Sweet and Tender Hooligan...
My stepdaughter is getting bullied again. A new group of little bimbo troglodites this time.. We're getting at a bit of a loss what to do time and time again, and upon reminiscing on my own experiences of bullies, and my sisters. And anyone else I know for that matter, I have come to realise something. The bullying pandemic is a problem because society LOVES bullies.

The reason for this is that we kind of have this stereotypical, Nelson Muntz type view of what a bully is, when in reality the best bullies are charming and usually either clever or good-looking. They are powerful. And like summertime midgies to bare juicy blood filled arms, people are oh so attracted to power. Teachers especially for some reason. Many if my classes consisted of teachers battling to socially outwit the ruder assholes, or hanging on every word of the airhead fashionista assholes, who dribbled on about The Hills or some equally vacant pasttime, strictly in Valley Girl lingo, whilst my question about the actual class was met with rolled eyes, by both airhead and teacher.

During such times at school I learned an interesting test as to whether or not you are respected by your peers (and therefore a good measurement of your status as potential bullying victim) is thus. Tell a joke. If they laugh, you are either ridiculously funny (or have cocked it up somewhere- beware laughing with or at) or, more likely, they simply respect you enough to have the manners to laugh. Raucous laughter and you are an A Lister. You can probably guess how I was received. Not even a weak smile. I have even seen the same people roaring like the manbeasts they were at the same joke I had told that morning (down like a lead balloon in a vortex) but this time being told by Mr Thick-but-Good-Looking. But tesrs like these are important. Once you know you are 'likely to be bullied', people will almost certainly try to do it for the rest of your life.

Having established that you are 'likely to be bullied', one would presume people would try to protect you. Em, no. See this is another weapon in a bully's arsenal, one I like to call the 'Flip Reverse'. Where the bully plays the victim. This actually happened to me as an adult, in my first full time job. The girl in question was known to be agressive, a known bully. Her intimidating behaviour continued for months, while I meekly remained quiet and did as she said, scared of getting the sack if we were seen arguing. Another colleague observed and having had enough, reported her to our supervisor. As it transpires, she had already reported ME for bullying. I wasn't too worried. Everyone knew what I was like. Everyone knew what she was like. Didn't they?

Apparently not. When we later became friends, my former bully told me our boss lavished her with sympathy over it all. I on the other hand was threatened with the sack. Confused was not the word. My sister had a similar experience. Her bully used to wait for her after school, then when caught out, would simper that she haf only been joking, and string my sister along in a false friendship for a while. Bullies love false friendships, where you have some sort of temporary usage to them. I'm ashamed to say I have been a bully's 'oet' from time to time. It's a hatefully embarassing thing, knowing all the while they're making fun of you but at the same time being almost grateful to bask in their power. Reminds me of what the black slaves in the US called a 'house nigger'. Flattered by their attention.

After all I have learned from being meek, I would rather my stepdaughter just punched them. It would be well worth a detention, self respect.

Hold On To Your Friends?
Recently I have come to the realisation that I, Morrisarian, am in fact not a very good friend. I simply have lost the will to be bothered. When a much loved and wonderful friend invites me for coffee, my heart sinks a little and I attempt to get out of it, despite the knowledge that I will probably have a good time. The same goes for dinner, clubbing, drinks, phone calls and all manner of socialising. Within the past couple of years (and despite these things being my life before), I no longer enjoy the thought of doing them. However, every time I go onto facebook (dreaded facebook!!) and am confronted with silly little pictures about 'fake friends' and the like, especially when posted by formerly close compadres, I feel an awful stab of guilt, and I begin to lose myself in "Why? Why am I not enjoying my friendships like I used to?" And I did so used to.

Soul searching on the subject has been vast and lengthy. The first thing I considered was that perhaps it was because I am in a very happy and settled relationship, due to marry. Had I become one of 'those girls'? The one who only has friends when she is single? Having been one of 'those girls' mates' many, many times before, I had always baulked at the thought of enacting such treatment myself, so in previous relationships and even in this current relationship pre-break, I had always still deeply enjoyed maintaining my close friendships, in fact usually putting them ahead of boyfriend, in spite of perhaps not receiving the same treatment back. So why this time is it not in me anymore? My parents don't really have friendships anymore either, not in a number of years. They are very shy and private, and most of their old friendships ended on such terms that hurt them. Perhaps they have passed on a wariness to me, one that is beginning to make me hold back subconsciously. Maybe now at 25 I am experiencing a premature aging (I do now have to wear glasses, experience migraines, a yearning for pregnancy and a distinct lack of ability to stay awake in the evenings, resulting in a ten pm bedtime!) and the resulting lack of energy is making me lazy. Or maybe I am just a selfish bitch nowadays.

But then I moved away somewhat from self blame and evaluated the people in my friendships past and present. And my instincts flicker with a notion that perhaps, deep down, I know that aside from my partner, most people just aren't that interested in me and my life. Conversations now feel like battlefields to slide in tit bits of what's going on with me as opposed to the other person/people. If a conversation were a set of scales balancing the weight and importance of the participants problems or points of interest, it always seems to tip towards the other person. I have found myself lately cut off at the beginning of a sentence constanrly because the other person or people are so desperate to keep their topic in play. I look at the grim-grinning ghosts from high school past on Facebook or whatever, and all their little cliques are still friends, in spite of the glaringly obvious fact that they were for the most part, smug, hateful bastards. My friends from high school succumbed to the conversation scales long ago. Even though I had lots of interesting gossip, or things I needed to talk about, if it wasn't about high school. Or themselves, no one was listening. And even the friend I have who really listens, who really does laugh at my jokes, who asks my opinion on my own situations, who never judges and who despite having all sorts of hecticness in her own life always makes yours seem like the most interesting, comes with a caviat. In the form of another friend who is attached to her like glue. It is impossible to see my listening friend socially without the other friend, who is a nice person but whom I can't speak as freely in front of. Therefore I don't see this girl whose company I enjoy so that often. And she put up the 'fake friends' thing this morning. Bugger.

But maybe, just maybe, I've had enough. The last time I had a friend whom I saw every day, who I wasn't afraid to argue with, who I told everything to no filter, who shared joy and sadness with me, who was like family, was when I was about 10. Other friends were bullies and users but not her. We were as one. High school came between us somewhat, as she was a little older and I went to a different school. Then life drove a big wedge between us. I should have fought for her. I didn't. Instead I engulfed a tidal wave of friendships that chipped at my soul, that one by one led me to a point where I realised I was truly alone. That none of these people I had put so much faith in were really there nor ever had been. And then, once I realised that, I began to feel happy for the first time in years. I moved in with my partner and stepdaughter. I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. I didn't really *need* friends.

So now that I am happy I find a lot of old millstones are trying to see me socially again. I feel sad about it but I don't bite, as I have learned that trying to make others happy can make you very unhappy, and I already know the balance in which those friendships will weigh. I do still have friends of course, some I still watch on facebook enjoying their lives, which makes me smile. Others I attempt to see socially or keep in touch with, even if grudgingly so they can get what they need to off their chests.

However, I have found one true friend, the best mate I had been yearning and searching for all these years. That person is me. And as I watch my little stepdaughter struggle with friendships, as she has now reached that age where my troubles began, I hope one day I can teach that to her I guess.


A New Same-Old Woman
I am in love with a wonderful man. Woo hoo! I am now, as an articulate friend put it, a post-Darcy Bridget Jones. Still as hopelessly clumsy, silly, blundering as ever, but happier to be so, and more successful in spite of it, with a loving partner to boost my confidence. There is also a smug realisation there, when my love for my partner shows for certain that I had never been in love before. Not really. This is a great thing because it hands me back a certain bit of power which I thought I had lost long ago, when cruel, callous ex-boyfriends unceremoniously dumped me in a variety of condescending, belittling fashions, feeling safe in the knowledge that I loved them unconditionally, but they as superior beings had tired of me and did not love me back. Ha scumbags! I now know that these keepers of darkness meant less than nothing. To quote Jack Black if I may, they were simply "a funny little footnote on my epic ass."

In fact, I can quote one better, as my past 'affairs' remind me more poignantly of a beloved childhood film, and the little poem that always felt so special;

"Through dangers untold, and hardships unnumbered,
I have fought my way to the castle
Beyond the Goblin City;
To take back the child that you have stolen.

For my will is as strong as yours;
And my kingdom is as great!
You have no power over me."

For years I had felt inferior to most, and it was primarily because of men who had hurt me. However, I have grown so much in the past couple of years, and have all but outgrown the seeds of my previous depression. I have not so much changed, but recaptured, celebrated and worked on bringing to the fore, the true me that has been there all along. I feel alive! It's not just because of my bloke though. It's through being able to laugh at the ridiculous dramatics of the past year, through which I have gained my full strength, learned about the world and myself, and shed some unneccessary 'baggages' (usually in the form of people) who were dragging me down with them.

I have still some way to go, I have a career to conquer and a family to begin (God permitting), and those things will not happen successfully until I learn to fully stick up for myself. I feel opportunities to do just that will arise in the coming year, and I pray I have the strength to do what I must do. My prayers tend to work pretty good though...

Alistair, Darling... please...
So he was flapping his chops yesterday about how Labour supporters have no "fire in their bellies". Why on earth should they??? What have they been offering? The Labour party seem to have become the Left Wing Conservative party, led by the personality-free zone that is Gordon Brown. They remind me in some ways of my old school canteen. It was never brilliant, but it filled your belly and you felt like you had decent options in choosing to eat there. Then the Jamie-Oliver era of 'healthy' school dinners swept in (in my opinion a movement based more on condemning the food children had been consuming than teaching them how to have more of a varied, tasty but healthy diet to set them up for life). My school, despite being one of the top three in the country, appeared to decide that a new, healthier menu for us took too much money and effort, and simply removed all the tasty/unhealthy food and left only the few passable meals that slipped through the net, raising the prices in the process. We were hungry, broke, stressed at being unable to unwind with a tasty bite for 45 minutes after difficult days preparing for exams. We were dissatisfied. It led to breakaways, sneaking up the town even though it was forbidden and often more expensive, and a year later a boycott was staged when there was to be another price hike (it was successful, and made the money-grubbing head chef, who actually managed to win school chef of year despite former employees claiming she would have served us rat droppings if it saved her a few pennies, cry!). When our options were removed, we turned elsewhere, to candidates which offered us more in comparison, even though we knew we shouldn't be giving them our custom. Labour have done little to inspire, satisfy and serve their supporters or attract new voters, let alone make up for the mistakes it had already made in recent years. The smarmy, horrendous and thoroughly unlikable Cameron looks like a right-wing JFK in comparison to Brown's dull, anxious-looking but well-meaning Nixon.

On the subject of personalities, X Factor has always been sinonymous to me with lack therof. Spitting out goody-goody aria-screaming divas, pub quality rat-packers or performers who are poor imitations of acts already in the charts, all armed with stories about how their granny's favourite dog died in a tragic golf-cart accident (and I'm sure they were with them in all of their performances...howling along), but no interesting persona, none that hasn't been forced or clearly fabricated anyway. Which is why I'm kind of rooting for the vile Grimes twins, John Paul and Edward. They're not overly good, but they make things interesting, plus they look a lot like one of my weirder exes (and that's saying something) which I find humorous. So John Paul and Edward to win! Let the nice guy finish last! Because 'nice' doesn't necessarily mean 'likable'.

The Saturdays on a Saturday- ergh!
The Saturdays were just on the telly (with a very annoying and prissy new T4 hostess)- I can't stand them! They are the perfect poster girls for the negative aspirations of the modern woman- they are famous, successful with plenty of money and always look amazing, but they are plastic, dull, unintelligent and talentless, having success in an field that should be all about originality, creative smarts and plain old God-given gifts. Yet they are successes on the back of other people's work, a cheap, explotative, money-grubbing modern music industry and the fact that they wear miles of make-up, maintain size zero figures and pose in their knickers... grrrrrrr! Sorry, it just really annoys me. I'm not jealous, I wouldn't fancy their kind of career if I'm honest, but I am bitter about the demise of music, and the insistance of the entertainment industries to treat the consumer as an idiot. What's wrong with being interesting and thought-provoking? Too much of a risk it would seem. Pfffffffffffft!


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