Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Going with the theme of the week (if I may be so bold as to use one day as the basis for a theme, but go with me here), today's song would be Winger's Seventeen, as in
"... she's only seventeen! Daddy thinks she's too young, but she's old enough for me!"
Yeah. Skeevy.
I was 17 when that song came out. At the time, I though Kip Winger was an awesome (albeit a bit too hairy) specimen of hotness. He saw that a 17 year old was adult enough to handle a relationship with a (too hairy) grown up. But now I know that he was an overgrown (and not just referring to body hair) man child who objectified young girls in a way that they were too young to fully mentally or emotionally process.

Oh, what a difference a few (fine; 25) years make!

But, there's something else on my mind today. This is a month where the problems of bullying is taking center stage, and stories of bullying are coming out of the corners. And the story of Amanda Todd is everywhere, a girl who made some questionable decisions (don't all girls?) which ultimately haunted her to the point where she felt the only way out was to remove herself from the equation.

As I'm typing this on the couch, my kids are sitting in the kitchen, eating their breakfast and talking about the things that fill their days. They're just a few years younger than Amanda was when she made a bad decision.

I remember what it was like to be a teenager. The angst, drama, fear, sadness, joy, elation, isolation, wonder that all seemed to occur in rapid succession, all around the clock. It was too easy to make bad decisions. How will I ever convince my kids not to go down that road? Overwhelming.

When I was 17, I was in my senior year. I was close enough to touch the rest of my life. High school was not the happiest time of my life; I didn't meet the love of my life or that teacher-slash-mentor who made a big impact and helped me to reach goals; it was a time of trying to assert my (paper thin) power, of doing the bare minimum to get by so I could just ... get out. Some people probably thought I was a bully; I might have been. I was also bullied. It's not always a clear case of a + b = c, sometimes it's more complicated.

So, to all those out there struggling with bullying? With the all-consuming world of high school (or junior high)? I say, be strong and be true--TO YOU. It does get better. You graduate. You move on. And you make your way.

My senior year was dominated by my love for Pink Floyd. And one particular song that played on a loop through my head. Nobody's Home.

One particular line in this song really spoke to me.
I've got wild staring eyes.
And I've got a strong urge to fly.
But I got nowhere to fly to.
But, then I did have somewhere to fly to. So I flew.
I soared. 
Bullying sucks. No kid should have to feel like there is no answer other than to die. 
But can we stop bullying? Or do we need to focus on our kids, focus on helping them to realize, this does not define you. This does not determine who you are.  Don't give anyone else that power. You have the power.

You have the power.

YOU HAVE THE POWER. Take it back.

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