Bullying is an issue far and wide. Even in adulthood, there are those who still revert to the “playground bully” mentality. They are either: the obnoxious bully with a silver tongue lacing their tones in undercurrents of sarcasm, anger, and rigid perspective. (Oh, and the crowds follow, being blindly led, OR ELSE.)–or they are a single, silent, and isolated being who is afraid of being heard or seen.
As a kid on the playground, I was somewhere in the middle. I keenly observed the kids who were taunting others, taking note of the different approaches they took. Deep down, I knew I’d be a victim one day, but although I stayed mute, I wouldn’t divert my eyes from them. I was a discerning loner who learned early on that there were some battles not worth fighting.
My energy was spent strategizing a way I could be of value to those who needed it most. I kept an eye on those who weren’t as skillfully strong at fending off the bullies. The ones who would talk and end up crying. My scrawny little self may not be able to defeat a large group or individual, but I knew I had more brains than to stoop to the level of the kids jabbing and jawing at others. I learned staying mute made me unusual, but it was also my strength.
I sat next to bullied kids during class or on the bus while the other kids laughed at them. I partnered up with them during class assignments and sometimes they drew confidence from my presence though they and the bullies would look at me like I was crazy. But the bullies left them alone while I was near them.
I didn’t credit myself for being a saint and still don’t, but the values I held onto then, still resonate in my life today.
Don’t Look Down
It’s easy to get distracted by the fear in the world, and rightfully so, convenient to “feed the fear.” Here are some examples of what I’ve done to feed the fear: (A) Deny myself the right to rest when I’m “in the writing zone,” but my body is tired. (B) Said no to going to events that could improve writing because I can’t afford it. (C) Interviewed for a job that was a horrible fit–got it, felt like a failure–then immediately knew I was better at writing than anything that the new job could offer me.
[Photo credit: Design by Christer S. Rowan
Photo by Darren Deans]
Notice there is no lack of effort here. Laziness is not in my repertoire. I compromised my health; lack of sleep. Finances; refusing to invest in a creative career that pays
. And confidence; proving to myself I could get a job other than writing, providing a steady income–that is when my inner bully decided to dance around, isolating these situations as stone cold facts in my mind.
But they aren’t.
They don’t have to be your truth, either.
I now understand my self-worth and value will never, ever come from any outside circumstance. Also, busyness does NOT equal PRODUCTIVITY. I’ve had to take on a new perspective, recently, but it isn’t new to me. It’s envisioning myself as the bully on the playground, then asking my young self (the one who embraces the kids being bullied)–what would she do?
Keep Living Your Best Life, Write About Those Life Things, and Don’t Stop.
I’ve had a few people ask me (they remind me those who are careful not to “feed the bears” in the zoo–a little in awe, but a lot confused): “how do you keep up with everything at home, publish short stories, and write a novella while keeping up with a blog…then also read and review other author’s books?
I sit stunned, not knowing how to explain it. Not in awe of my accomplishments–but the opposite; a little embarrassed that they’ve noticed something different in me from what they’ve seen in others.
The only thing I can sum it up to is: I view silence and resilience as wisdom.
Knowledge and wisdom are not the same. There are plenty of people who know how to write, do, and are successful. But it’s in the how of their success where they are wise.
Don’t tell me how I should do it, tell me how you did it. And show me how it’s done, so I know what lasts and what doesn’t. Then the results of your work…put you in the “informative” category.
But, I have to admit, the delivery of a person’s success is vital to how my cynical mind process their presence in my life. If it is humble and respectful, yet potent and distinguishable from the crowd–then I know it holds weight.
The young girl me on the playground doesn’t shout to the world she’s done this, that and the other. She’s quite embarrassed to take credit for her hard work though others notice it. It may seem like a weakness, but this is where not giving up comes in handy. Plus, if I don’t tell people about the books I write, I don’t get paid, so there’s that, too 😉 Also:
Knowing Where I Fit In
There is no way to set standards and discern what I value without it reflecting what I see in myself, to some extent. Everyone wants to know they are valued. Perceptions of others are often mirrors to what we expect of ourselves.
Many of the most boisterous voices out there need to know they matter. But being in the background doesn’t always mean giving up. Quite the opposite. It’s what a person does during the time when others are evolving around them, openly, when they have rapid access to drawing water from their inspirational wells during the quiet time.
I cannot see past where the world wants to put me if I don’t take the time to give to myself and others.
My morning starts with listening to motivational podcasts that are liberal enough to inspire without sequestering how I should or should not do something. Then I briefly journal to sort out my daily goals while the inspiration is flowing, noting what I had accomplished the day before. Joy comes from reading other author’s books when I’m not writing, then reviewing those books in an honest and uplifting way.
The beauty of being a newbie author is that there is still so much learning to do! It excites me to review a great book, but challenges me in my writing to deliver the same caliber stories as the wonderful books I love to read.
So, where do I fit within the grand scheme of things? SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE 🙂 Can’t say that I’m disappointed, either.
I consider myself average. I don’t torture myself over unwritten words anymore when life calls. Because when life calls, there is where the well starts filling. How else do people continue to write books, if not to some extent weaving those stories from their own lives, observing the wise ones who walk their talk, then implement that new-found wisdom to benefit their situation?
It’s simple. They (and I) don’t.
Keep writing. Keep dreaming and doing. Continue to strategize and implement. Don’t be afraid to step back, stay silent until able to grasp your true footing, and Punch Fear in The Face. Whatever you do, try not to feed your fears.
©LaurieKozlowski 2015, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction permitted unless given by the author.
Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful week. Stay warm! Burr….
Commenter Question of The Day:
Can you remember an instance when what you thought was a weakness turned into a strength?