The emotions you see are real. I did not just act out these moments, I relived them as if I was there again. It's the hardest thing I've done since my Silent Night solo, but I don't regret it. If my darkest moment lets someone see they don't have to commit suicide, then everything I've done here is worth it.
New Year, New Place: Tumblr!
I've taken my message to tumblr. I didn't want to say anything about it until I'd gotten the hang of it. I found a Chrome extension called Xkit that makes "tumblring" far easier. I have a specific string of tags for my antibullying/positivity stuff, but the most important tag is the AFBV tag. Track it if you want to get JUST my antibullying stuff(you have to have an account there!). I don't know if you can search just my blog for the AFBV tag without an account, thus all I can say is try it and see.
My tumblr blog is sort of an all-in-one. I post positive and antibullying stuff there, but I also post personal, choir and fandom related stuff. (This is due to the secondary blog feature not working; I got sick of waiting. ALSO, ETA: Xkit lets me keep tags automatically during reblogging.)
Some fandom posts MAY be a bit adult in nature, so I'll tag and warn that those posts are NSFW(Not Safe For Work). I won't reblog adult-rated pictures of any sort, but I might link to fanfiction-- my own or someone else's-- that contains adult material. Again, those will be labeled as NSFW.
My whole tumblr blog is http://butterflyinthewell.tumblr.com
I chose a butterfly theme because, like I say in the blog description, I see butterflies as a symbol of life and renewal. I'm hoping just the sight of them gives people a feeling of peace and hope.
I was a bit wary of tumblr at first. I've heard horror stories about people using the anon feature to harass and bully. I allow anon questions. You don't have to be registered to ask me something. I haven't gotten any hate yet, but if I do I'll feel greatly satisfied in deleting it. The "delete" icon is a little trash can. I'll be putting the trash where it belongs! :)
See you on tumblr!
My morning after Vlog, which only needs a link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBgU8uFIP1s
I am so proud of what I accomplished. I want this to be a message to every person who has been bullied into thinking they can't reach their dreams. YES, YOU CAN!
And yes, I'm terrified. It's something so small and only those in the choir loft, the direct and my mom(who doesn't know this is going to happen) will know what a victory it will be for me.
I'm going to sing the first few bars of Silent Night as a solo at Midnight Mass on Christmas eve. John(choir director) and I talked about it and hopefully things will work out for that to happen. I told him about it being my dream to sing it as a solo. He said he understands, but it's also a song everybody knows and will want to join in. I told him that was fine. If I could get the first few bars out alone, that's enough for me. He said we'll practice it that way and see how it works.
If things go my way, it'll be all over in five to ten seconds. Blink and you miss it. Still, for me, it's a HUGE deal.
John wants to encourage me to try things. He hinted that he can find music with solos or descants that work for a voice like mine. I told him I want to do solo and quartet stuff, but my head is so screwed up by what was done to me in high school that it'll take a lot of work to unscrew it. I told him if I'm allowed to learn my parts solidly and take small steps at a time, I'll be able to do it. He indicated he's willing to work with me. I'm willing to be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day, after all.
The audition where my high school choir teacher set me up to fail happened in a very, very, very hostile place full of people who wanted to see me crash and burn. They got what they wanted. I might have been trying out for a solo in a caldera full of volcanic fumes with the same results. The toxicity of my surroundings were the same.
But here, now, I'm surrounded by people who are supporting my desire to succeed. My choir knows what happened to me and I know they'll be silently cheering me on. It makes a huge difference!
A two bar solo is a baby step in the right direction for me. I won't be doing this just for myself. It's going to be for every bullied person out there who was frightened into hiding their talent.
On Christmas eve, I will stand up to the fear that's been my bully for almost two decades, look it in the eyes and let it know it won't win.
This fear is still a mountain to me. However, instead of walking away from it this time, I'm going to put my foot on the first craggy step at the bottom and start climbing. Courage is not an absence of fear. Courage is being afraid and doing something anyway.
I'm going to have my camera with me on Christmas eve. I'll be sure to record that first step and share the results here. ;)
I will rise above my pain.
I will charge through my own fear.
I will overcome this challenge.
I will succeed.
It never fails that technical issues resolve immediately after I say I might move. I'd even started rebuilding the whole site somewhere else, but I came back here to give it one more try and BAM, it worked! Hey, that's a good thing!
I'm still cautious. From now on, use this URL to access the AFBV website: http://tiny.cc/afbv
It's a URL shortener that lets me edit the target website address. You won't have to edit your bookmarks if I do wind up moving.
NOW! On to the videos. The first is a choir video was taken during a huge Christmas concert. I dedicate it to anyone being bullied right now. The second is a little antibullying message aimed at the younger kids with some Christmas fun mixed in. (Sorry about my rambling. Speech is not my strong suit, writing is!)
Look under the little "read more" link on the right hand side of this entry to find them. (I have no idea why it goes all the way over there!)
Technical issues and a piece of Doctor Who fanfiction with an antibullying theme.
I apologize for the lack of updates here. I have to use another browser than my usual due to this website mysteriously creating error messages any time I want to update if I try through my usual browser. I may move to a new host because the "help" here has basically said they can't recreate the problem in order to fix it. Go figure. I have not abandoned this website, but the technical issues make updates extremely difficult. If I move, I'll make sure the new location is visible on the front page.
That said, I recently wrote a piece of Doctor Who fanfiction. Yes, I love that show in all its scifi hilarity and seriousness. This story carries a very heavy antibullying theme with a little surprise in it. :)
TITLE: It Gets Better
FANDOM: Doctor Who
SUMMARY: The 11th Doctor stops a bullied teen from committing suicide.
NOTES: This fic is a self insert because I'm not going to pretend it isn't, and it's a semi-autobiographical account of surviving bullying. The incidents I describe did actually happen to me(sans the Doctor, of course!). Names, occasional times of day and places are changed to preserve privacy, and for clarity's sake I gave made-up names to people whose names I forgot.
I've long since forgiven the people who did these things, but it took me almost two decades to reach that point.
This fic is dedicated to anyone who has been or is being bullied right now. I'm thirty three years old, and I almost committed suicide because of severe bullying back in the 1990's. "Bullycide" is not a new thing, but it is worse because of the internet. And if people are going to use the internet to hurt, then I'm going to use it to heal!
I hope this story reaches out to anyone thinking of suicide or self harm. I've been there, and I want you to realize you're not alone. It gets better, so hold on. You're going to make it through this. I care about you because YOU MATTER!
Deviantart: http://fav.me/d6xvad4 (In two parts due to text limits, part two of it is linked at the bottom of part one.)
The woman who dressed up as a victim of the Boston Marathon Bombing is paying for her mistake.
She claims she was portraying a survivor of the attack, but that isn't what the general public saw. Even I thought it was as tasteless a costume as the teenaged trick or treater who came to my house dressed as a terrorist in 2001. (I didn't say anything, I handed him his candy and politely told him to have a nice night. I figured he wanted his costume to make people angry and I refused to fall for it.)
I won't say the woman's name here, as it's already in the article, but this is one case where she incited the ire of the public by making a foolish mistake. People have located a lot of her personal info and she is receiving horrible things in her snail mail as well as death threats. She lost her job after this debacle found its way to her employer.
She is being cyberbullied, basically.
This goes to show how easy it is to find your personal info online, and how anything you do on the web can haunt you forever. That is why you should be careful what you share with the internet. The wrong people can do a lot with just your email address. Some people call this "doxing" someone. It's very easy to do if you know how. Sometimes all somebody needs is your email address to locate all the websites you're signed up for.
If your name is Jane Doe Smith and your email is something like email@example.com, then all someone has to do is go to a place like http://pipl.com and type in your email, and it will pull up everything tied to that email address. Facebook profiles usually come up first right there with personal websites. Someone can get your last name off your Facebook(another reason my real surname isn't on my Facebook!) and if your personal website is registered to a domain you pay for, they can find your info by running a whois search on your domain. It is incredible what people can dig up on you.
I hope this gives you a good dose of paranoia. Cyberbullies use this info to torment and harass their targets.
More on "doxing" here.
I will not say this woman deserves what she is getting. I'm sure she thought her costume was great and that people were going to understand the meaning behind it, however she was wrong and she brought this onto herself by not thinking her costume through. Her life is going to be a nightmare for a long time. I feel bad that she has to learn how cruel the internet can be the hard way.
Learning to love what you have...
After high school, I was basically pushed into taking some college courses. It ended up not working out and it was a sad waste of money and time. (I was supposed to have help with my math coursework and it never materialized, and they basically kicked me out when I failed the two "required" math courses! Yeah, thanks for nothing! :P I'm over it now.)
One of the classes I tried and did all right in was a voice class. A very small group of perhaps fifteen students.
I have a very unusual soprano voice. It's not loud. I've never been able to project it much, and I tried everything. I remember the professor in that class always hounding me to "sing louder!" But when I did, my voice quality went down the tubes. The break between my chest voice and head voice(ie the voice you speak with vs the "girly" voice you might slip into to talk to a baby or a pet) was still a pretty big gap when I was 18. I've since gained better control of that gap, but that is beside the point.
The dynamic range for volume goes from triple piano(as quiet as you can sing) to triple forte(the loudest you can sing.) I think my triple forte is somewhere around the forte range. Loud, but without a microphone I'd be drowned right out by the music around me. If I want to have an audible crescendo(growing of the sound), I have to drop my voice to triple piano and grow from there, or you won't notice it. I can get to triple forte if I sing in my chest voice, however my range is more limited.
When I joined my church choir in 2001, I showed that I can learn music pretty fast if I'm allowed to sit and listen to it over and over again. The harder and crazier the music is, the more likely I'll memorize it. Once I know a song, I'll pretty much get 99% of the notes right all the time. Once in awhile I might sing too sharp or flat or hold a note too long, but everyone does that!
The director of that choir was Hayden. I didn't think he could hear me singing at all, but I was wrong. He started calling me one of his best sopranos when he'd introduce me to people. I was intrigued and it felt GOOD to be complimented, but I asked him why he thought I was one of his best sopranos. I expected him to say that I sing the right notes when I'm supposed to, but he shocked me.
"Cyndi, you have such a unique voice. It's so light and clear. Most sopranos can't sing the notes you can sing as quietly as you and have it still sound beautiful. There are sopranos who would love to have a voice like yours. You have a true angel's voice. Don't ever change it."
That was the first time anyone ever said "angel's voice" to me, but it wasn't the last. I hear that from people who happen to be standing in front of me when I'm at a Mass where the choir isn't singing.
The thing is, there was a time when my bully-scarred self couldn't accept the compliment. I used to think my voice was broken because I couldn't sing very loud with it. Now I know it's my voice and it is beautiful in its own right. I can sing songs in ways other sopranos can't. That doesn't make me the best singer in the world. I just happen to have a voice that is unusual.
My current choir director, John, taught me and my choir a new way to look at the dynamic range. He said not to imagine singing to triple forte as getting louder, but rather to imagine the sound getting bigger like a big balloon expanding around you. He said don't push the sound, but instead to get your muscles in the right place and let the sound happen. Basically, instead of thinking I'm sitting in the roller coaster car being chugged up the hill, I should imagine myself already at the top when the magnets release, throw my arms up in the air and enjoy the ride!
I've noticed a difference in how I sing now. I don't think I sing any louder than I used to, but I feel bigger. I feel like I'm creating more sound.
A supportive environment and people encouraging you to use what you have in a way that works for YOU does wonders for a person's self-esteem! In the twelve years I've been with my church choir, I've come to really love my voice and what I can do with it.
And I am still hoping to conquer my stage fright by someday singing a solo in front of my church. To me, that will be my greatest personal achievement.
Vlog: The message is one year old!
It'll be officially one year old after midnight PST!
Hard to believe now...and I'm not sorry for doing it, either.
Somebody who really hurt and upset my mom passed away. In a way, she was kind of a bully. I won't name names, but at her death she was a very miserable person. People don't hurt people unless there's something hurting them inside. I can't imagine a decent person just deciding one day to alienate everyone they know for no reason.
I won't go into the details, but I will say it takes a LOT for my mom to end a friendship with someone, and this woman managed to do it.
I went to the funeral of that person today. Mom and I went together. It was beautiful, but her family COMPLETELY ignored her chosen recessional hymn and put in something else. This person wanted "Jesus, Remember Me" and instead the family threw in "How Great Thou Art" despite hearing many times what this woman wanted. So after the funeral, I stood by the hearse and I sang "Jesus, Remember Me" all by myself. I shut my eyes and forgave, and I stopped hearing the people around me. It was just me in the presence of God, giving the gift of my voice to say goodbye.
You know what? The anger I had lifted away. I gave it to God, and now it's gone. She is at peace and I am at peace knowing she is out of pain. It was exactly the same feeling I had when I did my cover of Linkin Park's Iridescent, and I'm so glad I did it.
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
Today is also the one year anniversary of Amanda Todd's suicide. Amanda Todd was the straw the broke the camel's back for me. She needed someone to stand up for her, to help her, to hold her and tell her she meant something. My regret is not knowing about her sooner and not creating my message sooner. Amanda Todd is the reason my message exists. Too many people use the internet to hurt people. Dammit, I'm going to use it to heal!
And that is what I set out to do.
In exactly one week, the Affirmations for Bullying Victims will celebrate its one year anniversary. I don't regret it one bit. I don't expect thanks or recognition, I want only for those in pain to find hope in my message.
Welcome to the AFBV blog!
My name is Cyndi, and I am a bullying survivor.
Notice: Comments are by approval only to cut down on automated spam.
| The reason |
| My bullying experiences |
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