Bullying Hypocrisy

I wanted to make a separate post about this because it’s such a glaring contradiction that seems to be widely accepted among the “supporters” of the Parkland students and their movement. And like many other things, it seems to be something that people cling to solely because of how it makes them feel rather than there being definite truth behind what they are saying. The students don’t like clear backpacks because it makes them feel like they are in prison… their words… and the students and supporters fail to acknowledge that bullying could have played a part in what Nikolas Cruz did. Possibly because it makes them feel (or at least concerned) that people are somehow putting at least some of the blame for what he did on them.

First of all, the decision was his. Mental illness, bad childhood, bullying or not… the final choice fell on him. He is to blame. Having said that, of course there were a ton of contributing factors – and him being picked on or bullied would be one of them. But if you even bring up the topic with students or supporters, they’ll either say you are “victim blaming” or they’ll reply with something like “Well,Β I was bullied in high school… and I never killed anybody.”Β That’s fine, and I’m happy for those people… but acting as if everyone’s school experience and mental struggles should be judged the same is about as useful as going up to someone with lung cancer and saying “Well, I smoked a pack a day for decades and I didn’t get cancer.”

Go check it out for yourself. When someone is bullied and lashes out violently, look at how the people will try to remove the bullying as any kind of motivating factor. I don’t know if it’s because they have a guilty conscience and are subconsciously dwelling on what they might have done to that person, or if they legitimately believe that bullying is never a factor in causing someone to snap or what. If it’s the second option there, that’s scary… because if people don’t think that bullying someone could ever push them to do something awful, they’ve got little reason to not bully that person. I guess while some people feel like it is victim blaming, it makes me wonder if those people are just trying to relieve themselves of any potential feelings of responsibility.

Now, think about the role of bullying in the context of suicide. When that happens, the reaction is almost completely reversed. When someone kills themselves, all you hear is about how they were picked on, bullied, ostracized, etc… and that’s “obviously” what caused them to eventually take their own life. Hell, there are even protests or activism or whatever you wanna call it… campaigns about “mean girls” or things to force students/people to think about how they treat others, stories about how they were verbally or physically abused at home and how it needs to stop… anything that can possibly turned into motivation for suicide, relating to verbal, mental, or physical abuse, will likely be acknowledged and discussed.

Now, I wasn’t the most well adjusted kid during junior high and even into my high school years. Any bullying or “picking” that I may have experienced wasn’t even that bad… but you can bet your ass that it had an effect on me. Did I ever think about bringing a weapon to school? Did I ever think about who deserved my revenge and how I’d do it? I’m not saying I that did, but I’m sure not saying that I didn’t. I never crossed that line – but even today I’m not sure that I could tell you where that line was, or what might have caused me to cross over it and turn into one of the stories that you would have heard on TV back then. And let me tell you… my home life was fine, my family was fine, my time away from school was fine… and the only thing that was pushing me closer and closer back then was the shit that I endured from the few asshole children at school. So, from my own experience, I can tell you that bullying can indeed be a contributing factor towards someone lashing out – if not the main cause.

Are there really that many stupid people out there though, who honestly can’t see the link between bullying and lashing out? I mean, Christ, everything we do in life is based on the stimulus that we get from interacting from other humans… good, bad, mean, nice, happy, sad… and you’re an idiot if you think that only in the case of someone snapping and doing something violent, that those negative interactions didn’t have anything to do with it. It could just be a matter of most people never having experienced that feeling, where you don’t know if you’re going to be able to control yourself or what you’ll end up doing if you can’t. So, I’m glad for that, for them… but if you look me in the eyes and saying that bullying plays no part if that person lashes out later, I’m going to think that you’re either full of shit or that you’re a fucking moron.

It’s a sad to see so many people refusing to acknowledge that there could be a link between bullying and school violence, because for every voice that denies it – that’s a voice that could be making some other student’s life feel like hell… one more voice that could be unintentionally pushing someone towards something awful. And when you are immediately shut down when you bring up the subject, or even made to feel like you are doing something wrong by bringing it up, that shows that there are thousands and thousands of people who are unable or unwilling to learn. Unwilling to even allow the possibility that it’s true, what people like me are trying to make them understand. And, obviously, when people don’t learn from a tragedy, there’s not a whole lot that’s gonna stop it from happening exactly the same way again.

The people who were involved in the shooting… the “survivors” as they are called… they really do seem desperate to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again, but as with all of the security measures that they reject – they reject the idea that their actions or the actions of their friends could have even possibly played a part in what happened. I don’t think of that as victim blaming, I just think of it in terms of humans evolving and just being a little more self-aware, and more aware of the cumulative results of their combined words or actions. For people to treat that as something bad, disrespectful, or even bullying in itself… I just don’t get it.

That’s another point where their argument loses impact. A thorough argument of “bullying didn’t do this” when it comes to someone that lashes out, but go on Twitter and search “parkland bully” and just look at how many people have their hair on fire about how adults are allegedly bullying the students. Granted, in some cases it’s definitely true, but claims of bullying include simply disagreeing with the students and trying to discuss the differences with them or their supporters.

But here’s the thing… if bullying isn’t a big deal, never leads to anything bad happening, and is something that “normal” people should just get over… then why are so many people crying about people “bullying” the survivors? (By the way, they are called “survivors” just from being in school that day… it doesn’t matter if they weren’t even in the same building as the shooter, or never even heard a shot fired.) But yeah… you better not suggest that bullying had anything to do with Nikolas Cruz snapping and murdering 17 people, because that’s just insane nonsense, right? But also… DON’T YOU DARE BULLY THOSE POOR SURVIVOR CHILDREN! STOP! JUST STOP!!

All these folks who want change. Most of them can’t even say, “Yeah, I mean, it wouldn’t have affected me if someone picked on me like that… but I guess I can see how someone with other mental issues might handle things differently. Hell, even without additional mental issues, maybe I should just try to be a little nicer to people.” And no, nobody is suggesting that you force your kids to be friends with the scary, troubled kids at school… and nobody is saying that you, as a student, shouldn’t feel okay by hanging out with just your friends and not necessarily trying to make buddies with the entire school body. Everyone acts like this is a fucking trick question or unreasonable idea. Don’t think about it so hard, and if you feel like maybe you’ve been more of a dick than you needed to be… maybe just knock it off. Is that too hard for humans these days?

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At Ease

I’m doing my best to make the remainder of my evening peaceful. ☺ I’ve straightened up the living room a bit, I’ve got my new spiral bound journal/notepads and extra-fine tipped Pilot Precise V5 rolling ball pens sitting nearby (Mmm… office supplies… 🀀) just in case I feel like writing, and I just ordered the latest Pirates of The Caribbean movie on PPV so I have something to distract me from the “real” and transport me somewhere else.

See, when all I have to worry about is myself, I’m quite capable of not being a mess. 😏 But things like earlier today, where I was simply asked to a family gathering… something that I do appreciate still even being invited to… that messed me up for the better part of the day, feeling bad because I couldn’t make myself go – and knowing that I was letting people down again.

That’s definitely the “mom” in me – how it really does a number on me when something (even unintentionally) makes me feel like a disappointment. 😞 I just gotta remind myself, especially when I’m already struggling, that I can’t live my life to please others – and as long as it isn’t being done maliciously, there’s nothing wrong with that.

So once again I’ll finish this evening by hoping that the feeling continues into the next day, and that maybe my Sunday will truly feel like a day off – where nobody is counting on me for anything, so I can start the day with a clean slate when it comes to what I want to accomplish, if anything. I just really wanna start turning things around, and it doesn’t even matter where it starts. πŸ™‡β€β™‚οΈ I’m not giving up just yet.

Why Am I The Way That I Am

Sometimes I get down on myself for being as screwed up as I am, often without any way for me to control it, but today I was reminded that I could be a hell of a lot worse. I don’t know if “worse” is the right word… but I sure know that I’m different than what I saw on display from so many people on Twitter and FB over the past 24 hours.

For Mom it just came naturally, but for me it takes a considerable amount of energy… but I still do it. I approach each day without judging people unfairly, and when I go into a new situation I keep an open mind and I give people a chance or the benefit of the doubt by default. And even if those people do end up letting me down or screwing me over, or if I find out that someone is pulling some bullshit on someone else, I don’t make it my absolute priority to find an outlet to shout and tell everyone what worthless pieces of shit they all are.

Look, I’m not wanting any fucking cookies or anything… but I can honestly say that I go out of my way each day to be polite, kind, considerate, respectful, empathic, helpful, forgiving, entrusting… generally just acting the way that humans are supposed to act towards each other, at least as far as my anxiety issues will allow it. That’s why it’s hard for my brain to process how the humans can be so nasty, so quickly, with so little facts, when it comes to things like that Joel Osteen issue from the past few days.

People screaming to the world, with such passion and need to do so, about something that they’re only postulating about at best. What the hell is wrong with these people? How did they get that way? Were they once like me, and just ran out of energy from trying to “act right” themselves, while getting emotionally smacked down from their own experiences along with the things that they’ve witnessed in their lifetime? As weak as I can be at times… how is it that I’m able to stay different from them?

It would probably be a lot easier if I was one of those jerky, mouthy, angry people. Where facts aren’t important, and neither are other people’s feelings or opinions. But I’m glad that’s not how I was raised. Somehow Mom and Dad prevented me from becoming just another generic asshole to encounter along the landscape and I have to think that the world is better for it, even with the extra weight that I sometimes feel from it.

Zero Hour

This weekend ended up being exactly what I needed it to be. 😌 I also realized that in addition to just enjoying the company that I was with, having a human in my immediate proximity went a long way towards keeping my brain from getting stuck in the “on” position like it almost always does. (Much like how you have to jiggle the toilet handle just the right way to keep the water pump from running for hours and burning itself out. 😏)Β Now my company has gone, the weekend is coming to an end… but there’s still a new Rick and Morty episode tonight along with the season finale of Game of Thrones, so that provides one last little bit of goody before it’s back to normal tomorrow.

The currentΒ “you’ll hear from us” state of both of my attorney-led endeavors has got me feeling a bit restless again, so the first thing I’m going to do tomorrow is give those folks a call. I’m not sure that any prodding from me will make either of those situations move any more quickly, but at least I’ll feel like I’m trying to do something about it.

Another thing that I was reminded of this weekend is how nice it can be when I’m not perpetually absorbing the news of the day. It’s difficult for me to consciously avoid the news. I want to stay informed. I want to stay outraged at the things one should be outraged against. But much like the way I swore off of HLN years ago after shows like Dr Drew and Nancy Grace started to make me a little bit crazy… heh… I should really consider limiting my consumption of political news, even from the shows which present it from a point of view that is often similar to my own. (This topic is honestly worthy of it’s own multi-paragraph entry here. πŸ€” Perhaps soon.)

Other information briefs: Christina handled her first chemo treatment like a champ, but today she cut her hair quite short in anticipation of the eventual hair loss. Jim’s mom is still putting up a fight against her cancer, but the probability of recovery at this point is not good. πŸ˜” And then my friend Rick Kitzmiller… he’s got a lot of support, but complications during chemotherapy are starting to put his recovery at risk as well. 😟 “I’m just treading water.” is the way he most recently described it to friends via a Facebook post.

Obviously, I’ve also got other friends and family who are facing their own flavors of health problems (as am I) so it’s not that I’m not thinking about them and praying for them too… it’s just that cancer has a way of getting a bigger collective gasp, and those afflicted with it tend to stay near the front of your mind whether it’s fair or not. It’s just all incredibly sad, and in those times when I’m not thinking about it or talking about it, I just have to totally push it out of my mind or risk drowning in my thoughts.

 

Little Things Mean A Lot

It’s a handy thing to remember that when I talk about negative things or depression or whatever, it’s quite likely that what I’m feeling is actually considerably stronger than what I’m putting out for public consumption. However, the same can be said for the positive things. Even though most of the time I’d compare waking up, existing for the day, and then falling asleep to slogging through an endless waist-high bog of mud right now – I absolutely have good moments, and sometimes they’re actually really good moments. They’re just so hard to hang on to anymore.

I’m knocking out several blog entries today, after a week of relative silence, because I’m having one of those good moments. For the reasons that I’ve mentioned in the other posts below, but also because Cassi stayed last night, is probably gonna come back after her errands of the day to stay again, and even though we’ve “been there, done that” with our phase as a couple – we’re still managing to stay close, and we’re still quite important to each other. And I know, people could go down a list of oil/water things about us, but it doesn’t matter… sometimes time spent with each other, even if it’s just silently in the same room, watching the same shows on Netflix that we’ve already watched together multiple times, sometimes that time is more important than someone would ever think.

Even though being alone in my bubble is nice when I’m experiencing a span of less-than-great, sometimes letting one significant other person into the bubble as well can be a good thing. Because what often starts off as a “misery loves company” thing, almost always ends up turning away from the negative and letting us find some happy… at least for the time we’re together.

And it’s so difficult, even for myself, to understand how despite being able to spend a couple days with her around me nearly 24/7, it would be almost impossible for me to go in town and have even a short visit with nearly anyone else that I know, even if inside I really wanted to. I wish I could understand it, because I’d give anything to be able to explain it to the people that I care about, so that they could understand that even though my absence probably (understandably) feels personal – it’s not meant that way at all. It’s just one of the ways I’m damaged. 😞 Meh… I need to stop sweating this, and just accept that it’s an unfortunate situation that is unable to be changed so I need to quit mentally pushing against that wall.

Believe it or not, that’s something that Christina was trying to help me better understand the other day. She had made a post on FB about going through shit, getting back up, dusting yourself off, and continuing on while giving no shits about whatever the initial problem was. And for her to be able to be filled with that type of optimism was inspiring to me, because she just went through her first round of chemotherapy just a couple days ago. 😟 Yet here she was, saying “shit happens” and somehow being able to shake it off enough to continue on with whatever’s next, without letting it weigh her down. And she’s not really a gushy, inspirational-quote-spewing type of person… which made the little exchange even more meaningful to me. And she probably doesn’t even know it.

Against The Wind

I usually have a pretty good game face. 🀡🏻 I mean, here in the blog, yeah… I tend to open up a little more, because at least until I have a single post or photo unexpectedly go viral for some reason that I’m totally not prepared for – this site has very limited readership, but it’s still nice to be able to “let shit out” now and then. πŸƒπŸ»πŸ’¨πŸ’©

Most of the time no matter what amount of physical pain that I may be experiencing, or how much emotional shit that might be dragging me down, I’m gonna do my best to make sure that the average shmo isn’t aware of it. 😐 This is something that Mom and I used to discuss a lot… whether, in the long run, it is better to hide the “bad” in order to appear strong, or if it makes more sense to let people know how you are feeling so that they’ll understand if it starts making you act in a way that seems weird to them.

Well yeah, I’m pretty close to losing that “game face” ability right now. πŸ˜– I’m not gonna bother going through all of the stuff that’s swirling around in my brain 24/7 these days, but let’s just say that I feel something coming again. 😟 And it wasn’t good, the last time this happened. And I know that saying things like this “out loud” in the blog is something that will trigger concern in the people that care about me, but just know that I’ve got a couple friends that I talk to about this stuff, so it’s not like I’m completely isolated. πŸ˜’πŸš‘ But hell, complete isolation sounds like a pretty enticing alternative to the current reality.

Talking about it helps me to fight against it, in case you wondered why I’m willing to spew such personal information and feeling here. And I do still need to fight it. I’m using today as a heavy reset, a hard break to separate the past couple of weeks from the days that are coming… because I’m going into offensive mode tomorrow, rather than waiting for the next thing to come. I’m going to get this fucking estate shit settled. It’s ridiculous that the tiniest things have held this all up for months longer than it really should have lasted.

The whole reason I’ve been as meticulous as possible in the way I’ve handled it is because I wanted to do everything that I could to ensure that the estate ended up with the absolute most amount of money as possible. And that’s not only with my own wants or needs in mind, but more because with Mom and Dad being in retirement age – they are going to want and need as much money as possible as well, to hopefully keep their worries about their financial situation as far from their thoughts as possible.

I feel like the bird that pecks away at the mountain made of diamond, but now that I’m fighting my own court battle and trying to negotiate a settlement regarding my workers comp case, having the estate stuff buzzing around like a mosquito inside of my ear canal… I just need to get it wrapped up so I can divvy up the remains and get it fucking sorted and over with.

There’s no way to get friends and family to truly understand that it’s not personal when I essentially disappear or have to passively ignore them, when I just don’t have it in me to open my FB Messenger or look at my snaps. But that’s where I’ve been for days now, as the messages start building up behind digital doors that get harder and harder for me to open.

I dunno… wish me luck for tomorrow, I guess. 😞 Nothing is gonna magically get better, nothing is gonna suddenly just start sucking less, and the mood or phase that I’m entering… it’s not gonna be easy on me or the people that care about me. So wish me luck for tomorrow. One day. Because that’s how I have to approach things now… a single day at a time, sometimes single hours at a time… I’m not giving in quite yet.

Heavy

I’ve been basically worthless this week. I’m fortunate that nothing really required my attention, but that also made the prospect of being a potato far too easy. Not exactly sure what got me this time, other than the normal combination of things that I sometimes can’t process in a way that isn’t self-destructive.

  • One friend’s father died just the other day
  • Another friend’s mom has cancer that’s no longer responding to treatment
  • Another friend… she was just given a 50/50 chance of making it another year
  • And then a buddy of mine from school has leukemia and isn’t doing great.

People dying, friends struggling, so many folks I know that are deeply unhappy… and I wasn’t able to avoid absorbing too much of the feelings that go along with the knowledge of all of these things, combined with everything I already carry. A couple friends wanted to do something on the weekend, but despite kinda wanting to get out and do something as well – depression won, and I stayed in.