Beltway Bullies

 

cartoon___betta.jpg
Psycrowe

They are the highway betta fish

angry – ready to fight

acting on a baffling death wish

looking to find a bite

outrage is a mirror to fear

but what is there to dread?

perpetual thoughts prompt a sneer

on these lawless hotheads

 

they won’t stop, those rude road ragers

they’re projecting their mood

when there’s no need to brood

their perspective is skewed

 

 

At Last…

cover2

I’ve published it.

On Amazon.com and a few other outlets, you can now purchase Esther, Mia and the Stars! It will say “Spanish version” but it’s in both English and Spanish, every page.

Esther and Mia are best friends. Esther must come up with a creative solution when she discovers that Mia is being bullied. Together, they overcome this painful event and tell their story in English and Spanish.

It’s imperfect, but it was a labor of love, illustrated by my daughters with a message of empowerment for children who are experiencing bullying.

Thank you to my blogging community! You provided much-needed support and encouragement along the way.

Self-Publishing Update

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I finally received my proof for Esther, Mia and The Stars today!

It looks really good. It’s not perfect. But it’s a labor of love and I’m going to publish it. Two illustrations need to be replaced and I have to figure out how to center the ISBN code on the inner cover…but that’s it!

My friend, Sierra, translated the English to Spanish and told me it was a very fun process and that she learned a lot. I felt the same way. The process was extremely satisfying. My daughters loved making the illustrations at first, but then became self-conscious and self-critical. I hope the fact that I encouraged them to complete it will impress upon them the importance of crossing the finish line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Esther, Mia and the Stars

I’ve written a children’s book. My daughters are my illustrators.

I’ve written the story.

I’m working on formatting it for publishing.

It’s about a girl who is bullied and how her best friend and teacher help her school turn it around.

Here is one of the illustrations:

Esther and Mia on a blanket
Esther and Mia, by Josie Wipff 

After the illustrations and stories were done, I just let it sit…for months. I need to take the next steps of getting it published.

Writing about it on my blog will make me accountable. Tell me to do it. Yell at me! I need a push.

 

 

“A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

bul·ly*

1  [bool-ee]  Show IPA   noun, plural bul·lies.

1. a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates

smaller or weaker people.

2. Archaic. a man hired to do violence.

*www.dictionary.com
I have a problem with this definition. I don’t think you have to pick on someone “smaller” or “weaker” than you in order to be a bully. Bullies pick on nice people. Nice people are not weak. I would edit the definition to read:
1.  a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates others due to self-hatred.
The CAUSE of the person’s behavior helps us to understand the reasons behindBullying-stands-for the action(s). We (society) are more apt to think of ways to prevent bullying or solve the problem if we understand the cause and include it in the definition.
I ask my 32 students (often): “Imagine you wake up to a sunny day and you’re in a great mood. You’re looking forward to your day because you’re going to the carnival or a beach vacation or something great. You’re happy. Do you feel like picking on someone? Do you feel like cutting them down and making them feel badly?” The answer is always no. Then I ask, “What if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?  You’re in a bad mood, you feel slightly sick about a test you failed….nothing seems to be going right. How likely is it that you will take it out on your brother? A kid at school you don’t like?”  They always get silent and agree that if they’re not happy, they don’t want to make others happy.
***
THIS is the crux of bullying. Of course, bullying is more than a bad mood, it’s an on-going, consistent state of social terrorism.
***
My daughter recently received an email written by four girls she believed were her friends. In cowardly fashion (and against school rules), they composed an email during school on a school computer using a school email address. After alienating her at lunch, they went to the computer lab and crafted their message, essentially telling her she “didn’t belong” in their group because she is “different.” They wrote it at 11:30am. She read it at 3:30pm while at home, alone in her room. We’ve all heard the stories of children who read emails or see posted photos or videos and then commit suicide. This form of bullying is insidious, silent and deadly. We must talk to our children (ALL of us!) and stand united in our absolute rejection of this type of behavior. My ten year old daughter cried for two days.  “Why? Why? Why?” echoed in her head. I allowed her to cry, but I made it clear that THEY were in the wrong, not her. I was surprised that she truly felt she had done something wrong. She told me she felt ashamed. I looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Listen, there is absolutely NO reason you should be ashamed. These four girls, THEY should be ashamed. You did nothing wrong.” She got some sleep and in the morning, she sent me this Internet picture:
happy poster

I was relieved, but wondered, “Is she really OK?” I had been asking her all week if there was something wrong, she hadn’t talked about her friends in a couple weeks. She said everything was fine.  This is not like her, to hide such things from me.  With the Internet, smart phones and tablets, it’s all too easy to carry on several conversations at once, even destructive ones. We must remain diligent in our efforts to fight bullying, but it has to start with the bullies. Parents need to be crystal clear in what is acceptable and what is not. One student has apologized, but her did not communicate anything to us or our daughter. She simply allowed her daughter to say, “I’m sorry.” As I told Ava, “Actions speak louder than words.” We shall see how things go.