Monthly Archives: July 2012

Updates from the road

So it looks like the Level3 boys are stuck in France a little longer. Poor them. ;) But no matter, Dilly, Dilly is rocking those libraries without them!  Here are some pix from the Chicopee, MA event.  So glad I’m going to  the gig in Hampton!  (Lane Memorial Library, Hampton, NH – Monday, 7/23 6:30pm).

Chicopee girls in the Pea Pod. (That’s a lot of peas!)

Dilly, Dilly – on banjo.

Slow down, ladies!

Dilly’s set list.

No brakes!

Oh, and in case you missed this little bit of awesomeness.

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The Bully in My Head

The topic of today’s blog post (bullying) comes from my involvement with TeamTEENAuthor.  TeamTEENauthor is a group of YA writers committed to speaking directly to their teen readers through essays, personal stories, and videos about age-relevant topics (with a small side dose of public humiliation). In other words, we don’t just want to write for you, we want to talk to you, too.  On the second Wednesday of every month, our fearless leader, Julie Cross, gives us a single word or phrase and we are allowed to do whatever we’d like with it.   The word for July is:  BULLY 

The Bully in My Head

I’ve been on both sides of the equation:  the bully and the bullied.  The details of these incidents aren’t important, though they stand out as some of the clearest memories of my youth.  What’s important is the why.  Why did I, a kid with friends, good grades, two loving parents and a (relatively) stable home, need to make other kids feel bad about themselves?  Conversely, why did I let the kids who teased me get away with it?  Why was I too ashamed to ask my parents or teachers for help?  And the one time I did ask a grown-up to intervene (the principal of my junior high, who did absolutely nothing despite my repeated pleas) why did I accept his utter ineffectualness as an adequate response?

The answer, as best as I’ve figured it, isn’t so much about the outside forces I was exposed to—the compassion and tolerance my parents raised me to believe in, or even the broken “look the other way” culture prevalent at my school—as much as it was about what was going on inside my head, which, I can assure you, was as bad, if not worse, as the taunts of my seventh grade bully.

“You deserve it,” I’d tell my thirteen-year-old self.  “You’re not as pretty as D. or as popular as R., so, of course, no one’s going to try to help you.”

With messages like this tormenting me, it’s no wonder I went through life angry and scared.   When a child comes from a dysfunctional family, it’s easy to understand why he or she feels the need to lash out, to find release by preying upon the weaker kids. Or why the kid who’s been beaten down by life comes to see herself as the powerless victim. But I came from a “good” family who supported me.  The problem was, I was being bullied constantly—by myself.

Even through high school, college, and beyond, when the bullying by and of others had thankfully ceased, I was still beating myself up on a regular basis—playing the roles of both bully and victim.  The sad thing is, this kind of negative messaging isn’t all that uncommon.  How often do we carelessly put ourselves down for saying or doing “something stupid,” or insult ourselves for the way we look in a bathing suit, or the bad grade we got on a test?

Recently, my eight-year-old son struck out at his little league game and was bemoaning his quote-unquote failure on the car ride home.  “I’m terrible at baseball,” he announced, as if this were an irrefutable fact, even though he was one of the team’s big hitters, and this was the first time he’d struck out all season.  As a mom, it was easy for me to reassure him that his very critical self-assessment wasn’t true, that even the best hitters in major league baseball strike out at least half of the time, that we all have off days.  I try to teach him to be kind to himself, instead of beating himself up about it.  But it took me years to learn how to give that same kind of compassion to myself.

Today, I’m proud to say that I practice self-compassion on a regular basis, which means forgiving myself when I quote-unquote fail, and loving myself, not in spite of my perceived inadequacies, but because of them.  I recently had the good fortune of reading an advance copy of SKINNY, by Donner Cooner, the much-lauded young adult novel due out this fall, in which a 300-pound fifteen-year-old girl named Ever goes through a risky gastric bypass operation in order to silence the negative voice inside her head (which she’s named Skinny).  Ever survives the surgery, but much to her dismay: so does Skinny.  Which makes Ever realize how little her actual appearance had to do with the negative way she thinks of herself, and how much it has to do with Skinny’s constant criticism.

My point is—bullying is a complex topic, and it’s important that we give kids the tools to deal with it and bring awareness to it in our schools, our homes, and our communities.  But I don’t think the problem will ever really stop until we learn to stop bullying ourselves.

Below are links to the blogs of other TeamTEENAuthors who’ve written about bullying today.:

Julie Cross–TEMPEST

Pip Harry–I”LL TELL YOU MINE

Janci Patterson–CHASING THE SKIP

Jessica Corra–AFTER YOU

Suzanne Lazear–INNOCENT DARKNESS

E.C. Myers–FAIR COIN and QUANTUM

Elizabeth Amisu–SACERDOS and ARCANE RISING

Kimberly Sabatini–TOUCHING THE SURFACE

And here’s a link to a great article on the differences between self-compassion and self-esteem and why self-compassion may be more important.

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Winner announced for Battle of the Boy Bands

A hearty thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog to share their boy band love.

I’m happy to announce that One Direction fan Christina K. walked away with the prize–a $10 iTunes gift card & a copy of REUNITED.

Stay tuned for more summer giveaway fun.  And don’t forget to stop by the Level3 Tour page to see if the boys are coming to a town near you!

 

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Win a $50 Ticketmaster Gift Certificate by following the REUNITED Summer Music Tour

The REUNITED Summer Music Tour

To celebrate, Level3’s inclusion in REUNITED, Simon & Schuster is sending them on a tour of libraries (!!) from Boston to Austin this summer, with the awesome indie girl rocker, Dilly Dilly as their opening act.  Follow the tour by texting reunited to 25827!  Stay on Level3’s text list until 9/1/12 and they’ll draw a single name to win a $50 TicketMaster Gift Card!

July 17, 2012 @ 3PM

Chicopee, MA
 
- Chicopee Public Library



July 18, 2012 @ 6:30PM

Johnston, RI 
- 
Marian J. Mohr Library



July 20, 2012

Barrington, RI 
- Barrington Public Library 



July 21, 2012

Darien, CT
 
- Darien Library 



July 23, 2012

Hampton, NH
 
- Lane Memorial Library 



July 24, 2012

New London, CT
 
- Public Library of New London

 


July 25, 2012 @ 2:00PM

Quincy, MA 
- Thomas Crane Public Library



July 27, 2012

Hershey, PA
 
- Hershey Public Library 



July 31, 2012

Pittsboro, NC
 
- Pittsboro Public Library



August 1, 2012 @ 3:30PM

China Grove, NC 
- South Rowan Public Library 


August 4, 2012 @ 1PM

Grand Prairie, TX 
- The Bowles Branch Library


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