August 16, 2014
“I will do everything I can to protect you. But, you’re gonna have to learn how to protect yourself. And if it doesn’t stop, you will have to decide what you want to do.”
I heard this twice in the past two weeks. The first time, my principal was talking to me, the second time, I was talking to a student.
A little over a week ago, I published what I was certain would be my last post on this blog. I had encountered a breach in security, and I was convinced I would have to go into hiding as far as the world wide web was concerned. It was so heartbreaking for me, as I have poured my soul into this blog. However, at the time, I saw no other choice, so yes, I was ready to throw in the towel. Good thing the voice in the back of my head wouldn’t leave me alone.
For the first seven days of my self-imposed exile, I toyed with the idea of created a new blog and writing under a pseudonym. In fact, I had already created the web site and had finished writing my first blog post. I just couldn’t bring myself to hit the “Publish” button.
The words of my principal kept ringing in my ears, “You’re gonna have to learn how to protect yourself.” Yeah, yeah, I know, but wouldn’t it be easier if I just started over? Of course it would be, and I was almost going to, until one of my students needed me to listen to her.
Thursday morning, Sara (not her real name), wanted to show me what she was writing in her journal. Without breaking her confidence, I can tell you that she was suffering from something similar to what I had been experiencing. My initial reaction was sadness. How some people can get such joy from others’ pain is beyond me. And then I got angry!
It was then that I heard the same words coming out of my mouth that I had heard a week earlier, “I will do everything I can to protect you. But, you’re gonna have to learn how to protect yourself. And if it doesn’t stop, you will have to decide what you want to do.” I continued, “Don’t let the bullies win. If you don’t stand up for yourself now, you will most certainly regret it later. I should know, the same thing happened to me when I was about your age.”
Well, the same thing was happening to me at that very moment, I just hadn’t realized it yet. When it did finally hit me how similar our situations were, I cringed. Who was I to be giving someone the same advice I had all but ignored? Two days earlier, I had wanted to roll over and play dead or at the very least, hide behind a fake name. Yet, I was telling Sara to stand up for herself. Where was my fighting spirit? Had I really given in to a…a…a cyber-bully?! Who was this person? And what had she done with Victoria?
Suffice it to say dear Readers, Victoria is back, I am back. And I am fighting to keep my private life private, well, as private as one can be in this day and age. I am standing up to the bullies and I won’t let them win, or at the very least, I’m going down swinging. I will keep a close eye on Sara and let you know how her situation develops. The adults in her life are wonderful and they will protect and guide her. As for me, I would like to tell you dear Readers, that I had an epiphany right there and then as I was talking to Sara. However, that was not the case. It took a bit of Divine intervention.
Friday morning, and the last thing I want to do is to sit through an assembly, plopped down in the middle of a gaggle of prepubescent boys and girls. Especially now that I am at that certain age in a woman’s life where sweat and facial hair are no longer just for the men in my life. But, sit I will, and sit I do. And the hand of God reaches down and grabs my spirit and says, “Pay attention, Vickie. You are about to be schooled.”
Yesterday’s assembly was all about how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe on social media sites and safe from cyber-bullies. Really? Really. I paid close attention.
I’m reminded of a joke I heard years ago. A man I’ll call Doc is caught in a thunderstorm that leads to flooding. The flood waters rise so high that Doc seeks refuge o top of his roof. He prays for God to help him survive. About then, a man in a rowboat happens upon Doc and asks him if he needs any help. Doc answers, “No thank you. I prayed to the Lord and He will help me out of this mess.”
Two more times a boat happens by and two more times Doc refuses any help. Unfortunately, Doc passes away and comes face to face with his Maker. Doc is beside himself as he asks God, “Lord, why didn’t You save me? Didn’t You hear my prayers?”
The Lord says, “Yes Doc, I heard your prayers. But didn’t you see the three boats I sent?”
The Lord helps those that help themselves. Peace, ~v.