Today is anti-bullying day. I'm glad there is a name for it, not to mention a special day to acknowledge it.
When I was growing up in the 80's there wasn't a name for this type of treatment by other kids. It was usually the norm to ask the victim, "What did you do to invoke it?"
At least, that's been my experience.
When I started grade nine at Sheldon Williams Collegiate, I was a healthy, happy, well adjusted student. I had loved elementary school and couldn't wait to get involved in all the activities the school offered.
I really put myself out there too. I got involved in the drama club, fashion show, student rep council, track and field, vollyball, basketball, school newspaper (just to name a few).
I had a good friend (or so I thought) whose older sister would drive us to school every so often. Let's call her Anne. It made it a lot easier to have someone there I knew at the school; as I had chosen a school that not a lot of my elementary school friends had.
However, one day, as we were heading to Anne's sister's car, she turned to me and said "Do you have to ride with us every time my sister offers? You know she is only being nice, and doesn't really want you to actually come with us"
I thought she was joking and laughed a bit, but she didn't laugh. I looked at her and said, "Wait, you don't want me to come with you guys?"
She raised her eyebrow and smirked. "God, take a hint".
Her sister walked up at that moment and said "Let's go", and put her arm around me, and we all climbed in to the car.
When I got out, I thanked Anne's sister for the ride. But it was Anne who replied, "Don't mention it".
It was the beginning of something horrible.
Anne began to say rude remarks to me as she walked by me in the halls.
"Nice outfit" (laughing).
"You really think people like you?"
"You are so ugly you make me sick"
Things of that nature.
At first, I thought I could ignore her. It confused me why she would suddenly start lashing out at me like that. What had I done?
I told my mom. She told me to ignore her too. I tried. I really tried.
But then she made friends faster than I did. I was a bit shy, and Anne was extremely outgoing.
She started rumours about me. She told lies, and encouraged other girls, who I didn't know to join in on taunting me.
Soon there were other girls in the halls who would say things to me, while Anne would look on. She would laugh as I tried desperately to pretend like I didn't hear them.
I continued on with all my activities at the school, but little by little, their voices got in my head.
"You're a loser"
"You're a dog"
"You're a slut"
"You're a bitch"
I made a friend amidst all of the bullying. Her name was Marianna. Marianna became my closest friend.
She would ask me why I put up with it. Why didn't I fight back?
I had asked myself that a thousand times. Why didn't I? I thought if I didn't say anything back, that they would see the error of their ways. They would see that I was a nice person, a caring person. I was someone who desperately wanted to be friends with everyone.
But it wasn't meant to be.
I would wake up in sweats at night, dreaming of the bullying. I would feel sick at the thought of walking down the hallway and having them yell at me, taunt me, make fun of me.
I kept asking "Why me?"
At the end of grade nine, I had been given an award at the end of the school year for being involved in the most activities in the school.
By the start of my grade ten year, I had given up on almost all of them. I tried hard to stay involved, but was so afriad one of the girls who was a part of Anne's group would be involved too.
They would seek me out. I would sit at the back of the classroom to get away from Anne and her friends. But Anne would enter the classroom looking for me, and motion to her friends to sit near me.
"Let's all go sit beside our very favourite friend, Kelley", she would say and laugh.
Then she would stare me down until I would look away. I wanted to disappear.
I never wanted to kill myself because of the bullying, but I was having a nervous breakdown.
By the end of grade ten, my friend Marianna convinced me to transfer schools with her to Campbell Collegiate.
I was relunctant. Wouldn't that mean I was running away from these girls?
"So what?" Marianna asked me one day. "Who the hell cares? We deserve to have a better high school life than this."
And after some soul searching, I finally agreed.
However, one month before the end of grade ten, I was walking down the hallway when I saw Anne head to her locker. I decided two years had been long enough to endure her bullying. I walked up to her, grabbed her by her shoulders and shoved her against her locker.
"This thing you have been doing to me for the past two years is crap. I don't want you to ever do this again to me or anyone for that matter."
I pushed her again against the locker.
"In case you haven't noticed, I am a foot taller than you. I could have beat you to a pulp a long time ago, but didn't. If you EVER say another word about me or to me, I will do it. Don't think I won't anymore. I will find you alone without all your friends, and I will beat you to a pulp. Are we clear?"
She swallowed hard. Tears were brimming in her eyes. She was scared.
And she had every right to be. I was actually at the end of my rope.
A group of girls had formed around us by that point, and I released my grip.
She finally understood. But the rest of the onlookers thought I was the bully and began yelling at me to stop picking on her.
It didn't matter. My message had been received and I had finally stood up for myself. Do I condone violence? Absolutely not. Does anything ever get resolved from violence? Nope. But the threat of it, certainly did.
I found her later in the bathroom sobbing. She apologized profusely to me.
And for the rest of the month, no one said one word to me. It was silence (which to me was at least better than the taunts and whispers).
My last two years of high school at Campbell were ok. I wasn't bullied, and I didn't have any issues, but the damage of the prior two years had been done.
I wasn't involved in any extra curricular activities, and my mistrust of girls kept me from making a lot of new friends (albeit a couple).
It took years of therapy to work through my issues with girls (and into my 20's with women).
I founded a company later on in life called "Enterprising Moms Network" which spanned across Canada, helping empowering women who wanted to go in to business for themselves, and at its height, had over 1,000 members strong. I had chosen to use my past to empower and help women. I was no longer a victim.
I had to forgive Anne and all of her friends for doing what they did to me a long time ago.
It was the only way I could move on. The scars are still there though. Every once in awhile there is an issue with a woman (or women) and it takes me back to that very time. I can't forget it entirely.
But it's defined the type of person I am today. I am strong, I am vocal, and I am never afraid to put my opinion out there. And I am never afraid of anything that is a challenge in life.
Now, I have my own daughter to raise. I want to teach her tolerance, understanding, but most of all, to be strong. To speak out in defense of others she may see being bullied, or if she, herself, is exposed to it.
Bullying is real. It is damaging, and for some who endure it, it can claim their life.
Today is an important day. I stand today amongst many others who have endured bullying and survived to share their story with others, in hopes that it will help someone out there, someone who might be struggling, someone who might need to know that there is something that can be done. And there are resources now to help - waiting to make things better for you.
If you are a bully, stop the torture now. Don't put someone down, so that you may feel better about yourself. There is nothing funny about bullying. It hurts and is something that you cannot take back - ever.
Do you have a similar story? What's been your experience with bullying? Email me at: Kelley2000@hotmail.com. I'd love to hear from you!
In my fifteen years as a journalist (five of those writing as an opinion columnist about being a stay at home mom), I have never come across something as horrible or tragic as the story about Lisa Batstone.
She is currently facing a second-degree murder charge of her 8-year-old daughter, Teagan.
She was a stay at home mom, who in recent years, returned to work in the educational field - and lived in my community. It has been written repeatedly that she was "good with children" and "she was a good mom".
I am struggling very hard to understand how this can be written about a woman who is currently facing a second-degree murder charge of her own daughter.
I wrote a letter to the editor of the Peace Arch News, which printed the headline "She was a good mom" and ran it on the front of their newspaper.
The editor wrote me back advising that they would not publish my letter.
And that "the community would understand the context of the article, and decide for themselves".
The full article can be read here:
I told him that I respectfully disagree.
I don't believe for one moment that my words cannot be read, nor should they be held back. The newspaper opened the door for criticism when they printed that as their headline.
So with that said - below is my letter - not to the editor - but to my readers. I leave it up to you to decide how you feel about it.
Lisa Batstone was not a good mom.
In recent articles it has been said that she had attempted suicide at least once and was believed by others that she suffered from mental illness before being charged with second-degree murder of her daughter in December.
There were also incidents that her ex-husband, Gabe Batstone said, should have been questioned regarding parental custody in their divorce.
Her swings from elation to depression were erratic, intense and out of control for three months prior to her crime, according to CBC.
This one horrific, unspeakable act was the end to a tragic life lived with a woman who was not in her right mind.
This is the exact opposite of a good mom.
If Teagan was infact, being raised by someone who experienced such highs and lows, who suffered from such depression; she was impacted negatively every single day of her young life.
If Lisa Batstone did do this, imagine how confused, how scared and sad this little girl was, at the realization that she was dying at the hands of the woman who was to protect her.
Don't sugar coat what happened here.
Lisa Batstone may look like a normal, caring, happy woman in the Facebook photos of her and her daughter that are cropping up everywhere, however, behind these photos is a woman who was extremely disturbed.
We do not know what went on behind closed doors.
For Lisa Batstone's father, Barry Hamilton to say that he loves her unconditionally and blew kisses to her during her court appearance, makes me uneasy.
How can you forgive someone and stand by them when they are charged with murdering your grandchild? Doesn't there have to be a line that a person crosses that severs ties, no matter what the relation?
As someone who wrote for years in this community about motherhood, and has a daughter the same age as Teagan, I can not let those words be what describes a woman who is charged with taking her own daughter's life.
I used to receive emails from many single moms who lived tough lives raising their children on their own. Mothers who worked long hours, sacrificed their own lives for the good of their children. These are the good moms. These are the ones who deserve to be recognized and praised.
Not Lisa Batstone. Now not - not ever.
Thoughts/Insight/Response? Email me at: Kelley2000@hotmail.com
Today is my 42nd birthday. And I'm quite happy about it.
Now I know not a lot of people are happy about getting older, but I happen to wear my age as a badge of honour.
I've accomplished a great deal in my life, thus far. And I'm pretty proud of that. I'm also proud to be a mom, who is exceptionally proud of her kids - and who they are becoming through each passing year.
I really think that birthdays are a time to reflect, a time to look back at what you have accomplished - and a time to look forward on what you have yet to do.
Instead of pretending we are an age we are not, I think we should be shouting it from the roof tops. I don't want to mask my age with Botox or some god-forbidden surgery. I like who I am, what I look like - and living life the way I choose.
I take 42 with great happiness, and look at it as a marker, of what was, what is, and what is yet to be.
It's time to celebrate. :)
So the kids couldn’t wait to visit Papa Murphy’s Pizza in South Surrey this past week.
Although we had not tried their pizza before – my kids consider themselves “aficionados” when it comes to pizza, so they were raring to go, to try it out.
The concept of Papa Murphy’s pizza is simple: design it anyway you like, and then you take it home and bake it for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. It’s direct form the oven to your table.
I like the idea because it’s hot from the oven, and you get to watch it being created (a bonus for the kids)....
When we arrived, it was evident this was a place that was run impeccably well.
It was immaculate, and the owners, Ray Levasseur and his wife Roma, have made it that way on purpose.
They were behind the counter when we arrived and greeted us warmly.
They explained how the process works, and helped our kids find the right pizza for them.
The kids opted for the “Mini Murph” Pepperoni and “Mini Murph” Cheese pizza kits.
Why they liked this option best was because they could create their own pizza at home with the kit.
For adults, you first choose a size (Medium, Large or Family), then choose a crust (Original, thin or stuffed), then sauce (traditional, creamy garlic, olive oil or herb tomato) and then add your toppings.
My husband and I chose the Gourmet Chicken Garlic Pizza. It included grilled chicken, diced tomatoes, and green onions in creamy garlic sauce with herb and cheese blend.
As we watched them put together our gourmet pizza, we were told that all their vegetables are prepared fresh each morning, along with their grated cheese and dough made from scratch, daily.
We also chose a dessert (I couldn’t resist!) – Chocolate chip cookie dough to take with us and bake at home as well!
The kids couldn’t wait to get home and put their kits together. After baking the kits, I have to admit, I couldn’t wait to put our own in the oven. Our kitchen smelled delicious!
And what did the kids think of Papa Murphy’s Pizza? It was love at first bite. And we really enjoyed our Chicken Garlic pizza too. Simply fantastic. The cookies were a great way to end the meal too – freshly baked in minutes.
So now it’s your turn!
Readers of The Stay at Home Mother website are invited to try their own Papa Murphy’s Pizza in South Surrey for FREE!
For the first 10 readers who “LIKE” Papa Murphy’s Canada Facebook Page, can receive ONE FREE large signature or gourmet pizza.
Their Facebook page can be found here:
Then head down to 15355 - 24th Avenue, Surrey, BC to receive ONE FREE large signature or gourmet pizza (one per person) which cannot be combined with any other promotion.
All you have to do is show them on your Smart Phone that you liked their Facebook page!
It’s that simple! Then enjoy your fresh, large Papa Murphy’s Pizza for FREE tonight!
For those of you who are a bit slow on the draw, who aren’t the first 10 down there, will be eligible for $2.00 off any menu priced pizza.
So what are you waiting for? Just hit “LIKE” and get going to Papa Murphy’s today - and enjoy your own hot and delicious pizza tonight!
We have organized an evening for Jamie McDonald, who is from the UK, and ran across Canada raising money for the Children's Hospitals in each province.
He finished his run in Vancouver this week.
Please join Jamie on Friday, February 7th at the TC Lions Head Pub in Vancouver, located on 888 West Cordova Street from 5pm onwards for a few celebratory drinks. :)
Afterwards, Jamie will be hitting the Roxy for more fun and dancing! There will be NO COVER and NO WAIT for anyone who advises at the door that you are with the Jamie McDonald party. You just need to get there before 10pm.
No need to RSVP, just come on down and join Jamie, and help toast his incredible accomplishment!
For more info on Jamie McDonald, or to donate, please visit his website at www.JamieMcDonald.org.