Friday 22 October 2010

Friday thoughts . . .

There has been a lot on the news lately about young people who, having been bullied mercilessly by their school mates, have taken their own lives . . . it's all so very sad and it breaks my heart.
It takes me back to my own younger teenage years and the abuse I suffered at the hands of school mates and I remember just how very lost and alone I felt.

When I was thirteen my parents bought a house in a small town in Nova Scotia. My father was in the airforce and we had always lived in the married quarters, but my mother had gone back to work and they felt that they were in the position to buy their own home . . . and so we moved into this small house on the edge of this small town.

It was a beautiful little town, filled with old Victorian homes and quaint little shops. The highschool there was very large and had children bussed in from all over the county. I can remember being very excited at the prospect of going to a new school. I was a somewhat shy girl, but friendly all the same and I really looked forward to making some new friends.

At first I made quite a few friends . . . some girls that I went to church with and other's. It seemed that life in this town was going to be very good. Then one Friday night my parents let me attend a dance at the high school. At the end of the evening, a boy that I had a huge crush on wanted to walk me home, along with my friend and her boyfriend. I had never had a boyfriend, and in fact I was not allowed to have a boyfriend until I turned 16, which was a long way off, but I didn't think that it could do any harm for this lad to walk me home.

I drew the line at holding his hand though. It was something I had never done and I knew that my parents would be watching out for me and I didn't want them to think that I was having a boyfriend before I was allowed to have one . . . my parents were quite strict and I knew that if they thought I was going against their wishes that would be the last dance I'd ever be allowed to go to for a very long time!

And so, I wouldn't hold this boys hand, and of course a kiss goodnight was completely out of the question!

That was all it took. A simple innocent walk home with a young lad . . . the rumour went around the school that I was a Lesbian. Simply because I had not wanted to hold this lad's hand or kiss him goodnight.

I didn't even know what a lesbian was . . . but I knew that I didn't want to be one, not if it caused people to call you names and treat you like a pariah. All of a sudden girls didn't want to be my friend at all . . . and boys, well . . . they would stand around in the classroom in between classes and during break times and taunt me, call me names, laugh at me, torment me . . .

We only lived in that house in that town for two years . . . but . . . they were the longest two years of my life. Two years where I felt completely isolated . . . lonely . . . depressed and miserable . . . worthless . . . I wanted to die, but thankfully, just as I hadn't known what a Lesbian was, the idea of killing myself was also something I had no knowledge of either . . . I just knew that I was very unhappy with my life and I wished that I could go to sleep and never wake up again . . . ever.

It got so bad at one point that I literally made myself physically ill and was home from school for several weeks. I didn't mind . . . at least at home nobody called me names, or had crab races around my desk, or taunted and laughed at me . . .

Thankfully at the end of those two years we moved and I was able to start over again in another school . . . the scars were there though and they ran deep. Although I was not teased or tormented in the new school . . . there was something in me that always felt like a pretender . . . and I was always afraid that one day the new kids would discover that and the taunting would begin all over again . . .

Nobody should have to feel like that. It's just plain wrong. There was another girl in that school in my grade who had odd teeth . . . and she had to endure years of being called White Fang, which must have been equally as horrible for her. Something is very wrong with a society, or a school where innocent people should have to endure such torture, quite simply because they are different . . . because they have odd teeth, or walk differently, perhaps have red hair or freckles . . . or because of their sexual orientation. Some kids are stronger, and able to rise above it and handle it . . . but so very many aren't . . .

As adults . . . teachers, neighbours, parents etc. we have a responsibility to the young people of our communities. We must send them the message that bullying of any kind and for any reason is not acceptable, that it is wrong and that it won't be tolerated, not in the least . . . . We must also send them the message that if it is going on, that the perpetrators will be punished and that the victims will be protected. We must teach our young people that they are loved for whomever they are . . . and that is . . . a child of God, our Heavenly Father who loves them so very much, irregardless of their colour, or their disabilities, their faith, or their sexual orientation etc. That they have worth in His eyes, and in our eyes.

We are not all the same. We are each of us a unique individual, and precious in His sight, valuable beyond measure. I don't know how this can be accomplished, I really don't . . . but we need to be aware and we need to act quickly and with solidarity when we see any type of bullying going on whatsoever. We need to let young people know that they are not alone and that we are there for them no matter what, and that we won't judge them either. That we are there to help them unconditionally . . . with love and compassion . . . that all human beings have worth, no matter who or what they are. That bullies never win . . .

What would Jesus do . . . . I think we all know the answer to that one. I hope and pray that nobody else feels that they have to die needlessly . . . simply for being who they are. That is the saddest thing of all.

Just my thoughts this morning . . .

I made us a delicious curry the other evening. Curry is something that people either love or hate. This one is quite different. It's a bit spicy without being overwhelming. We really liked it! I got the recipe from a Junior League cookbook, so you just know it's going to be fabulous! Those books always have the best recipes in them!

*Coconut Chicken*
Serves 5 to 6
Printable Recipe

Nice and spicy. Goes well with rice or couscous!

1 TBS olive oil
5 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into chunks
1 cooking onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 red peppers, seeded, trimmed and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 heaped tsp of curry powder
1 heaped tsp of soft light brown sugar
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
pinch of cloves
1/2 of a 410g tin of chopped tomatoes (1 cup)
250ml of coconut cream (1 cup)
250ml of chicken broth (1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet with a lid. Add the onions, peppers, carrot, chicken, curry powder, ginger, and sugar. Cook and stir for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the tomatoes, coconut cream, chicken broth, garlic, cloves and sweet potato. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes or so until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Stir occasionally. Serve hot and spooned over coucous or rice.

And in The English Kitchen today, French Fridays with Dorie (a delicious Hachis Parmentier) and scrummy Baby Sticky Toffee Pudding Cakes!

Have a great Friday everyone!


  1. Bullying has been on our news here a lot too. I think it shows the disrespect that seems to be growing in our society. I know it happened when I was a child too but one never heard about it causing someone to take their life. We had our families that reinforced us and loved us. So many kids don't have that support anymore. Family life has changed and it is the foundation for children. I've never had curry in my life. It is something I'll have to try just to see what it's like one of these days. I hope your Friday is a wonderful one!

  2. Hello, dear Marie! Just saw your sweet comment at my place... so glad you had a chance to stop by. :o) But sorry to hear you're still under the weather a bit... These things do take their time sometimes, don't they? When I had bronchitis earlier this summer--having it alone last two weeks, but then "recovery" was another two weeks, or so it seemed--I feel like I missed the whole of July... LOL! Hoping very much you'll be feeling better, back to yourself soon. Bully, especially bullying via Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other online media among the young has been much in the news recently here too. It is terrible what's happening. The bullies supposedly say they're having fun. Fun?! When did scaring someone to the point of suicide become fun. I just don't get it. Where are the parents, I wonder? Where is the support? Where are the real friend? I'm glad I'm not a young person today! Oh, my... can only pray on this one too, I think... Thinking of you sweet, friend. Let me know when you're feeling better, and have a gap of time, perhaps we can meet online for a chat soon?

  3. Thanks for writing this article Marie. Like you, I was into me teens when I first heard the word 'lesbian' when a note went round the school bus saying that ***** (a teacher) was one. There were peals of laughter from other kids whom I supposed to be wiser than me because I hadn't a clue! And what was this? It was another means of bullying - not the teacher, her position was inviolable - but the likes of me who were already being bullied. The peals of laughter were for us! Nobody was willing to enlighten me and, with hindsight, I think there were very few who did understand the word. And not just that word but many other 'rude' words too.

  4. Thanks MAJ. Very well said.

  5. Very well said Marie. As a former educator I can assure you teachers and administrators try to stop bullying but so many times kids hide it from us. Not only the ones being teased but also those who see it and those who do it. If my child were the bullier I would want to know - it would be a horrible reflection on what I had taught them. But many parents don't feel that way, sadly. blessings, marlene

  6. So lovely, Marie; you are such a kind person. I'm sorry to hear you had some rough years as a teenager, I have been there too and I know it can take a long time to let your guard down again and really feel secure. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you've said!! xo


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