Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bullies: you can take the group out of high school, but not the high school out of the group!

This has been THE weirdest morning that I have had in a long time.  I know that I am in the middle of the Catch Me If You Can –keeping up with technology series, but I had to put it on hold for a brief moment and share.

So, after yesterday’s blog post I did what every good little (ex) EVP of PR and Marketing in Hollywood is taught to do, I posted the link on my facebook wall, emailed it and dropped by my high school class facebook page :

“Hi folks, hope everyone is well, check out my new blog if you have the time and let me know what you think.  I even added a heart at the end.”  Sweet ,huh?

Now before I go on, good readers, I have to tell you a bit about me.  I am and always have been the #1 cheerleader and champion of all my friends, loved ones and quite frankly, even the guy on the subway who tells me about his BIG IDEA. I believe in order to get something wonderful out to the Universe to make it bigger and better, YOU SHARE AND LET IT GROW WINGS. Period.  End of story. Or should I say BEGINNING of story.

So here I am, happily going about my day.  I am in rewrites for my book, writing up a business plan, starting a script for a new webisode series and I have a deadline for a magazine article. Busy, right?  I received a facebook email from a classmate

Hi Alison - some really uptight people here in facebook - keep writing...say it as loud as you want

You know the dog in the cartoon that whips his head around, tilts it and say HUH?  That’s what I did. I checked out the school’s  facebook page and I was blown away by the HOOPLA my little one sentence post brought about.   You would have thought I kidnapped someone’s child

A shitload of outrage, self-righteousness, barbs at my expense and quite frankly some bizarre remarks that I still can’t unravel about self-promotion and advertising. One woman said that I was a writer wanabee who was doing this to promote my upcoming novel.  I thought okay, that’s weird, if I have an upcoming novel how am I a writer wanabee?   It was a virtual facebook feeding frenzy.  
Seriously all they had to do is drop me a line asking me not to mention my writing on the page.  Anyway,  I went on the page and took the high road and told them I was sorry and I will not talk about my writing or blogging anymore.  

Then this whole thing got me thinking. . .

Why does this sound familiar?  Because it is the whole group mentality, gang up on one person and go to town.   You recognize it—it lurks in every neighborhood, every school yard and unfortunately even in the work place.  The bully picks his target and literary starts picking on his target and the rest of the group, in an effort to deflect attention from themselves, chime in and add to the misery.  The negative energy grows exponentially.  The poor target doesn’t have a chance. He is shrunk all the way down to the size the bully and the group want him to be.  We’ve seen recently how unfathomably tragic an ending to this scenario can be.

Now, of course, what took place this morning, cannot ever touch the horror of what many people who have been the target of an angry group or bullies go through, but it feels similar.   The group mentality houses, protects and nourishes the bully persona--otherwise it would surely die of malnutrition.
We must recognize the bully (remember he wears many faces and lives in every age group) and stand up to him and the group he pals around with.  We need to stand BEHIND and in FRONT of every person who is the target of a group or bully. Period. People we need to live in a bully free zone!!

Now what do you think, should I post this on my high school class facebook page?

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Alison is the award-winning author of The Lily Lockwood Series: The Seeds of a Daisy and soon to be published The Silver Cord.

The Seeds of a Daisy is available paperback and digital download: Amazon, barnesandnoble.com and iTunes


  1. I say post away.

  2. ...back from vacation, done with the gyrlz gathering, and making a lil time this morning to scan the happenings on Facebook. Thinking your blog the best place to begin today's journey, I clicked on the link and began reading. I felt comfortable with and drawn in by your relaxed writing style, and captivated by the Facebook experience that you described. I'll certainly visit that page later (the H.S. page), to read the banter that you were the target of. I personally apologize for the non-acceptance and cruelty of our classmates. Weren't we the generation of love/peace/acceptance...free spirits if you will, and when and how did things go so wrong?! When did we become so segregated, so able to justify our biased and judgmental attitudes, and so willing to express our differences through words meant to hurt and to destroy the very spirit of their "victim", not unlike a steel ball shot from a cannon?! When did we, the generation of free love and civil rights for all people, become so stuck, as to be defined by our limitations (of thought and non-acceptance), based on the very clear and hostile boundaries that only a self righteous person could define, force upon others, and actually live by?!
    I (the one never picked for the cheerleading squad) have been and will always be, the most demonstrative cheerleader for everyone, as they walk the path toward their own goals, celebrating everyone's right to personal choices, as well as their personal accomplishments, no matter how different the process/ideal/journey from my own. I recognize too, that a big part of being Me and truly walking the walk, is to somehow accept and honor the differences in the delivery of a message, from people lashing out/criticizing/standing in judgment of those of us still choosing to (and exercising our right to...) color outside of the lines. That my friend is a tough one...an incredibly bitter pill to swallow, but sweetened with deep self respect, the recognition of others small-mindedness, as well as a very real choice to live what so many others did and still laugh at (but wait, wasn't that just the "old" generation's attitude toward us?!)...the hippy (and hAppy...) way, firmly grounded, focused on positivity, and willing to work and struggle for change, in a non confrontational and respectful manner always...all ways, makes it just a bit more palatable...kinda, anyway!
    So Al, in "answer" to your "question", I say...yes! Go for it, gyrlfriend...post away on the H.S. page (it is part of the ever growing social network, not owned and run by the few...those feeling a sense of entitlement to control the very thoughts and styles of others in whatever way it takes...to break 'em down/bring 'em on board/make 'em wake up and become believers and followers). Perhaps your words and your way of putting them out there, although a huge thorn in the sides of many, may just open up the mind/thaw the heart/bring awareness and change, to just one person willing to take the time to read and to process them.
    So, a pom pom in each hand and wearing a pleated skirt (NOT!), I'm cheering you on! Standing at attention, in my uniform (NOT!), I salute you! With a pure heart (albeit just a bit scarred from affliction) and both hands, I love and applaud you! I wish you (continued) success, unlimited strength, and magic (yes, magic!), as you pursue your every dream! I've got a BIG box of crayons...wanna share?! ~♥~
    Oh, and by the way...this profile photo is of me, wearing my heart on my sleeve...perfect, yes?! :)

  3. Thank you SO much for your comments J! I adored reading them, almost as much as I adore you! Unfortunately, no I should say FORTUNATELY most of the really hurtful comments were taken down from the page. But a few good things came of it. This blog, which I hope can shine a light on the problem and also the person who was the bulliest (is that a word--I think only Roosevelt can answer that) had deeper issues because she was SO angry and hurtful. So I send her light and love and hope she can get some relief. Yes heart on your sleeve--perfect. Did you get a late note for the hall monitor?