Where Do The Good Times Go?

I think of gravel roads not yet paved, and vast countrysides not yet subdivised.

I think of drive-in movies instead of walk-in theaters.

I think of little country stores instead of huge shopping centers.

I think of payphones instead of smartphones.

I think of tire swings.

I think of swimming in creeks and lakes.

I think of running around outside bare footed and drinking from water hoses- and no one thinking anything of it.

I think of going to yard sales and flea markets with Grandma

I think of RC colas and Moon Pies.

I think of chewing Super Bubble bubble Gum.

I think of riding around in the backs of pickup trucks.

I think of acid/hair bands instead of emo bands…Kansas, Journey, Boston, Van Halen, Whitesnake and Mötley Crue.

I think of going to church with Uma.

I think of real TV shows like “Dukes of Hazzard,” “Dallas,” “BJ and the Bear,”  and “Chips,” instead of reality shows.

I think of box office movies like “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Jaws,” “Star Wars,” “ET,” and “The Goonies,” instead of the crappy movies of today.

I think of eating at the dinner table instead of in front of the TV or computer.

I think of big old Victorian houses with huge wrap-around porches.

I think of wood stoves and homemade ice cream straight from my grandmother’s ice-cream churn.

I think of shelling peas and shucking corn with Grandma.

I think of fist fights instead of gun fights.

I think of The Lord’s Prayer and The Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of every school day.

I think of long summer days spent climbing trees, running, skating, bike riding and playing Hide-and-seek instead of sitting in the house playing video games and texting.

I think of running home when the first of the street lights started blinking on in the evening when the sun went down.

I think of Mom or Uma giving out a loud whistle when it was time for lunch and dinner and hearing that whistle for several blocks.

I think of big family Thanksgivings and Christmases.

I think of watching Saturday morning cartoons like “The Bugs Bunny-Roadrunner Show,” “Tweety & Sylvester,” “Pepe Le Pew,” “Yogi Bear,” “Scooby Doo,” “Popeye,” and other TV goodies.

I think of Halloweens when the neighborhood was crawling with trick-or-treaters. No one considered it the devil’s holiday, not even those in church but just an innocent night of fun and playing dress up.

I think of watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

I think of watching “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the  Snowman” during the Christmas season.

Most of all, I think of living in an America that treated its servicemen and women with honor…an America where political correctness wasn’t overblown…an America which was moral, God-fearing, and free of the fear of terrorism within its borders.

I feel sorry for the kids today. I feel sorry for anyone thirty or younger. It’s sad that freedom is dying in America.

Those days weren’t just great. They were magical! Those were the days of freedom!

#childhood, #memories, #nostalgia, #the-good-old-days, #the-good-times

On the Beach- Flash Fiction (Part 3)

(Continued from Part 2)

“Come on! Move your ass!” I shouted as the four of us hoofed up the mountain. The rumbling roar of the giant wall of water behind us grew louder and louder until it became deafening. Suddenly, I heard Marissa scream behind me.

When I turned around, I saw that she’d tripped and fallen. I ran back to her, reached out, and grabbed her by the hand.

“Get up! Come on, you gotta get up!” I screamed frantically, barely able to hear myself for the deafening roar of the approaching tsunami. With my help, Marissa got to her feet, and we continued to run up the mountain.

We managed to make it to the top just in time to turn around and watch as the wave engulfed the beach below. The people left on the beach, looking like tiny black dots from so far away, began to scatter like frenzied ants before the wave engulfed them all.

“My God! Those people!” Sarah screamed in horror.

We continued to watch in terror as the monster wave moved further inland, swallowing the village whole. The water smashed the buildings and houses to pieces and carried them away.

“Dammit!” Tess cried, “Why didn’t they freaking listen to us!”

The ocean was now a bubbling, churning mess of brown, swirling water, peppered with white foam and debris. We watched as the jeep we had made our escape in got swept out to sea and disappeared.

“Oh, Lord Jesus!” Marissa cried.

All we could do was gape in utter shock and disbelief as the rushing, watery monster ravenously ate everything in its path.

Suddenly, we heard rustling in the bushes around us. We turned and looked. One by one, people began emerging from the bushes- a few villagers, the woman and her dog we’d seen on the beach earlier, a local family with four small children, and two young twenty-something male tourists.

More and more people came out of the bushes. It was incredible that we had survivors other than just the four of us! I pulled my cellphone from my beach bag and tried to call home but no luck. The signal was gone.

“The towers are gone. We’re not going to be able to call home.” Tess reminded me.

“So, what do we do?” Marissa asked.

“We sit here and wait,” I answered.

“For how long? And for who?” Marissa asked again.

“How do I know how long? We’ll wait for the helicopters. Somebody’s bound to send some choppers sooner or later.” I said

We opened the large backpack, took out a beach blanket, and then spread it on the ground before the four of us sat upon it and huddled together. Marissa opened her tote and pulled out a throw. We then each took our beach towels and rolled them into makeshift pillows.

The other people had their beach bags and backpacks too and began unloading their necessities. We all shared everything, giving the hungry villagers a portion of what we had to eat and drink.

We each had three full water bottles, but between the four of us was an overnight bag full of packs of Lance crackers, slim jims, Cracker Jacks, and cheese snacks. We shared them with the people who had the least food and water.

“We’re going to ration everything out. It could be several days before help finds us. You can bet there’s no drinking water available on this island now.” Tess said.

As the day wore on, the water below began to recede and flow back into the ocean. We all sat atop the cliff and watched as the receding waters carried bodies and all kinds of debris back out to sea. The shock didn’t wear off very quickly. Everything was too surreal, and we felt as if it was all a bad dream.

As late afternoon approached, a few villagers built a fire. We all joined them in building two large lean-tos out of limbs, bamboo, palm tree bark, and leaves. We also made beds of soft leaves, grass, and brush. We worked as quickly as possible because we wanted to get as much accomplished before running out of daylight.

As night fell, stars began to appear overhead until there were millions of them. A full moon shone brightly in the east as we worked by the light of the fire. A soft breeze started to blow, and the leaves on the surrounding palm trees and shrubbery began to flutter. We could hear the faint sounds of wind rustling through the trees along with the crackling and popping of the fire as it danced in the cool night air.

Although there were stars overhead, we began to hear what sounded like distant thunder. Stopping what we were doing, we all looked across the water at the vast ocean below us. Sure enough, we could see remote flashes of lightning in a row of cumulus clouds barely visible on the horizon.

Although it was a beautiful sight, we noticed that the clouds were growing more prominent on the horizon, and flashes were growing more visible. But we couldn’t stop gazing at it. The moon was so bright the clouds were almost as visible as day, and the dark shadows of the trees loomed clearly on the ground. The bigger and more fluffy the clouds got, the more the breeze picked up.

(Continued in Part 4)

On The Beach – Flash Fiction (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1)

I don’t think we’d ever run so fast in our entire lives. We got to the parking lot in what seemed like only seconds. We threw our beach bags, towels, and backpacks into the jeep before jumping in and clicking our seatbelts.

I cranked the engine, shifted into drive, and we peeled away, squealing tires. When we turned onto the main road, I made such a sharp turn at such high speeds that the passenger side of the jeep tipped upward and for a second or two, we were only riding on the driver’s side two tires. The other three girls grabbed the overhead bar to steady themselves.

After I completed the turn and corrected, the passenger side of the jeep dropped to the ground with a loud bang and jolt that bounced everyone off their seats.

“Easy! EASY! We’re not going to be any better off if we tip over and roll!” Sarah yelled.

“Just hang on!” I shouted back, pushing the gas pedal to the floor.

We sped toward the mountains, which were just beyond a village. With one hand gripping the overhead bar and the other holding her beach hat in place on her head to keep it from blowing off, Tess accidentally removed her hand to dig in her bag. Sure enough, the hat blew off and slid down the road behind us.

“Shit! My hat!”

“Screw the hat! Punch it, Lanie!” Sarah shouted.

We came to the crowded village and noticed that the people there looked as if it was just a normal day and they were just going on about their lives. Business as usual.

“Jeez! What the hell are they doing! Why aren’t they running for higher ground!” Tess cried.

“We’ve got to stop and warn them,” I said.

“We’ve gotta what??? We don’t have time!” Marissa cried.

Ignoring Marissa’s rely, I hit the breaks and we came to a screeching halt that threw us all forward and pulled our seatbelts taught against us. I then shifted into park, unfastened the belt, stood up in the jeep, and began yelling while pointing toward the ocean, then toward the mountains.

“Hey! Get to higher ground! Hurry! There’s a wave headed for us! C’mon! You got to get out of here! You gotta go NOW!” I screamed.

To our horror, the locals only stood there looking at us as if we’d flipped our wigs. One man turned and looked at the woman beside him. He put a finger next to his temple, doing the classic finger twirl, and I thought I heard the words, “Crazy Americans.” In English but with the native accent.

We tried warning them again but with no success. They only began laughing and pointing at us. Sarah spoke up.

“Forget it, Lanie! We tried! There’s nothing more we can do for these people. Now we have to save our own asses.” She said in a dreadful tone.

“Damn it!” I exclaimed as I dropped back into the seat, threw it into drive, and floored the gas. I looked through the rear-view mirror and noticed the locals standing there gawking at us as we speed away. Once we made it through the village, we made another turn at the foot of the mountain, onto a dirt road that led up it.

As we started up the mountain, we slung dirt and gravel everywhere and hit potholes, which jarred the jeep and everyone in it. Less than a quarter of a mile up the mountain, I glanced through the rear-view mirror at the village and ocean behind it and sure enough, I could see what looked like two white lines on the water. Suddenly, there was another loud bang with a hard jolt that threw us forward once more. The jeep had come to an abrupt stop!

The engine revved loud as I continued to floor the gas, but the jeep didn’t budge!

“What the hell!” I cried as I shifted gears again.

Once again, I shoved the accelerator to the floor and the front tires spun, slinging more dirt and gravel. Still, the jeep didn’t move.

“Come on, Lanie! Punch it!” Sarah yelled.

“I am! We’re stuck!”

“Oh God! That’s it! We’re screwed! ” Marissa shouted.

“Shut up!” I shouted back as I fought with the controls in the jeep to get us free from the hole we were stuck in.

Once more, I looked through the rear-view and could see the white wall of water looming larger in the mirror. I then saw a yacht that was in its path capsize!

“Holy-!”

I frantically shifted gears a third time and stood on the gas. Nothing!

“It’s no use! We gotta BAIL! We gotta go the rest of the way on foot!” I cried.

With that, we all quickly came out of our seat belts, hopped out of the jeep, and grabbed our things. As we began hoofing it up the mountain, we could hear the distant, rumbling roar behind us, and, second by second, the sound grew louder.

(Continued in Part 3)

On the Beach – Flash-Fiction

It was a beautiful day out on the beach. It was a secluded beach and the only people there besides us were a couple of runners and an older lady walking her dog. But this was what we had hoped for, a beach that wasn’t crowded- where we could get some peace and quiet.

My girlfriends and I planned for over a year to take this vacation and finally, success! We were finally here on this tropical island, basking in the sun and swimming in the clearest, bluest waters we’d ever seen. So, we swam, feeling the cool water caress our bodies and enjoying the waves that bobbed us like fishing corks and pushed us up so high our feet left the sandy bottom, then washed over us before setting us back down.

The sounds were a breathtaking mixture of many crying seagulls and whispering waves. I’d always loved the sounds of the ocean. The sea was something you never wanted to leave, even turn your back on. Arriving here was such a joyful thing. Leaving would be difficult.

But I wasn’t worried about having to leave and go back home to the daily grind. I only wanted to live in the present, to savor every moment of this wonderful vacation. We all did!

Splashing around in the water with my three girlfriends Tess, Sarah, and Marissa, was a blessing and the memories we’d create today would be the stories we’d reminisce about once we were too old to travel. Our goals were to make as many beautiful memories in the here and now as possible and so far, we were accomplishing that goal!

It’s funny how being in water can tire you out so quickly. We finally decided to rest on the beach in our cozy beach chairs and I dozed off to sleep before I knew it. Not a deep sleep, but more like a light doze- that in-between stage between wakefulness and sleep.

I’d been dozing for about fifteen, maybe twenty minutes when suddenly, I was startled out of my relaxing trance by the sound of Tess’s voice.

“Oh, my gosh! Look, girls!”

I sat up in my chair to see Tess pointing toward the ocean and rubbed my eyes to get a clearer look at what she was pointing at. Marissa gasped!

“What the- where did the water go!” Marissa asked, shocked.

It looked as if the waterline, which had only been about ten feet in front of where we all were lying have moved out by maybe a mile or better. You could still see the ocean, but it looked so much further away than it had twenty minutes before. How had all the water gotten pulled out so quickly? The other three girls just stood and stared, not knowing what to make of this phenomenon.

Suddenly, a very ominous feeling came over me as I remembered an article, I’d read years before that wasn’t good. Scanning the vast, wet sand before us, which was dotted with beached fish that occasionally flopped up in the air, I felt my stomach fall to the ground.

“Oh, shit!” I yelled as I jumped to my feet and began frantically grabbing my beach bag and towel.

At that moment, I couldn’t believe my own mouth. I shocked myself with the expletive because I normally didn’t swear, but in this situation, I didn’t care. My girlfriends jumped with the sound of my screaming voice and looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.

“We gotta go! We gotta go NOW!” I screamed!

“What is wrong with you, Lanie!” Sarah asked me, bewildered.

“We’ve got to get the hell out of here! Grab your stuff and let’s go!” I screamed again, this time louder. I looked around and didn’t see the runners, nor the lady and her dog.

My girlfriends obeyed, quickly scooping up their belongings, then followed my lead as we all ran as fast as we could toward the seawall and the parking lot beyond it, where the jeep was parked.

(Continued in Part 2 next week…)

#creative-writing, #flash-fiction

Envious? Of What?

When I look back today, I can see so much clearer. I never needed friends like those. However, when it’s happening, you don’t see it so clearly. Being in the middle of a storm can obscure your vision and cloud your judgment, causing you to feel things that are entirely out of your character. And one of those feelings is jealousy.

Being a target of relentless bullying is a lonely existence. The target not only becomes secretly desperate to have friends, but he also grows to hate anyone who does have them. I can testify to this because I’d watch the girls who were lucky enough to be surrounded by friends when I was a target. I’d watch them laugh and notice the bright smiles and their auras brimming with confidence- and I’d feel white-hot rage brewing- stirring inside me.

I could feel my eyes blaze and shoot daggers of fire at those happy girls. I never showed it, but I hated them with the fierceness of a hurricane! It was one of the reasons why I’d often instigate fights and sow discord between other classmates.

I realize now that it was terrible for me to feel that way. I was certainly wrong for feeling the way I did. However, when you’re a kid, you don’t understand why life is one way for some and not others.

And when life seems to be so bad that you want to look up and either cry out to or angrily lash out at God for allowing such an unfair injustice- for not only allowing you to starve but for seemingly forcing you to watch everyone else enjoy a five-course feast. At the same time, you go without, that’s when you know your attitude needs an overhaul!

When you’re a kid, you don’t understand why some have it better than others. You don’t know why some can and some can’t. And you wrack your brain, trying to figure out what the secret ingredients are.

But now that I know what the secret ingredients are, I realize that it never was anything I would’ve wanted in the first place. It wouldn’t have been worth it. They wouldn’t have been worth it.

To have to put on an act to be accepted by everyone?

To have to keep up appearances to be popular?

To be totally dependent on the approval of others?

To let other people’s opinions and the number of friends be the definition of who I am?

To have to be someone I’m not and micromanage every move I make and everything I say to keep from accidentally letting the real me slip out and risk displeasing people around me?

To have to cover one lie with a new one?

To be always afraid of people finding out who I really am?

To have my peace, happiness, and freedoms depend on the permission of others?

bullyingbeingfake

No thanks! They can have all the friends they want through all the fakery they want. That’s too much work, and I’m too lazy. If people don’t like the real me, they can hit the bricks. I don’t need them around.

I look back and realize that the vast majority of my classmates lived solely for their friends and the approval of others. They didn’t know what they wanted. Even worse, they didn’t know who they were! Sadly, as adults, they still don’t.

Even today, they’re slaves to the approval of others- tools- followers, sheep.

Me? I refuse to live that way. And I don’t live for them. I’m not out to win a popularity contest. I only want to be and do what makes me happy and live a drama-free life and in comfort. No more, no less.

Other than God, myself, and my family, I don’t live for anyone else, and I couldn’t care less about their approval.

dreamstime_xs_87908515

I know who I am, and I live for much better things!

When I look back to all those years ago, I realize that there was nothing to be envious of. In fact, I was much better off than any of them. I was the luckier one. I didn’t have to jump through hoops and bend over backward for them. Although it was hard and I paid a heavy price for it, I lived for me, and I’m so glad I did.

If you’re a target of bullying and you ever find yourself jealous of your bullies and everyone else who has all these friends around them, I urge you to consider all the personal sacrifices they’re making to have those friends. What do they have to give up?

Is having to stuff down and bury your true nature a way you want to live? Having others dictate to you what you should be?

I hope not.

#be-yourself, #blessings-in-disguise, #bullying, #envy, #epiphany, #freedom, #injustice, #jealousy, #resentment

When I Stopped Caring What People Thought

When I stopped caring what others thought of me, I stopped apologizing for being me. Instead of judging myself, I began loving and accepting myself- all aspects, the good and the not-so-good. I started living up to my own standards and experiencing life on my terms.

When I stopped worrying needlessly about what people thought, I set myself free from the chains of fear and anxiety and was no longer a slave to others’ opinions and approval. I no longer felt the need to walk on eggshells and hide my natural humanness. I stopped feeling like I wasn’t good enough and comparing myself to others. I no longer allowed anyone else to dictate what I should say, do, think, or feel.

I began permitting myself to make mistakes because we all make them whether or not some of us admit it. Even better, I started learning from those mistakes and seeing them as life lessons, rather than defects or screw-ups. I finally accepted that I’m not and never will be perfect. Who is?

Silhouettes of hands are breaking the chain—freedom concept.

I learned that like, and dislike is subjective, never personal. I accepted that not everybody was going to like me and was not only okay with it but embraced it! Because if you don’t have people who don’t like you, you’re not doing something right- in one area or another, you’re not your true, authentic self.

I permitted myself to follow my heart, sing, dance, speak my piece, and yes! Even be a little weird. In all this, I took back control of my life and found freedom I’d never known.

The day I stopped caring what people think was the day I got my life back, and slowly but surely, my bullies began to disappear. I began to feel beautiful, smart, and, best of all, equal.

Positive things started coming my way magically and seemingly without effort. I began attracting the right people into my life- genuine people who were loving, caring, uplifting, and inspiring. Existing relationships drastically improved. An abundance of opportunities and blessings flowed into my life. I began seeing wins and successes that were very rewarding and fulfilling, which only encouraged me to stretch my imagination, take more risks, and try new things.

Today, I look back and ask myself why. Why did I even give a crap what my bullies and others- people who meant absolutely jack to me and could do nothing for me, thought of me?

They weren’t my family or friends.
They didn’t pay my bills.
They didn’t sign my paycheck every week.
They didn’t hold my life in their hands.
And they most certainly weren’t people I cared anything about.

I wasted a lot of time and energy, which I can never get back, worrying needlessly about what people thought of me. The truth of it is that most of those people nor their opinions were never even worth my consideration.

The only opinions that matter are those of my God, my family, my husband, and my closest and most trusted friends. And the only things that matter are my faith in God, my dreams, my morals, taking care of the people I love, my ability to be the best me I can be, and my desire to extend kindness and reach out and help those who need me. Anyone or anything outside of that is irrelevant.

#confidence, #peace-of-mind, #security, #self-belief, #self-care, #self-esteem, #self-love, #sense-of-self

Drawing Your Enemies Out in the Open

We think we know all the people in our lives, especially those closest to us, but many are not who they make us think they are. In life, there will be fakers and imposters, people who will infiltrate your inner circle and pretend to be your friends. These people will seem to latch onto you like a tick to a dog. Then, they can figure out everything about you- your soft spots, intentions, the most intimate details of your life, goals, and dreams. Then these people will work behind the scenes to sabotage and crush you.

But what if I told you that there is a clever way to draw all those rogues out? Even scarier, what if I told you that it won’t be an easy thing to do?

In fact, it just might be the hardest thing to do because it requires unshakeable confidence and self-belief.

What do I mean by this? Here it is:

Sometimes, you must play the loser and appear weak to make the people around you feel safe. Only then can you draw them out and trick them into removing their fake husks. This is what you do anytime you have any shred of doubt about a person or persons.

You must realize that when people feel untouchable, they become brazen, and that is when you see their true nature. And to make them feel untouchable, you must give them the impression that they’ve already won.

I won’t kid you. This will be hard to do because it will feel like a huge blow to your pride. You’ll be ridiculed, people will gloat, and it won’t feel good at all. In fact, it’ll feel terrible, even humiliating at times.

This is something most people wouldn’t dream of doing because, as I just mentioned, it’s downright terrifying. Nobody wants to know of any possibility that a long-trusted friend could turn out to be a snake. I get that.

It feels so much better (and safer) to live in denial and act as if everything is peachy king. Also, no one wants to look weak. It feels better to appear strong even if you’re not.

It’s a blow to the ego when we’re defeated, and– even when we aren’t defeated but appear that way to the rest of the world. But trust me, it is only, ONLY, when you’re at your lowest you find out who’s really in your corner, and, more importantly, was all along.

If you can give the illusion that you’ve been knocked on your tookus, you’ll be surprised at the snakes who shed their skins and reveal themselves, and some will more than likely be people you’d never expect. Very few people realize who their enemies are until the fit hits the shan.

Any time you appear to be at your weakest and lowest, not only will your secret enemies reveal themselves, they’ll also be more emboldened to act against you. And when they do, they’ll do it openly! And the reason these people will be so open with their dirt is because they’ll mistake you for being powerless to fight back.

But realize that this is the only way for you to clear the dead weight and human clutter from your life. And you do it by unmasking it first. After all, you must know who to get rid of before you can do this successfully, and if done right, you can ensure your safety and peace of mind.

You can remove any obstacles to your progress and more easily achieve your goals. More importantly, you can ensure a better future for yourself.

So, in closing, any time you have doubts about a friend or two, do something to make yourself appear weak or down and out. Then see how they respond and what they do.

It might not feel good at the time, but you’ll thank yourself later. Even better, you’ll thank all the fakers for walking into your well-laid trap and showing you what lowlifes, they really are. And you’ll smile and hold your head high as you walk away and discard them into the trash heap of the many scumbags who underestimated you.

#betrayal, #bullying, #fake-friends, #frenemies, #imposters, #know-who-your-friends-are, #know-your-enemies

Targets of Bullying and Social Anxiety

After being bullied for so long, targets can develop social anxiety. They withdraw from people because they fear future attacks. The target’s spirit has been beaten down and broken and the person has been abused to the point of losing faith in humanity. Also, they’re reprogrammed to believe the bullies’ lies that they aren’t worthy of love and friendship. They are under the presumption that it’s much safer not to engage in any social interaction.

But what the target doesn’t realize is that in closing himself off from the rest of the world, he unknowingly limits himself in all aspects of life.

Humans were created to socialize and to have relationships. When targets create this invisible fortress around them, it doesn’t ensure their safety but only brings about more bullying. Bullies get their power from our fear. They are like ferocious animals who can smell fear from a mile away and believe me. They take full advantage.

Moreover, targets miss out on relationships that, otherwise, could be and would be fulfilling and rewarding. They unwittingly forego opportunities for friendship, dating, even good jobs that can produce personal success and financial well-being. Because if a person doesn’t believe in themselves, no one else will- that includes potential friends, dates, and company managers and supervisors. No one wants to be friends with, date, or hire someone who isn’t sure of himself unless they have low self-esteem themselves.

People recognize, if only subconsciously, social anxiety when they see it and not only through the more obvious signs, such as quietness, avoidance, trembling, blushing, stuttering or sweaty palms.

Social anxiety can also be more covert, showing itself in less obvious ways:

  1. Excessive laughing and giggling
  2. Appearing normal on the outside but nervous and shaky on the inside
  3. Excessive humor and being overly funny or no sense of humor at all
  4. Excessive sarcasm/having a smart-alicky attitude
  5. Being overly friendly/too nice
  6. Shutting down/freezing up- unable to talk or move
  7. Meanness/rudeness
  8. Fidgeting/can’t sit still
  9. Lack of or too much eye contact
  10. Poor posture/looking down all the time
  11. Having a hard time keeping up with a conversation
  12. Talking too loudly, too fast, too soft, too slow, or not at all
  13. Indifference
  14. Excessive use of foul language
  15. Promiscuity/raciness
  16. Wearing attire that is provocative or super-revealing
  17. A style that is “perceived” as separatist or out of the ordinary (goth, punk-rock, etc.)

The difficult thing is that those covert signs don’t always mean that the person has social anxiety. Many people just have their own sense of style or they may be naturally introverted. They may also have a boisterous personality. If you do not know the person or aren’t close to them, it’s hard to tell.

But one thing that is noticeable is if the person never exhibited this kind of behavior or look before and suddenly, or within a short amount of time transitions into it. And these kinds of changes can only be noticeable to those who are close to the person or have been around the person for years.

Therefore, if you know a person who is showing these signs, instead of pointing a finger and judging them cruelly, ask questions and find out why. You may not realize that person could be a target of bullying or another form of abuse.

And if you are a target of bullying and struggling with social anxiety, I want you to know that you don’t have to live in that invisible prison forever. Bullies do not deserve value and you shouldn’t place any worth to their opinions of you. Understand that you are enough and that your bullies haven’t earned your respect nor your attention.

Only value the opinions or thoughts of the people who love you and whose opinions deserve your consideration, attention, and acknowledgement.

Start loving yourself and practicing self-care. Relax and be yourself. Embrace your flaws and quirks because we all have them whether we admit it or not. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. I promise you that you’ll be much happier and have more peace of mind when you do.

#abuse, #bullying, #mental-health, #social-anxiety, #targets-of-bullying, #trauma