Civil Disobedience – Breaking the law (A Personal Story)

I received this wonderful story from Vivi from the band Mental Monky Ballet from Sweden. It shows how we have to think hard about how far we have to go to deal with bullying issues. Thanks to Vivi for the submission. ~ Alan


Civil Disobedience – Breaking the law

Would you ever stand up in a group of people and say; I know we have rules, but they don’t seem to work. Maybe they work for you and some other people, but not for me and these other guys here.

How far are you prepared to go to make the rules work better? Would you risk losing friends, losing benefits, losing your job or even get hurt physically?

ViviMy name is Vivi and I’m the songwriter and lead vocalist of the Swedish alternative/rock/pop band Mental Monky Ballet. When I wrote our song “Breaking The Law” from our most recent EP of the same name in November last year, despite what it might sound like, I didn’t feel like a rebel at all. I just felt fresh air in my lungs. We breathe in and out and the air changes every time. Nothing is ever the same the next moment, and the question is: in what way do we want this change to happen?

To me, the song title refers to a form of civil disobedience, but maybe not as much as the one that most of us are thinking about when the expression is used.

Most of the time, I believe, we think of events performed in public and in front of the world media such as Ghandi’s non-violent, revolutionary civil disobedience in India a long time ago. A more recent example is Pussy Riot in Russia screaming out their message in a sacred church, maybe in an effort to make their message louder. One other perfect example is the civil rights movement in the USA showing incredible bravery against racial issues, just some decades ago. They were all making a strong statement towards their government which they thought were unjust.

This is what you read about when you Google civil disobedience.

What if we put exactly the same actions in a much smaller context, like a school for instance.

This is a true story and a beautiful example of fighting injustice against a stronger power.

The story took place in a school of very young kids, located in a suburb of Sweden’s second largest City called Göteborg (Gothenburg). As it often happens, one girl in one of the classes couldn’t play with the other children, simply because they wouldn’t let her. Why? Because she was a bit chubby and acted a bit different.

However, there was another little girl who wasn’t bullied, and she strongly felt that this was wrong. Ironically, she was equally chubby but had somehow gained some kind of status with the other kids. She deliberately and happily started to play with the bullied girl and she also, on several occasions, asked the others why they exclude her. Anna was the girl who stood up for her classmate, and now plays keys and guitar in our band. She was seven years old at the time, and this trait of hers still burns bright today.

This is a very common, and for some people quite insignificant story, and not really food for media. It’s something that would completely drown in the stream of horrible news of rape, shootings and incest.

Yet, these incidents, often taking place over a long period of time, could completely ruin a person’s whole life. We’re looking at years of panic attacks, self loathing, eating disorders and all kinds of psychological and physiological issues that often occur. Sometimes they are carefully hidden but still extremely painful, and sometimes they are out in the open needing all sorts of treatments, successful or not, not to mention the increased risk of suicide for teenagers and beyond.

For a kid, the class is the government, the schoolyard is the battlefield, and the corridor is the supreme court. Imagine what it means to have at least one person taking the risk standing up for you.

I believe there are innumerable amounts of heroes out there, visible or not. I also believe that we all should break the law or change the rules once in a while, when we feel that they don’t work anymore – in society as well as in the small group.

~Vivi

Learn more about Vivi’s band at http://www.cyberpr.biz/clients/3300

 

Music Lyrics #15 – Jeremy (Pearl Jam)

In the very early 1990′s, the Grunge movement of music started. Most people saw it as the new hard rock. But the lyrics in the Grunge music, no matter how hard the beats were, always spoke to the truth of the youth at the time. When I first heard Jeremy, by Pearl Jam, on their first major album called 10, I knew it was about bullying and the awful results of what can happen. Listen between the hard rock beat and you’ll hear the pain of the lyrics. Now you can look up and read the true story that the song was written for. It is about a boy who walked into his school and killed himself in front of his bullies. Very powerful story, very powerful lyrics. We should all pay attention to this ongoing issue, even 23 years after the song came out. We have yet to solve the issue.

At home
Drawing pictures
Of mountain tops
With him on top
Lemon yellow sun
Arms raised in a V
Dead lay in pools of maroon below

Daddy didn’t give attention
To the fact that mommy didn’t care
King Jeremy the wicked
Ruled his world

Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today

Clearly I remember
Pickin’ on the boy
Seemed a harmless little f&@k
But we unleashed a lion
Gnashed his teeth
And bit the recess lady’s breast

How could I forget
He hit me with a surprise left
My jaw left hurting
Dropped wide open
Just like the day
Like the day I heard

Daddy didn’t give affection
And the boy was something that mommy wouldn’t wear
King Jeremy the wicked
Ruled his world

Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today
Try to forget this…
Try to erase this…
From the blackboard.

A Question of Why (A Personal Story)

It takes a special person to share their personal stories online. We have come to expect that social media is the new norm and through these posts, we can spread the message that we are not alone. But we still always feel alone and that is just part of our human nature. As I read Callie’s story, I continually ask myself “why”? Why do people treat each other this way? How can we stop it and become the empathetic society we should be? Right now, I have yet to get the answers needed. ~Alan Eisenberg


I’m considered very intelligent and when I was in 7th grade did a girl named Caitlin start bullying me. I was never given a reason why except that I was always smiling. Daily she would threaten me that she would start a fight with me. I was kinda scared at that fact since not long ago did she beat up a girl named Sierra who was in really bad shape after. Caitlin even got the whole school against me, except the teachers. I would be shoved into the wall and tripped. My only friend was Kiera and since each grade is separated into two groups. Kiera and I were separated. My family didn’t know any of this and it continued the rest of that school year.

Funny how then when I’m in 8th grade does the teachers ask if I had a problem with bullying. Me I like to keep my problems to myself and it did stop in 8th grade. Though Caitlin was still treating me terrible.

9th grade I learned she was put on house arrest and I never saw her in school. Then a girl named Ally started to bully me and it was always in Choir and my teacher never did anything. First Ally put 4 or more packets of grape jelly in the hood of my jacket and so when I put my hood up there would be jelly all in my hair. I knew it was Ally since she sat behind me in Choir and everyone saw her do it but nobody told me about it till the next year.

Also in 9th grade Ally poured a whole bottle of water in my seat on several occasions and would hide and mess with my stuff so I would miss the bus to get home. Then Ally told her friend Tamera to spit in my bottle of water. I wasn’t told that till I was in my 10th grade year. A friend had seen Tamera spit in my water and laughed when I drank from it. That friend confronted Tamera and asked why she would do that. She answered because it was funny.

It took that entire year for the principal did anything even though I reported it to him since the beginning of school. The entire class knew I was bullied and they did nothing to stop it, not even my friend did or told me anything.

I told my family about the bullying that Ally did and all my brother does is tease me that Ally is my best friend when he knows that all she is, is a living nightmare. He even went as far to say he would hook us up and I’m a female. Lately I’ve had to deal with a past sexual abuse by a cousin of mine. So that just made the situation all the worse and my parents didn’t really pay any mind to it. I actually cried myself to sleep that night which I’ve done before and called my friend Darrell who knows everything about me and he told me that he would tell my brother off for it. I at least have one true friend that will remain at my side.

~Callie

Today’s Bullying Message

Do you still struggle to believe that adults struggle to deal with the bullying that happened to them when they were younger? This video from Amir might help clear that up for you in three minutes. I find it very emotionally powerful.

What If I Was Bigger Than a Bully

Author Cat Blount has released a book for elementary school age children titled “What If I Was Bigger Than a Bully: Storyteller Edition”. This book talks to both those who deal with being bullied as well as the bullies, parents, bystanders, and school officials.

The title references a question the boy in the book asks himself and shows him in his mind what possibilities this brings. He discovers something important during his exploration that changes his circumstances. The new version goes more into what the
bullied (the young boy, Jed) is thinking.  It also has a new character who is there to listen to and help Jed.  You can learn more about the book by clicking here.

Below is a video trailer about the book as well.

Pushed Too Far (A Personal Story)

When I first read this story, I was worried there would be no happy ending here. Abby’s story is very serious and shows just how close someone can come to losing the most precious gift we have…life. ~Alan Eisenberg


Hi my name is Abby.

This is my story.

I was a perfect, happy, giggly, funny kid. It started in Elementary School. 1st grade I had a best friend. We did everything together. She was sweet, popular, kind, and just awesome. I loved being her friend. Since se was popular, I was too.

girlbullyAfter that, I noticed I was getting heavier and she was thin, She started ignoring me in 2nd grade, One day I confronted her about it and she pulled me over and said,” Listen, I don’t wanna be friends with you anymore. You’re ugly, fat, worthless and you don’t matter so go away loser. I never liked you and never will!!” That hurt me. I came to school the next day and I confronted her about it but instead she didn’t respond a few popular boys pushed me to the floor an said,” listen she doesn’t like you so go get out of her and our lives. you’re a mistake. just go away just notice nobody likes you!” I got up and cried. I hid in the bathroom all day.

When I got home, I picked up a razor and started cutting my wrist. I swore I would never do that again. I kept putting up with the bullies until 3rd grade. I started cutting again and it became addictive. I attempted suicide 3 times that year. I tried choking myself, drowning myself and overdosing. I couldn’t take it. I slit my wrist more and more. I almost hit a vain.

4th grade, I was starving myself because I was called fat. I Was diagnosed with Anorexia and weighed 45 lbs in 4th grade. I almost died. Kids told me to choke myself. Finally I didn’t let it get to me. I got my metabolism up again. 5th grade, Kids called me a mistake, worthless, fat, dumb, annpying, and I cut again and again.

On the last day of school, I was shoved into a trash can.

I attempted suicide more and more.

6th Grade, I was going into middle school, It was a new year, new friends, new lives. I ignored all the bad past. I made new friends. they were popular. I was in their group and felt happy. Little did I know they were using me a joke. They back stabbed me and started hate groups, I got a swirly in the bathroom stall as well. They had a hate wall dedicated to me in the bathroom stall, I was told to kill myself because I’m unloved and unwanted, I had no friends, nobody, Nobody to lean on, nobody to be by.

I had to fend for myself. I got poor grades, poor sleep, poor appetite, I refused to go to school.

7th grade, It got worse. I cried myself to sleep every night, trying to kill myself, having my parents walk in on me trying to kill myself. I cried so much. I had to switch schools. I got beat up, let down, stepped on, backstabbed, choked up, knocked out, pushed around, I just wanted to end it.

8th grade, I switched schools. There was a rumor going around saying something stupid so I got yelled at and it started again. I cut. I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD, bulimia, panic disorder, etc. I cut so much and attempted for the last time I overdosed on 30 Advil & passed out. I woke up in a psych ward. I am getting therapy and help now. I still cut but not as much but my story shows how messed up the society is. Now I have friends, I inspire others and I wake up with a smile on my face knowing I am loved and still alive on this planet and I will not end my life over anybody. I am glad they did it to me because it made me who I am today. Just because I had a negative past, I am not gonna have a negative future.

~Abby

Make It Better Right Now

Before I introduce you to http://MakeItBetterRightNow.net (or MIBRN as we like to call ourselves) and some of its members, I would like to thank cropped-MIBRN-Logo3-300x120Alan for all he does in bringing attention to this epidemic around the world called “bullying”. He, like me, believes that by telling our stories; by discussing our issues openly without the fear of being bullied yet again, that we can begin the healing process. Again, Alan, on behalf of the MIBRN community, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Kevin Carey-Infante

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kevin Carey-Infante. I am an author, blogger, teen advocate and creator/administrator of a newly created alternative social media website for teens called http://MakeItBetterRightNow.net. MIBRN is a website created by teens for teens. It’s a safe and secure place for teens to come to get support, as well as learn about issues that matter to them. It’s also a place where teens can come to talk with each other and tell their stories in real-time, without being judged, ridiculed or bullied. MIBRN uses various methods of communication, including messaging, email, open forums, bulletin boards, and a “chat” feature that allows teens from around the world to communicate with each other in real-time. In less than a year, MIBRN has grown into a social media website for all teens – black, white, yellow, red, gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered, the victims of bullying and abuse, and, yes, even the bullies themselves. As long as everyone shows respect for each other and their diverse points of view, everyone is welcome at MIBRN.

MIBRN was born out of the many tragic deaths from teen bullycide (teens who commit suicide because they felt that they could no longer deal with the relentless bullying they were being forced to live with.) Tyler Clementi, Cassidy Joy Andel and Justin Aaberg are just a handful of those souls. One of the features on the MIBRN site is the Honor Roll of Victims of Bullycide. We regularly add a teen who has taken his or her life and tell their story in the hope that we can learn from them and not repeat their actions. MIBRN is committed to ending bullycide in our time.

The MIBRN community also invites those adults who have been there to tell their stories. There is nothing more inspiring to a teen than to hear from those who have been in their shoes and made it to live another day – to hear how they made it better in their lives.

When I told the members of the MIBRN community that Alan had invited me to write a guest blog about MIBRN they asked if they could submit comments for you to read. “This is our site, after all,” Danny told me. I was, of course, more than thrilled that they were eager to participate. Over the past couple of weeks, I have received many comments. Here are but a handful. I present each MIBRN community member by their “Username“. This way, if you would like, when you visit MIBRN, you can reach out to these very special individuals, say hi, and start a conversation.

MigueldeCuba: Hi! My name is Mike. I’m 15-years old and I live in New Jersey. I found MIBRN one day this summer when I was fooling around on my iPad looking for people like me. I get bullied all the time because I don’t fit in. My mom is Cuban and my dad is Irish. Kids call me a zebra and I hate it. The other thing about me is that I am short, so kids think I’m weak. I’m not. I’m pretty strong and I play soccer, and I’m pretty good. I was super lucky to find MIBRN. I have made lots of new friends and Mr. Kevin has helped me a lot. Now I am paying it forward. I met a girl from Canada on the MIBRN chat line. She was really scared in the beginning. I talk to her a lot and now she’s my friend. She’s doing better. My dream is to help Mr. Kevin to make it better for all kids. Mr. Kevin has taught me to want to make a difference. I hope to talk to you soon. Thank you for this time to talk to you.  Mike

cookme25: Hi everyone. My name is Hannah. I’m 16-years old and I live in Kentucky. About 2 months ago I wrote this on my MIBRN profile and I really do believe it:

Everything happens for a reason. You may not see it right away but you will. It may be years from now but it will happen. You’ll look back and you’ll see that if that one thing hadn’t happened then everything would have turned out different. You might not have met a person you love or you might not have become the person you are. So just remember, even if it seems like the end of the world, be patient. Everything happens for a reason.

MIBRN is a great place for teens to come together and know they aren’t alone. We all have similar experiences or maybe you find someone who understands what it’s like to be you. It shows you aren’t alone. Hope to meet you soon.  Hannah

Sander1998: Hi. My name is Sander. I’m 14-years old and I live in the Netherlands. I found MIBRN when I was doing research on bullycide. This is the best site I found honoring kids who committed bullycide. I really like this site and believe that it can help lots of kids. I hope that it can help you too. Talk to you soon.  Sander

KatieRoo: Hey everybody. My name is Katie. I’m 16-years old and I live in Ohio.  MIBRN is basically a site where you can come and talk to people who have felt/experienced the same things you have. You are not alone in this world. I have seen a great change in myself in just a few months. There are people out there who are going through the same mess as you. Just remember – you first have to climb the mountain before you can see the beauty. I wrote this on my Message Board last week because I thought it was very important:

Your words/your thoughts ARE powerful/ARE meaningful. If no one listens then speak up until your voice is heard. Be brave in yourself – stand up for yourself for if you don’t believe in your words then who will?

How about just starting a convo with me!… I would love, love, love to just talk! Ok c ya!  Katie

DannyL: Hi everyone. My name is Danny and I’m 14-years old. I’m in the 9th grade and I live in San Antonio, TX. To be honest, my uncle is Mr. Kevin’s husband. But even if that were not true I would still love this site. I’m gay and I came out to my mother and my friends at the end of the last school year. I get bullied all the time for being me, but I am learning how to deal with it. I have made lots of friends at MIBRN and they help me a lot. We talk all the time. When I have a question or a problem I can’t answer I will ask Mr. Kevin for his advice because he had many problems and was bullied when he was a kid like me. Mr. Kevin is the best! I think – no – I know – this site will help a lot of kids no matter what they are going thru. I hope to meet you soon.  Danny

I couldn’t have said it better gang. Thank you! On behalf of the MIBRN community I would like to invite you all to come over and check us out. Here’s the link:

http://MakeItBetterRightNow.net

IT’S YOUR PLANET…MAKE IT BETTER RIGHT NOW


Thank you, Kevin, and all at MIBRN for doing what you do in the battle against bullying. ~Alan Eisenberg