Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C9-5

The next day was Thursday. Brielle first stopped at Olivia’s school and turned in her books. As she made her way through the halls there, she noticed the stares she got from some of the teachers and office personnel nearby. Next, she arrived at Thomasville High School and went into the principal’s office with an armload of textbooks.

“Mrs. Markowitz, how may I help you?” the principal, Mr. Winchester asked.

“I’m just here to turn in Jane’s books. She will not be returning to Thomasville High,” Brielle told him.

“Oh, yes. We heard about the knife fight, and we were prepared to address it this morning when Jane returned,” the principal said.

“Yeah? Well, that won’t be necessary because she’s not coming back here,” Brielle quipped.

“And why’s that, may I ask?”

“I think you know why. I’m enrolling her in Pathways Christian Homeschool. So, she will still be getting an education. She just won’t be getting it here,” Brielle told him.

Mr. Winchester leaned back in his chair.

Brielle Confronts Mr. Winchester

“Well, just so you know, we’ve filed an unruly child report and recommended that Jane be shipped off to reform school,”

Brielle gave the principal a serious look.

“Jane is a good kid and she’s being bullied! She has been for a while now! And none of you are protecting her! Some of her teachers are even joining in! I won’t let you send her up! No!” Brielle refused.

“Then the district will have to recommend it. In cases like these, we’ll see that our powers supersede yours.” Vice principal Walker said as he walked in.

Brielle gripped each side of the principal’s desk and leaned in toward the principal.

“Not if I home-school her! And let’s get this straight! She is my child! Not yours! Now, here are her books. She won’t be needing them anymore.” Brielle said as she sat Jane’s textbooks on the principal’s desk in front of him. She then walked out.

“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, Ms. Markowitz,” Mr. Winchester called back.

As Brielle headed for the front exit, she noticed a group of snotty teachers standing nearby and glaring at her.

“What are you looking at?” Brielle fired off before walking out of the school.

The teachers looked at each other and shook their heads.

Brielle Takes her Girls Out of Thomasville Schools

“That woman is crazy, just like her daughter,” remarked one teacher.

“Yep. The apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree,” remarked a second teacher.

“I feel sorry for her. I truly hope the poor dear gets the help she needs before it’s too late. And I hope she gets her daughter some help too,” remarked a third.

Unbeknownst to the school, Brielle went into the school wearing a body camera she’d ordered online, which was disguised as a bejeweled broach she wore on her blazer style jacket. Brielle knew that if she was going to protect her babies from these narcissistic psychopaths, she would have to gather her own evidence and she would have to seek a court and law outside of Thomasville and Glover County.

One of the teachers then went into the office and approached one of the secretaries.

“I need to make an important phone call,” she said, “And I need to make it from the school phone so that it looks better.”

“Sure,” the secretary said kindly as she handed the teacher the phone that sat upon her desk.

The teacher began dialing.

Mr. Winchester, who sat in his office, also picked up his phone and dialed.

Brielle Enrolls Jane and Olivia in Pathways Home School

Next, Brielle took the girls to Pathways Christian Homeschool. The mother and daughters sat in the lobby for thirty minutes before they were called back to the office of the Dean of the school.

The Dean was a kindly elderly man of seventy, who had forgone retirement and loved the work he did. A tall, thin, bespectacled, silver haired man, he shook Brielle’s hand and the hands of both girls.

“I’m Mr. Culpepper, the Dean here at Pathways. I’m happy that you chose Pathways to provide the remainder of your education and I’m confident that these girls will have a wonderful educational experience here,” the Dean said in a friendly tone.

“Now, I’m curious. Why did you choose Pathways?” he asked with a smile.

“Because the kids at Thomasville Middle and Thomasville High were bullying these girls. And when I was going to school here, I also experienced bullying. It was so bad that the bullying my classmates dished out to me bordered on mobbing. And now, some of the teachers who teach there today are former classmates as is the sheriff and most of the powers that be in this town. And since they can’t get to me so easily, they’re now targeting my daughters. I’m also pretty sure that they’re having their kids target them too,” Brielle explained, “One of the kids slashed Jane with a knife yesterday and that was the last straw.”

The Girls are Excited at the Prospect of Home School

“Oh, yes. I hear that things are really bad in the Thomasville schools. In fact, they’re quite dangerous places to learn for a lot of kids. We have several students here at Pathways who were bullied at Thomasville Middle and High Schools. I remember getting their school records. And when I looked at them, I noticed their grades were poor and they had negative marks by the teachers there. But when they transferred here and began attending, their grades skyrocketed seemingly overnight. These kids school performance improved dramatically. And now, they’re doing wonderfully and many of them will get to graduate early. I have no doubt that your girls will do the same,” Mr. Culpepper assured.

Brielle looked at each of the girls and smiled.

“Well, girls. Are you excited?” she asked.

“Oh, I’m so excited!” Jane gushed.

“Me too!” Olivia said excitedly, “I can’t wait to get started!”

Brielle looked at Mr. Culpepper and smiled.

“Well, if you have the enrollment forms ready, I’ll be happy to fill them out and make a check out to pay for this year’s tuition and books,” Brielle told him.

“Are you sure you can afford it, Mom?” Jane asked, concerned.

The Dean of the Home School Welcomes the Girls

“Yes, baby girl! I make enough tips at work and with your dad’s child support, I can afford it. I wish I had done this long before now and I’m so sorry, sweeties! I’m sorry that I drug my feet and let things get out of control before I finally took you out of those hellholes. I feel partially responsible for you getting hurt yesterday, Jane. I’m so, so sorry,” Brielle told them as she wiped away a tear.

Jane and Olivia, who each sat on opposite sides of their mother, leaned against her and laid their heads on her shoulders. Brielle snaked each arm around each girls’ shoulder, giving them a big squeeze. Mr. Culpepper sat behind his desk and smiled.

“I’ll have my secretary get those forms,” he assured as he rose from his chair.

And so, the girls were enrolled and began their studies at Pathways. They attended school at home, with Brielle as their teacher in the mornings. Grandma Bennett took over the teaching duties during the hours Brielle worked at Bobtail Bud’s.

Both Jane and Olivia studied hard, using the kitchen table as their school desks. Their schoolwork had suddenly, almost magically, gotten much easier and before long, their grades skyrocketed, just as Mr. Culpepper had predicted.

The Girls Quickly Adjust to Home School and Their Grades Improve

Jane no longer had to worry about her grades being marred by school suspensions and detentions. And Olivia, no longer had difficulty in her schoolwork due to the hyper-vigilance she had sometimes struggled with due to being bullied by classmates at the middle school.

And as the first days of home school went by and the week progressed until it ended, it seemed that the girls had seen the last of the Thomasville school bullies and could finally leave the bullying they suffered in the past, where it belonged.

Please Hold On! The Best is Yet to Come!

People may bully you now but they won’t always. Although the bullying is intense- even unbearable, the struggle is only temporary. And I do not say this lightly. I know what you must be thinking… “But she doesn’t understand!”

“Nobody understands!”

“She’s isn’t suffering, and she doesn’t understand the hell I go through every day at work or at school!”

I do understand because once upon a time, I was stuck in the same spot that you are in today. I know what it is like to want to smile, laugh, sing, and dance only for others beat it out of you. Also, I understand the pain of wanting to believe in yourself and see your own value. You try to feel good about yourself, only for others to repeatedly and seemingly deliberately drum into your head that you are nothing.

I Feel Your Pain because I Experienced it.

To want to speak and use your voice, only for people to silence you. You want to just live in peace. But others only threaten physical harm, further degradation and humiliation. School staff threatens suspension or expulsion. Your supervisor may threaten you with the loss of your job and livelihood. Moreover,  others may sabotage your opportunities! I know all too well the desire to move forward and go places, only for bullies to hold you back.

To want to escape the torment, only to be stuck in a toxic environment with toxic people, against your will! I know the horror of knowing that others curse your very existence and bombard you with death threats.

I know what it feels like to have others force you to sacrifice your own needs and wants for their own satisfaction! And to see others getting gratification and entertainment- all at your expense. I know what it’s like to be marginalized, shut out, devalued as a person. Additionally, I know what it’s like to even be slapped, kicked, beaten, scorned, disregarded, walked on!

It is a feeling of being run over by a truck, whose driver then stops, throws it into reverse, and backs over you again. The driver shifts back into drive and mows over you- yet again. He then stops the truck, opens the door, sticks his head out, and asks, “Are you dead yet?”

Bullies Don’t only Want to Hurt You, They Wan’t to Destroy You.

And any signs of life- any whimper or movement only encourages the driver to close the door, shift into reverse again, and back over you again. He just keeps running and backing over you until you finally succumb to the trauma and die.

Yes. This is akin to what targets of bullying endure. Bullies want to destroy you, and it seems that they won’t relent until they are sure that they have done just that.

But know this. You will not have to deal with these people forever, and Karma does repay- in spades! If you keep believing in yourself, you will become successful and happy. And when you finally get there, your bullies won’t even matter to you.

Know that You CAN Overcome Bullying!

You are beautiful! Smart! Awesome! And one day, you will cross paths with people who will see your worth and love you. Even better, they will love you unconditionally- just for being YOU! You will find a teacher, school, supervisor, or employer who will see the good you bring to the table.  And these people will view you as the asset you truly are!

Don’t give up. You are worth fighting for!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C9-4

Brielle arrived home fifteen minutes later and burst through the door, anxious and terrified.

“Jane!” She cried.

“Back here!” Olivia called.

Brielle rushed into the bathroom and was horrified at the many droplets of blood all over the sink and vanity and the floor around it. She grabbed Jane’s arm to have a look at the knife-wound. She noticed that the slash was about three inches across the side of her shoulder and gaping open, revealing torn skin and muscle. Blood continued to ooze from the wound.

“Oh, Lord Jesus!” Brielle gasped, “What happened, baby!”

As Jane spoke, Brielle grabbed a large washcloth and white towel out of the linin closet by the shower stall.

“Janessa Holtz, April Hart, and Samantha Criss tried to attack me as I was walking to my bus and I had to defend myself. Janessa tried to hit me with a pair of brass knuckles and Samantha pulled out a switchblade and slashed my arm with it,” Jane explained.

Nurse Mom

“Olivia, go into Jane’s room and find her a tee shirt! We’re taking her to the hospital,” Brielle instructed, “She’s going to need stitches.”

Olivia did as she was told, bringing back an oversized tee shirt.

“Thank you, sweetie,” Brielle told her as she dressed Jane’s upper arm with the clean washcloth she made into a compress and wrapped the towel tightly around the wounded arm before tying it. She then helped Jane into the tee shirt.

When Brielle arrived at the hospital with the girls, a young, twenty something nurse immediately escorted Jane back to ER 7. Brielle and Olivia followed close behind. When the doctor arrived, he gave the order and Jane’s arm required sixteen stitches.

Brielle called the city police. Five minutes later, they arrived and made a report, then gave Brielle a copy.

Later, Grandma Bennett arrived, visibly worried.

“What are you going to do about this, Brielle?” she asked.

“Well, I just called the police and made a police report. They may not do anything about this. But at least, I have an official record of the attack,” Brielle answered seriously.

“Or you could get the state police involved,” Grandma Bennett suggested.

The Emergency Room

Meanwhile, Misty Allen Lindsay and Rita Winchester Crabtree, also nurses, were on their way back from a late lunch break when they caught sight of Brielle and Grandma talking in the hall. The two former bullies stopped suddenly, they then crept into an empty room nearest Brielle and her grandmother, out of sight. They listened closely as they hid in the vacant ER 6, the room next to the room Jane was in.

In the hall, Brielle continued to talk quietly.

“That was the last straw, Grandma. Jane’s not going back to Thomasville High,” Brielle swore, “I’m taking both Jane and Olivia out of Glover County Schools and enrolling them into Pathways Christian Home School first thing tomorrow.”

“That sound like a great idea, Brielle. They can’t continue to attend a school where they aren’t safe,” Grandma Bennett agreed, “And I can oversee them while you work. I’ll see to it that they study their lessons. You know me, Brielle. I’m a stickler when it comes to those lessons. I was with you when you would spend the night with me on the weekends and I will be with those girls.”

When the doctor released Jane to go home and the family left the hospital, Misty and Rita came out of the empty room and approached the nurses station.

Brielle Makes a Final Decision

“Can you tell us who the patient was in ER 7?” Misty asked the younger nurse who sat at the nurse’s desk.

“Jane Markowitz,” the younger nurse answered. “She got into a fight at school and one of the other girls slashed her with a switchblade. She had to have sixteen stitches in her upper arm.”

“Were the police called?” Rita asked.

“Yes. Ms. Markowitz called the Thomasville City Police,” the young nurse told them.

“We’d like to see the girl’s chart.” Rita said.

“Sure,”

When the younger nurse handed Jane’s chart to Misty, Misty and Rita sat down, behind the long nurse’s desk. Sitting side by side, they both read the chart carefully before Rita picked up the phone and dialed. She paused before speaking.

“Bobby, it’s Rita. I have something to tell you that you need to know about,” she informed quietly.

Why You Have So Many Reasons to Live

If you are a person being bullied and are considering suicide, this message is for you! Please hold on. Stay strong. Continue the fight.

Know that you deserve love and friendship just as everyone else does. Know that you are just as good as everyone else. Above all, rest assured that life will get much better! Instead of thinking of reasons why you should take your own life, think of reasons why you shouldn’t. There are so many reasons to keep living.

Let me put this another way. If you resort to suicide, you will cheat yourself out of the possibility of one day overcoming your present circumstances and out of so many exciting firsts. You will cheat yourself out of so many wonderful years that lie ahead.

If you’re under 16, you will cheat yourself out of driving a car for the very first time!

And let me tell you! That feeling of sliding in the driver’s seat, behind the wheel of a car and your hands on the steering wheel for the very first time? There’s nothing like it! It’s one of the most liberating experiences!

You will also miss out on prom and high school graduation!

This is another one of the most exciting and hopeful times of life.

You will also forfeit the magic of falling in love and the joy of marrying your soulmate.

And I can tell you that love is one of the most intoxicating and fulfilling experiences life has to offer!

And lastly, you’ll forgo the beautiful experience of having your first baby!

I want you to imagine yourself, five or ten years into the future: You’re married to your spouse and you’ve become a new parent. You’re holding that precious little life in your arms for the first time and gazing into that precious, tiny face!

You now able to have a life beyond your own! You’re holding that soft, tiny body against your chest and watching it sleep against you! I can’t explain what that feels like or the love and joy that goes with it!

You have so many firsts…so many magical and beautiful moments yet to experience and enjoy, so much beauty yet to behold and so many awesome people, potential friends and family yet to meet!

motivational inspirational

Please don’t cheat yourself!

However, if you die by your own hand, you’ll cheat yourself out of all of it! On the other hand, if you’re patient and you keep fighting, life will reward you with such beautiful moments!

Another thing I want you to consider is that if you give up, the bullies will automatically win! That’s right! Your bullies will win and you will lose! Do you really want to let them win? Do you really want to give them such an easy victory? Think about it for a minute. Really think!

As long as you’re alive, there’s always a chance things will improve!

As long as you are alive, there’s always a chance that things will improve…and improve drastically! But once you’re dead, that chance dies with you and there’s no coming back! Death is final and there are no do-overs! So, if you ever consider suicide, I beg you! Talk to a close family member and if you can’t talk to a family member, talk to someone! A loved teacher, a trusted friend, a stranger- someone!

And give yourself a chance! Give the people who love you a chance! Give love a chance! You won’t be disappointed!

I promise you that you’re worth it! If you continue to fight for yourself, I can guarantee that there will come a day when you will look back on this moment and thank yourself. You will look back and be glad that you fought the good fight and stayed alive. I’m living proof! You are worth fighting for! You are worth living for!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C9-3

During lunch, Bruce caught up with Jane in the lunch line.

“Hey, can we talk?” he asked.

“Nope,” Jane answered shortly.

“C’mon, Jane. Don’t be like that,”

“Don’t be like what? Like the way you were with me last week because you’re too macho to have a girl help you out a little in a fight? Bruce, I wasn’t just fighting for you, I was fighting for me too! They tried to jump both of us, not just you!” Jane told him flatly as she took her tray, then moved up to the utensil and napkin dispensers.

“Yeah, I know. But would it help if I said I’m sorry?” Bruce asked in a low voice.

Jane didn’t respond as she took her napkin and utensils and moved up to where the lunch ladies were serving the food. But Bruce would not be deterred.

“Look, I’m a jerk. I’m an ass. I’m a prick,” Bruce confessed, “I don’t blame you for being angry but I’m not giving up on you, Jane. You’re not like all these other girls and it’s why I like you so much.”

Bruce Swallows his Pride

Jane looked at him, as if to see if he was sincere. Bruce looked at her and nudged her with his elbow.

“C’mon, whadaya say? Can we be friends again?” he said with a grin.

Jane couldn’t help but smile back.

“Okay,” she answered.

“And, for what it’s worth, I agree with you one hundred percent. This school blows. And so does this town.”

That afternoon, after the dismissal bell rang, Jane was making her way across the school lawn and parking lot to her bus when Janessa, April, and Samantha stepped out in front of her from behind one of the parked school buses.

“What do you want?” Jane fired off.

“I think you know what we want! That stunt you pulled this morning, in Mrs. Dufresne’s class, didn’t score you any points, bitch!” Janessa growled.

“Damn sure didn’t earn you any respect like in the movies! You only further pissed us off, and a lot of other people,” Samantha spat.

“Fuck you and your damn feelings!” Jane told them, “Go tell it on the fucking mountain, you bunch of butt-hurt, snowflake crybullies!”

A Lethal Weapon

Suddenly, Samantha pulled a switchblade on Jane, and Janessa brandished a pair of brass knuckles on her fist as she drew back. A strong pair of hands grabbed Jane from behind. Jane delivered two elbow jabs to the ribs of Bubba Northam, the guy who had grabbed her, and at the same time, delivered a front kick to Janessa before she could punch her with the brass knuckles. . Jane then smashed Bubba’s shin with the heel of her shoe, causing him to drop to the ground like a stone. With the flick of her hand, Samantha managed to slash Jane’s shoulder with the switchblade before Jane grabbed her wrist and gave it a vicious twist, causing Samantha to drop the switchblade. Next, she he delivered a jab-punch to her face and busted her nose. Jane then ran to her school bus and jumped on just before it pulled away.

Jane took a seat and Olivia, who was already on the bus when Jane got on, shrieked, as did the other younger kids. The sight of the blood that covered the sleave of Jane’s blouse filled the younger children with shock and horror.

“Jane! What happened!” Olivia screamed.

“Stop, Olivia, it’s not bad!” Jane told her.

Jane instructed the bus driver to stop in front of their house instead of Grandma Bennett’s, and he did so.

When Jane and Olivia got off the bus, they rushed into the empty house and ran into the bathroom. She stood in front of the mirror over the sink. Jane tore off her blouse. Being top-naked except for her bra, she inspected the slash on her shoulder. Olivia watched, completely horrified, as more blood ran down Jane’s arm.

An Emergency Phone Call

“I’m going to call Mom!” Olivia said as she pulled out her smartphone.

“No! Don’t you dare! Mom is at work!” Jane scolded as she stopped Olivia.

“No! I’m calling her, Jane! You’re hurt and you’re bleeding!” Olivia said angrily, and she walked out of the bathroom.

At Bobtail Bud’s, Brielle was serving a family of four their meals when Atticus approached her.

“You got a phone call. It’s Olivia. Let Elsa take over your table and come to the back,” he advised her.

Brielle rushed to the back and picked up the landline phone that was laying on Atticus’ desk and out of the cradle.

“Hello,” Brielle greeted.

She paused and her eyes suddenly widened

before she continued speaking. Both Atticus and Jo saw Brielle’s face change and immediately looked at each other with expressions of concern.

“I’m on my way!” Brielle assured because hanging up.

A Mother’s Fear

“Is everything alright, Brielle?” Atticus asked.

“I gotta go, Atticus. I gotta go now!” Brielle said in a shaky voice, “Jane got slashed with a knife at school. She’s been dealing with bullying ever since the first time she stepped foot in that school! Breanna Lindsey, Audrey Crabtree, Ashley Childers and several others made her life a living hell last year! They stopped for a while but now, they’re right back at it again!”

“Oh my God! Is it serious?” Jo asked, terrified.

“She just got slashed on the shoulder, so I don’t think it’s life threatening! But it could’ve been!”

“Brielle, you go. Go take care of your daughter. We got this!” Atticus told her.

“Thank you both so much!” Brielle said, swallowing hard as the tears began to flow.

Attention New Followers and Blogger Friends

Chess board and text “Strategic plan” Business planning concept

We must never put all our eggs in one basket and many of us end up learning this the hard way. It’s always best to have a plan B in mind.

As most of you know, my follow button doesn’t work anymore and hasn’t for several months now and Word Press will not help me restore it’s function. However, looking on the bright side, I have a plan B and have been implementing it for a long time now.

Plan B is this. Although I’m no longer able to follow new followers and new blogs I come across that I like, I CAN put them in my blog roll, which is the next best thing to following.

Doing this, I can keep up with their posts by going to the blog roll to click on the links to their sites.

How I wish I’d thought of this when I first started having issues. Until I’m able to produce a self-hosted blog, this will be my go-to plan to reciprocate the love of new followers from here on. Therefore, if you have these kinds of issues, if your follow button stops working or WP takes that feature away, remember. You can always add new followers to your blog roll.

I love you all! Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

“Speed-bump”

In 1995 and 1996, I worked at Charms Candy Company. A divorced mother of two children at the time, it was the job that came along just when I felt like giving up. I can’t tell you how many interviews I had been through. I worked in the Tool Crib in the maintenance department and I got along great with the other employees there.

The first winter of my employment at Charms was one of the coldest winters we’d had in years. And working third shift, those hours were the coldest. Because we worked a straight 8 hour shift, there were no lunch breaks, only two twenty minutes breaks, during which I’d go sit in my car and listen to music while the heater ran full blast.

On one particular night after the last break of the night, it was so cold that I jumped out of the car and ran full speed across the parking lot, thinking that the faster I ran, the quicker I could get inside where it was warm. I’d see many other workers sprint across the parking lot as well, trying to escape the single-digit temps and freezing winds that would cut right through a person.

Suddenly, the toe of my shoe hit something in the parking lot and I went head over hills. The next thing I knew, I was laid flat on the freezing asphalt with people passing by. It seemed that the entire third shift got to witness my unfortunate spill onto the cold, hard pavement. At first, I could feel my cheeks get warm and my face flush ten shades of red but a few seconds later, the embarrassment subsided and I could only laugh about it.

The other workers were gracious and one of the guys held out his hand for me to take and pulled me to my feet.

And from then on, I was known as Speed-bump. It was all in good fun and I loved my coworkers to death. It’s been said that of people give you a nickname, it means they like you a lot. I have to agree. How I miss those years. The 90’s were great!

The moral of the story is this: When you’re able to make fun of yourself, you show great confidence!

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C9-2

“Changing the subject, are you and Bruce talking again yet?” Roxie asked.

“Nope,” Jane answered, “He acted like a jerk, and I have no time for jerks. My dad was a jerk, and he treated my mom like a peasant! I watched my mom take so much abuse from him and I’ll be damned if I’m going to have anything to do with anyone who even smells of male dominance.”

“Bruce is not abusive, Jane,” Roxie told her.

“Maybe he’s not. But I’m not willing to take that chance, Roxie. He’s got a lot to prove to me and that takes time.”

“I understand.”

Fifteen minutes before the start of her first period class, Mrs. Dufresne had not arrived yet.  Jane walked in to see looks of resentment on the faces of not only Janessa, April, and Samantha, but many of the other classmates as well. Both Breanna’s and Audrey’s desks were empty. Next, Bruce came in and sat down in the desk next to her and Jane had nothing to say to him, acting as if he did not exist.

Jane Ignores Bruce

As the minutes ticked by, Jane would sense Bruce eyeing her as if he wanted to say something to her, but she held firm in her determination not to speak to him nor acknowledge him. A few more classmates came in, sneering at Jane as they walked by and took their seats.

One of them, a boy, looked at Janessa.

“Welp! I guess Crazy Jane showed up for school today,” he sneered, making sure to talk loud enough so that Jane could get an earshot. The remark was followed by scattered giggles and cackles.

“Yep! She’s got a lot of nerve, doesn’t she! Hell, I wish I was that brave!” Janessa taunted.

Two other girls sitting behind Jane continued to stare at her as they whispered in each other’s ear while pointing at her. Janessa, April, Samantha, and the classmates that sat around them continued to whisper and giggle as well. They too stared at Jane and pointed fingers at her. Bruce, turned at looked at the gossipers, shooting them a dirty look.

Enough is enough!

Finally, Jane finally had enough. She jumped up from her seat, causing the rest of the class to flinch in their seats.  The whispering and giggling stopped suddenly, so suddenly, it was as if someone had flipped a switch. The resulting silence was deafening. The entire class watched Jane with wide eyes and mouths agape as she darted across the room, approaching Janessa and the rest of the talkers.

“Oh, shit!” muttered a boy in the back of the room, piercing the silence.

“’Got something to say? Why don’t you come say it to my face! I’m right here! Don’t be a wuss all your life!” she said, raising her voice as she stood over them.

“Oh, there’s that crazy coming out again,” Janessa sighed sarcastically.

Janes eyes flashed and fire seemed to blaze in her eyes as she stepped closer to Janessa, placed her hands firmly on Janessa’s desk and leaned over her. Janessa’s eyes widened such that the whites of her eyes were fully exposed as they formed a complete circle around her irises. The corners of her mouth turned downward as she leaned away. Jane seemed to tower menacingly over the smart alicky red head as her eyes bore into Janessa’s.

“Sweetheart, you haven’t seen crazy yet. But keep it up. Just, keep it up! And I’ll bring such a flood of it on you that you’ll be scarred for life! Just keep pushing me, Janessa! Please! Give me a reason! All I need is a reason to mop the floor with your useless ass!” Jane shouted.

Telling the Bullies Off

She then took her hands off Janessa’s desk and stood up, facing the class before continuing to speak.

“You’re all a bunch of cowardly bullies! You think you can walk over anyone you don’t like! Anytime you feel like it! And what really takes the cake is that you think they’re just supposed to take it and even ask for seconds! Well, I’m not the one! I won’t bow down and take your shit! I won’t kiss your ass like the rest of these chickenshit cowards do in this sorry excuse for a school! This school blows, this town blows, as do most of the people in it! I don’t give a fuck about any of you! What you think and your opinions mean jack shit to me! And I’m telling you all one last time! Fuck off!” Jane told them all before drawing a hand back and swiping Janessa’s books off her desk and into the floor.

“Stupid motherfuckers!” Jane muttered as she stormed back to her desk.

Bruce just sat there and stared at her, shocked and speechless.

“Hey, you need to pick up Janessa’s books off the floor,” Samantha demanded Jane.

“Pick ‘em up your goddamn self!” Jane shot back.

Some of the other classmates just turned and looked at each other. Others only exchanged quick, uncomfortable glances.

A Deeper Reason for Self-Acceptance

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Today, we live in a world that consistently judges us. It seems that people feel they have carte blanche to point a finger at someone else.  They love to announce their flaws and weaknesses. Sadly, this seems to be the norm.

Everyone is trying to be (or look) better than the next person and lord it over them. You see it in the media. Also, you see celebrities calling out other celebrities in the Twitterverse. And everyday people do it on the street, in the supermarket, workplace, and at school.

What bullies don’t realize is that in pointing a finger at someone else, they only reverse it back on themselves. Because they’ve got to be pretty darned insecure with their own life to feel the need to disparage another person.

Anytime you come at another person without provocation, here’s what it says about you.It says that you’re trying to hide or distract attention from your own shortcomings by trying to redirect the negative attention to someone else. In short, it’s only proof of your own lack of self-acceptance. It also shows a lack of self awareness.

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Self-acceptance has always been a must-have but nowadays, it’s even more essential than ever before.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t be self-aware because we should. But too much self-awareness isn’t good. Why? Because, when we’re hyper-aware, we focus too much on our weaknesses and not enough on our strengths. Sadly, this is what targets of bullying are conditioned to do after so long.

There are two extremes to everything but there’s also that happy middle that we should stay in.

We must work on changing the way we see ourselves and begin loving ourselves more because only then will we be able to love others.

If you can’t accept yourself, you won’t be able to accept others either. Being a bully doesn’t score any points and it doesn’t make you feel any better in the long run. It only makes you look like an insecure little coward.

As the old saying goes, “You do you and let me do me.”

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C9

Chapter 9

Escalation

The next day, Kim came to visit Brielle on one of her days off from the salon while Hank was at work. Brielle was also off work for the next few days, devoting her off time to preparing for Autumn by planting marigolds along the side and back of her house, under the huge, tall shade trees.

It was the middle of August and the weather was unusually cool for that time of year.

Kim got down on her knees and helped Brielle as she scooped dirt and filled the holes around the newly planted bushes. Brielle than took her gloved hands and patted the loose dirt down before pouring more soil into the hole.

Kim spoke up.

“Hey, Brielle. You and Bill are legally divorced, right?” Kim asked.

“Yeah,” Brielle answered.

“Good. Because there’s someone, I want you to meet,” Kim gushed.

A Friend’s Offer

“No thanks. I don’t do blind dates, Kim. I appreciate your friendship and all. But I just don’t do blind dates,” Brielle said, shaking her head and putting her hand up, “Besides, I’m not looking for a relationship right now. I just got out of a bad marriage a year ago and I have no desire to chain myself to another man anytime soon. Nope!”

“Oh, jeez, Brielle. I’m not asking you to marry the guy, I just want you to meet him. That’s all. You need to get out and meet people. I have some friends coming over for dinner and I’d like for you and the girls to come too.”

Brielle smiled.

“Okay. We’ll be there. Thank you for inviting us over for dinner,” she said sweetly.

“You’re welcome. You work for Atticus, and you have three girls. So, I can imagine you get tired of fixing and serving food to people all the time. So, take a break and come eat with us.”

“You got it!”

And Brielle and Kim hugged each other.

Brielle’s Friends Come Together

When the evening of the dinner at Kim’s house arrived, many people showed up, including Brielle’s best friend Raina and her husband Paul. Popeye, Alvin, and Eartha were there also, as was Jo and Atticus.

There was also another man who looked to be around Brielle’s age but no one Brielle had ever met. He was an average-looking guy with medium brown hair and broad shoulders and chest. He was a tall, long-legged man.  He reminded Brielle of Clark Kent, only he didn’t wear eyeglasses or slick his hair with hair gel like the man behind the superman cape had. He would gaze at Brielle any time her back was turned.

When he finally worked up the nerve, he smiled warmly as he introduced himself to Brielle.

“Hi, my name’s Malcolm Malone,” he greeted as he stuck his hand out.

“Brielle Markowitz,” Brielle greeted back as she shook his hand.

Malcolm

After feasting on a dinner of barbecued ribs, baked beans, corn on the cob, and coleslaw, Kim turned on the stereo to catch the middle of Slash’s “By the Sword.” The kids, except Jane, played outside, running, and loudly cheering as they chased each other in the yard. Jane sat on the porch watching the younger ones as they tore through the yard, either running or on bicycles.

Brielle walked around in the yard, enjoying the evening sunset, and Malcolm caught up with her. Brielle smiled.

“Hi,” she greeted with a smile.

“Hello,” Malcolm greeted back.

“Beautiful fall evening, huh?”

“Absolutely. I love this time of year.”

“Me too. Fall is coming and it’s my favorite season. So, what do you do?”

“Correctional officer. And you?”

“Waitress. I work for Atticus, he and Jo are inside.”

“Ah Bobtail Buds! Great food. The best. And Atticus is a good man. He and I go back a long time.”

Getting Acquainted

Brielle was surprised to find that she liked Malcolm. The guy had a magnetizing charm and wit that was next to irresistible. She didn’t want to be drawn to him, but she was, and she couldn’t help it.

Later, before everyone went home, Malcolm and Brielle exchanged numbers.

Malcolm couldn’t stop looking at Brielle.

“Maybe we can go somewhere and have dinner and catch a movie,” he offered.

“Sure. I’d like that,” Brielle told him.

“Great. I’ll pick you up tomorrow evening at six,” Malcolm told her.

“I’m afraid I have to work tomorrow night. But I’m off next weekend,”

“Okay. Next weekend then.”

“Sounds good.”

The following Monday, Jane arrived at school and went straight to the library to sit down and study. Roxie joined her.

“Ugh! Another Monday,” Roxie sighed as she pulled out a chair and sat across from Jane.

“Yeah! I hate Mondays,” Jane related.

Roxie Puts a Bug in Jane’s Ear

“Look. I have something to tell you, Jane. That fight you and Bruce had with those arrogant idiots last week? People are talking. They’re saying that Daniel ended up in the hospital for a couple of days after you nailed him in the nads. You crushed one of his testicles and it may affect his ability to have children. And Breanna and Audrey, they’re recovering at home. Chandler went to the ER but he’s home. Ashley is here though, as is Ron and Bryson. Now, the sheriff knows about it, but they’re keeping it quiet because the clique don’t want their parents taking you to court. They know that word will get out that they got owned by you and Bruce and they’re afraid for their reputations. Can’t you believe it?” Roxie informed her.

“Yeah, I can. Those creeps have images to keep up. They have to keep everyone believing that they’re the baddest mothers on the block. Otherwise, they’ll lose face and people will lose respect for them. It must really suck to be them- having to walk around scared of getting knocked off their little pedestals. It’s such a pity,” Jane said tauntingly.

Roxie chuckled.

“Serves them right! Hell! They can’t go on treating people like shit and expect to get away with that forever. You know? What goes around eventually comes back around.” she said.

The Bullies Lay Low

“Yep. Karma’s a bitch,” Jane agreed.

“It was last week!” Roxie chuckled, “Girl! You and Bruce really beat the breaks off those jokers, didn’t you! God, I wish I’d been there! I’d have paid big money to have seen that! You gotta teach me some of those MMA moves some time.”

And with that, Roxie did an air karate chop with her hands.

“I just might do that,” Jane said with a smile.

“But Jane, listen. I’d keep my eyes and ears peeled. The powers that be in this town are a little too quiet about this shit and that’s usually not a good sign. Just watch out. Okay?” Roxie warned in a concerned voice.

“I’m already knowing it,” Jane assured her.

Beware The Phrase “For the Greater Good”

Here lately we’ve been hearing corrupt leaders use the phrase, “For the Greater Good,” or “For the Good of Humanity.” I agree that we should reach out and help our fellow man when he’s down. Also, I realize that these terms can be deceptive. People use these phrases to slyly promote the self-interest of only a few in authority.

Therefore, we must realize that the majority of politicians are experts at giving the illusion of compassion.

Understand that anytime someone tells you that you should  do something that is unsafe, or wrong “for the good of humanity,” you can be sure that what they’re asking you to do isn’t in your best interests. It never is.

A Subtle Guilt Trip?

Realize that the use of these two excuses is a form of manipulation.  Bullies and people in power use them to guilt you into doing something that will be harmful to you or to another individual. In that, they play on your empathy and love for humanity.

We see this happening today. But this is a tactic people have used all through history. And when you get hurt because you allowed them to convince you to do what you know to be harmful to you, they will then disappear and leave you to suffer with no recourse. It will be a herd lesson you’ll have to learn. Then, when you speak out and warn others not to make the same mistake you made, the same people will come back with a vengeance. And they will gaslight you and do everything they possibly can to destroy your credibility.

That’s why it’s imperative that you see these two phrases as sure signs of manipulation and follow your instincts. You most also question their motives and try to figure out what would be in it for them if you complied. Also, you must weigh the pros and cons on their side and those on your side of the equation. How would they benefit? How would you benefit? What could possibly go wrong if you complied?

Who Benefits from Your Compliance, You or Them?

Always ask questions even at the risk of invoking the anger of the authorities. And, more importantly, do your own research and gather your own information. Know that you have a right to know the truth.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C8-14

Later, back at the Markowitz house, Brielle was playing pat-a-cake with baby Kennedy, who was three months away from being two years old. When she heard a knock at the door, Bandit did his usual barking routine and dashed for the door. She got up, lifted Kennedy in her arms and carried her to the door.

As Bandit stood at the door, barking loudly, Brielle shewed his away with her free hand.

“Get back, Bandit! Go! Now!” she commanded the dog.

Brielle answered the door to find Raina on her doorstep.

“Hey! Come in!” she said with a smile.

“I hadn’t seen you in a while and thought I’d come visit and we can do some catching up,” Raina said, “So, how’s Atticus?”

“Atticus is still at work, has been for a while. He still has pains in his back and knees. And you know he’ll never see out of his right eye again. He’s still wearing the eye patch.” Brielle told her.

“Yeah, I heard. Give him my love when you see him,” Raina said.

“He’ll appreciate it.”

Two Friends Talk

Bandit went to the backdoor, scratched, and barked in a high-pitched tone. Brielle followed him into the kitchen, where the backdoor was, opened it, and let him out into the back yard.

After setting Kennedy in her highchair, Brielle sat down at the table with Raina. The month of August was ending, and it was unseasonably cool outside. Brielle and Raina enjoyed the fall-like breeze that blew through the screen of the storm door.

“I don’t know if you heard, but it’s starting again,” Raina said in a tone of concern.

“What’s starting again?” Brielle asked.

“People’s pets are coming up missing again. Have been for the last month.”

“Oh, Lord! Halloween is in two months, and you remember what Popeye said at Grandma’s the night after our court appointment. I’m lucky that I have a fenced-in backyard. But still, I’ll keep an eye on Bandit. He’s part of our family, has been for three years. If we lose him, it’s going to devastate me and the girls- all of us,”

“I just don’t understand it. Who would torture and kill a helpless animal?”

“I don’t understand it either, Raina.”

“Let’s go out back, sit on the patio, and watch Bandit.”

The Importance of Self-Acceptance

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Anyone who has ever been bullied will tell you that it sometimes takes years to overcome the after-affects, get completely comfortable with yourself and find happiness.

Because of the torment I suffered at school, I was a shy person for years and my shyness peaked during my childbearing years. I would not speak to anyone unless they spoke to me first, out of fear that I would say something wrong. I didn’t like myself because I felt that I was somehow different and that God had put a mark on me like Cain. I felt that I didn’t quite measure up. And this was during my early 20s when I was just beginning to discover who I was and what I really wanted out of life.

Throughout junior high and high school, I was bullied so much that I was blinded to my own feminine beauty (I was a very beautiful young girl). I also did not feel free to express myself and most importantly, get to know myself.

Being in a toxic environment or around toxic people can block you from opportunities, blind you to your own inner and outer beauty, diminish the ability to use talents and natural abilities, prevent you from having your own opinions and feelings and from accepting and being yourself when you are young and haven’t been in the world long enough to know the difference.

When I finally left that toxic, poisonous, downright dangerous environment that was my old school and transferred to a new high school, I felt like a bird out of a cage- like I had just been given a full pardon and released from prison.

From that day forward, I could finally begin working on getting to know ME and I was put on the road to self-discovery. However, that road proved to be a long one.

During my mid to late 20’s I became hungry for self-betterment. I slowly began trying new things and confronting my fears and shyness HEAD ON by actually doing the things I feared most! I discovered talents and abilities I never thought I had and could express myself and my wants and needs without ridicule.

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Like magic, new opportunities and better situations began opening up to me. It was like the floodgates of heaven had suddenly opened and I was washed away in a river of blessing.

But it took years to get through the anger, the sadness, the shyness, the defensiveness and being closed up and guarded before I was finally able to totally and completely accept who I was as a woman. And when I finally accepted myself, which meant accepting the good, the bad, and the ugly qualities, I found peace and happiness I never thought possible.

Am I perfect? No. Do I try to be? Nope. I accept all characteristics of me. I know my good traits: that I have a good heart, that I have compassion and empathy for others, that I am outgoing and confident, that I like to have fun, that I love to sing, dance and write novels. Am I proud of that? YES! YES! YESSSS!!!

I also know my bad traits and if I can’t do anything about them, I embrace them. However, if I can change them, I put in the work to do so. I accept that I am sometimes forgetful. I also accept that I no longer have the perfect body after having had children. I am comfortable in my own skin.

I also prefer Tee shirts, jeans, and sneakers over fancy dresses and high heels (which I only wear when an occasion calls for it). Do I like this about myself? ABSOLUTELY!

What I want is for you to completely accept yourself because it is a stepping stone to happiness. When you accept yourself as you are, quirks and all, and stop being so concerned about how you are seen by others, you actually FREE yourself from that ball and chain called self-consciousness. It is like a huge weight being lifted off of you.

Also, you become much more attractive to people and they are drawn to you like a magnet. And the individuals who are waiting for you to mess up actually get bored, give up and stop watching you. I know this from experience. Acceptance of self (all aspects) is such sweet freedom!

No one likes to be around a self conscious and insecure victim. I’ll say it again:
No. One. Likes. A. Victim!

So I want you to make a brand new start today and begin your new life by accepting who you are. Count your blessings, your friends, your family, and your chance opportunities. Anything positive that is happening OR has happened in your life is a blessing. This is where you start. Start by counting blessings. Take a pen and piece of paper and write down each blessing and I guarantee you will be on your way!

I wonder how many people can actually list all of their blessings without running out of paper and/or ink. I know I couldn’t.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

There is Life After Bullying

Rear of man in hat relaxing on beach chair at beach with sea and blue sky background. vacation in summer.

People may bully you now. They may taunt you, call you ugly names, physically beat you, humiliate you, and turn others against you. Those around you may make you feel sad, alone, unattractive, and rejected in the present.

But rest assured, it won’t always be this way. 

Take it from someone who has been there. I had no friends in middle school nor high school until I finally transferred to my new high school during my senior year. Once I left *Oakley High School and began attending *Roseburg High School, that’s when life began. And I took back my power and started rebuilding every part of me that my bullies from the old school had torn down. Leaving Oakley was the free feeling you get after walking away from a toxic and abusive boyfriend.

As an adult, my confidence and self-esteem blossomed. Today, I’m a very happy forty-something and have so much to be thankful for. I have a family of my own. I enjoy my job and am comfortable in my own skin. I’ve accomplished more than I thought I ever would.

I also have grown to love myself- imperfections and all. I don’t worry about what others think of me, and I permit myself to be me and to say no when I don’t want to get involved in or do something that doesn’t feel right to me. These are freedoms that I will never again give up. Not without one hell of a fight!

Don’t Give Up! There’s Beauty on the Other Side of Bullying

I want you to know that the bullying you’re subjected to now will not last, and there’s a beautiful life waiting for you once it’s over. So, whatever you do, don’t give up! Stay your course, and keep fighting. Hold on to your faith and your dignity with everything you have. Because it may not seem like it now, but the best is yet to come, and the right people will find you.

Today, I’m surrounded by family and friends who love and accept me for me, not only what I can do for them. I have friends I never have to explain anything to and who love my flaws and quirks along with my good qualities. I’m so secure with being myself that I can make fun of myself and have a good time doing it.

I’m relaxed, worry-free, and best of all, safe! I’ve found my tribe, and you will find yours. And once you find them, they’ll be well worth the wait!

You’re worth fighting and living for. Don’t give up now. Stick around! It gets better! Much better!

With Knowledge comes empowerment!