew 7:1-5
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31