Fear of relationships Pt.2

It’s been 3 years since then, I thought that by now I would have healed and I would be able to get in a relationship no problem. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. Today, I am 25, single, living on my own and still no relationship.

When I came back to Vancouver, my ex was the last one to know. My best friend and I would take pictures together, hang out and post it on social media but without the location. For a few weeks he didn’t catch on I was back. He asked me a couple times if they were old picture or if I was back and I would just ignore his messages. Eventually, I figured me and my ex needed to talk so I told him I’ve been back for weeks and he got really mad at me. I didn’t feel bad about it and I felt like I didn’t owe him anything. I didn’t have to tell him anything but I did it because I wanted to move on with my life by talking to him face to face.

When my best friend and I went to go talk to him, it made me realize that I really did make the right decision by leaving him. He was still acting like a little boy and being selfish. He didn’t see the mistakes he made and the hurtful things he has said. He believed that I was at fault. I knew at that moment I didn’t need him in my life.

A year past when I saw him next. We are working on being friends and I get to see my Nephew more often. Him giving me my space was the best thing he could do. I had to think about where I was going in my life and who was I going to be as a person- was I going to hold grudges for the rest of my life or was I going to live my life in happiness? I admit, I feel better now that I’m not holding a grudges. It doesn’t mean though that I have forgotten or forgiven what happened, it just means that I’m not going to hate him for the rest of my life.

Hating on my Ex-Fiancé and holding on to my other Ex was killing me inside. I was holding on to things that are never going to come back or be like it used to be. I had to learn to let go of someone I loved and someone I resented. I had to learn that everything happens for a reason and not everything will go my way. What happened in my past has made me stronger and wiser.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I will react if I ever see ex again. I know there’s still a part of me that breaks when I hear his name, when I hear about his family. I still wonder if he thinks of me, wonders what I’m doing with my life or even if I’m happy.

I still wonder “what if”. I still carry a picture of him with me. Sometimes I think I torture myself by doing so. I do wish him happiness. I wish him the best of luck and I hope his wife gives him everything he needs and wants. I hope he lives in a beautiful house and has a job he loves. However at the end of day, I miss him.

Another reason why I fear relationships… Many men and women have sexually abused me. All these people would blame me and makes me feel so tiny, like I was nothing! They would say that I’m fat, ugly and that I pretty much deserved it. How does someone trust anyone if everyone they trusted betrayed them? I cannot say that I trust people because I don’t entirely. However, one day i hope that i will be able to do so.

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Madison Looking Through My Eyes

This blog not going to be the same as others, because it’s going to honestly be a little of everything. You will understand in a bit, I do want to warn you that this is going to be a bit touchy and sensitive to some people because I will be talking about an experience I’ve had. Our group did an activity a little while ago that triggered my depression and got this blog on my mind since and I know if I don’t get this out I may not be able to face them. I do not blame them it for triggering me don’t get me wrong there I love everyone in our group, but it’s the thought of feeling broken even though I try not to show it that bothers me the most. It also feels like I’m being untruthful to them not sharing what’s bugging me that also nags at me. So I wanted to get it all off my chest for everyone.Today I wanted to talk about what I’ve been thinking about lately, and it’s been constently in my head. I’ve also tried writing this multiple times in the past few weeks. I wanted to talk about little bits of my past, and how it brought me into the field of work I am in now. For those that don’t know I’m a youth worker and I work with at-risk youth that are homeless. It’s very rewarding job and I love it, I’ve been able to work with some very awesome people and some amazing youth. The most amazing this about my job is watching our youth succeed. I got into the field because I have been faced with homelessness at a young age, and I remember the fear of my next step. I went to a fundraiser last night with my work to open up a second house staging for youth that have aged out of care, and it was an amazing experience. We are hoping to open that up in the next couple years.
But what got me into this field was when I ran away from home when I was younger, I went to stay at a friend’s house. His parents had passed away a couple years before that, so his older brother was taking care of the house. I also had heard he was taking in other young girls on the street who were in similar situations as me. I remember being so happy being allowed to stay there, they had always been like brothers to me and I loved them. To this day I can still remember my first night at that house, as I was laying in my room the walls echoed with the screams of the other girls. The fear that pulsed through my veins when I went to try the door and it was locked from the outside. That night was one of the worst nights of my life, as this man who I saw as a big brother took advantage of me and I learnt that was the payment to staying at his house. As time went on and thing only got worse, I started feeling helpless and isolated. As well the more I fought back the more I got beaten down both verbally and physically.

So when I started working in this field my main goal was to never have another youth go through the same toutures I went through. I also got into this field to show the youth that they have support, someone who will help and listen to and that won’t throw them away after. My love for my work helps drives my passion to help the ones I need. Youth homelessness is something close to my heart and something I really feel strongly about. Growing up I was always told that the youth are our future, so why are we denying them the most basic needs and resources. That to me is one of the most frustrating things is trying to help a youth get towards a goal, then tell them that they are on a waiting list due to an overabundance of others trying to access the same resource. And that is because of the lack of the resources we have for our youth, I believe we need more and that is why our group was started. So that we can help make more resource for our community.

 

Marie Talks: That Class I Did Not Need

One day in grade nine I thought missing one day of a class wouldn’t hurt. It wasn’t a particularly important class, an elective if I remember correctly, and I would rather spend the time goofing off with my friends. It was a fun time we sat around talking and laughing, then when next block came around off I went to my next class. It seemed harmless at the time but then the opportunity came around again and it was easier to say yes and not attend my class. It became easier and easier to justify not going to class. I already had a reason whether it was that I was already ahead in that class, it wasn’t a important class like math or English, or even that I wasn’t missing enough and I could do the work at home.

Grade nine I missed a couple classes, not enough to put me behind though, and I still passed my classes. It wasn’t until grade ten that things started slipping, when cutting class was nothing to bat an eye about and had dodging school officials down to a science. I did not see the big deal, I could make it up next class.. which I didn’t always end up attending. By the end of the year I had failed a good chunk of my classes, and had to retake them the following year.

 All summer I told myself that I would get my act together and actually attend my classes and put the effort in. However that quickly changed and by November I was easily averaging the same amount of time skipping as I did actually attending my classes. By the end of that year I was probably leaning towards having actually skipped more classes then I had attended, and was no where near actually catching up. 

The following year I attended barely any classes and ended up being expelled from school in April. I had given up that year and it was painstakingly obvious. That next fall I had enrolled in a different school and although I attended more classes and was actually getting more work done, it didn’t work out for me.

Now with that being said I am not implying that if you skip class once you will automatically progress into utter failure as I did, I am stating what my choices landed me. I had a lot going on through those years and I did not handle it very well. Some people will skip a class or two here and there and will still average very high marks throughout their classes, and some will skim by. I made some bad decisions and am now living with the consequences of my actions.

To this day I am still finding things that are being affected by the decisions I made as a teen. The decision that impacts me the most is my choice to not attend and further more not complete high school. It has lowered my confidence in myself and hindered my job options just to name a few things that my decisions have lead me to. 

Before you skip class, whether for the first time or the twentieth, please remember that it does affect your schooling. You can potentially miss an important piece of information or a in class assignment, it impacts your attendance record, and skipping really does not have any positive impact in the long run.

Stay Proud. Stay Loud. Stay You.

Marie Olsson  

Ivy belle: Fear of relationships Pt.1

Fear of relationships

 

“It’s okay to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” – Mandy Hale

Have you ever stopped yourself from being in a relationship because you’re too scared to get hurt or be in one? I have.

The last time I was in a relationship was when I was 19 and left him when I was 22. I was engaged to this guy and we lived together even though he put me through a lot. From cheating, to lying & even using me, I stayed with him because I thought that I was just being a bad girlfriend and I was overreacting. When you’re in a relationship with someone who blames you for everything and tells you it’s your fault- you start to believe it. That relationship was my first serious relationship and I think that’s why I kept forgiving him because I also thought that this is the only relationship I will ever have and that no one else will love me but him.

I remember being vulnerable, angry, anxiety, hurt and I felt betrayed 90% of our relationship. He would be with another woman but lie to me, and even if he wasn’t I got so paranoid that I couldn’t sleep at night until he would show up. When I would ask him where he’s been, he would get very defensive. I didn’t know at the time that lies could really destroy a person. I took him back at least 8 times but every time I told myself “ this time is it! Me and him are over for good.” However, I would always take him back even when I knew it was bad news. I stayed with him until I literally hated him. I couldn’t stand having him around anymore. I didn’t want to be intimate, I wanted him to go sleep over at his friends, I would get upset for no reason and I was angry all the time.

Instead of leaving him and saving myself the pain I stayed with him to the point that I hated him more than my dad. Later on, when we broke off the engagement and everything I told myself I wouldn’t get into another relationship but then my ex’s sister introduced me to someone else. He was a nice guy and with time I fell hard for him. He would always try to surprise me but little did I know, my ex knew him too and he didn’t like him- apparently he’s a “goof” whatever that means. My ex did everything in his power to make sure that we broke up. One say my ex called me and told me I had to chose to break up with my boyfriend or having no where to live. I remember being hurt, torn and I told him that I wasn’t going to break up with my boyfriend for him.

One night my ex called me really angry and told me we needed to talk face to face. When I showed up we got into a heated argument about my boyfriend and he kept asking me if I broke up with my boyfriend, I told him no. At this point it was 2 am and I was ready to walk out the door until he wouldn’t let me leave because it was late. Eventually I gave in and he told me we would watch a movie together until we fell asleep. At that moment I knew all this was wrong and I just wanted to sit in a corner and cry. When we were watching a moving my ex put his hands on me and I kept telling him no to take his hands off me. I thought he would of understood but next thing I know I was pinned to his bed and he forced me to have sex with him. I felt disgusted even though I kept telling him that this is a bad idea that we shouldn’t do this. It was too late. The next morning he left for work and I hurried to get all my stuff together to leave but his roommate told me that I shouldn’t of slept with him that I would hurt my ex’s feelings. I tried to explain to him that I tried to tell him no but he kept blaming me. When I got back to my ex sister’s place (where I lived) and I tried to avoided talking about the night before.

When I got home I was trying to get a hold of my boyfriend but I wasn’t able to get a hold of him. My ex’s sister confronted me about what happened last night because apparently my ex called her. I tried to explain the situation but she sided with him by saying that he didn’t point a gun to my head and I could of left at any point, I was hurt. I texted my ex telling him that that night wasn’t supposed to happened that he pressured me into sleeping with him but he said that I could of walked away. In that moment I was so confused if it was rape or if it was actual sex. My ex threatened to tell my boyfriend that I cheated on him and that I liked it and etc.. After 3 days I finally got a message from my boyfriend asking me what the hell happened and explained that he got a message from my ex and he was really mad. I explained that I didn’t want to sleep with him but he pressured me but my boyfriend only saw it as cheating not rape. At the moment, he broke up with me and I was devastated.

I didn’t really have anyone to talk to because I wasn’t on good terms with any of my friends and I didn’t want to have this talk with my mom. I had so many plans with my boyfriend: we were suppose to move in together, build a family and get married but that night of the break up he got back with his ex girlfriend and got engaged. Now he’s happily married and has 4 kids. Still today I miss him. I wish we could talk things through and be friends but I know that’s not possible. I keep telling myself that I might actually have had a good life right now and be happy.

After all the heartache I moved back to Quebec with my family to get my life back together. I told myself that I would be doing a job that I love, that I could heal my heart again, and take care of my family- but that wasn’t the case for most part. My ex-fiancé was always trying to get a hold of me-texting, snap chatting, Facebook, etc. I kept telling him to leave me alone but he wouldn’t. It took me a long time for me to be able to supress my anger and bitterness. I stayed single even though my friends and family tried to hook me up with people. I’ve had people ask me for one night stands but I’ve turned them all down because I don’t personally think that sleeping with someone while I’m healing will help me at all or just sleeping with someone for the pleasure of it.

To be continued….

Stay Strong. Stay Beautiful. Keep fighting -Ivybelle- Xx

 

 

Marie Talks: Bullying; Do We Know Enough?

 

So I’ve shared my story about Smith in my The use of LGBTQ2IA terms as an insult blog, my high school bully that tried to use being a lesbian as an insult (among other things). Now however I am going to share a few snippets of my experience with bullying throughout my descriptions of the types of bullying. Growing up I had this friend, let’s call her Janice, I had known her since we were four and she was great when she wanted to be which is why I do recognize her as a friend. However I also recognize her as my childhood bully. A lot of my stories will probably involve her to some degree. Any I have no experience with I will not share a story on, however if anyone has any stories they’d like to share feel free to leave it in the comments.

What are some things that can make someone a bully:

1) Physical violence:
– eg. pushing, spitting, shoving, hitting,  grabbing, stealing, damaging property, hair pulling, etc.. for the younger kids (and everyone else as well, it’s just more common in the younger years) biting
– Any act that invades another persons personal bubble with ill intent, intentionally threatens a person’s physical safety or well being.

At the age of eight me and Janice had class together, some days were fine and we’d laugh and talk, or not interact at all. Others however were not so great. Sometimes it would be arguing, others I would be shoved or tripped. Sometimes when she pushed or tripped me I would end up covered in mud other days I would just have a face full of whatever the floor was made of. One day I don’t remember what it was over, or how it started.  At lunch I was running for all I had from Janice. I ran and ran and she was yelling threats out at me as she followed. I remember losing her and spending a good fifteen minutes under a table in our classroom hiding from her, afraid of being seriously injured if not worse. Lucky for me that day the teacher came into the room before Janice did and so I felt safer.

However That is not the only cases of physical bullying I have experienced so I will share two more. 

  • Age eight: I made the mistake of bringing my diary to school as I hadn’t spent the night at home. At lunchtime I had a group of boys steal it, they tried to get into it to read it and when that did not work they tried to destroy it. All fun and games right? Not in my eyes, the stuff inside of it was pretty embarrassing.. trust me I’ve read what my eight year old self decided to write in it. Right there that’s theft and damaging property.
  • Age eleven: Janice and me were helping take some photos off the wall. We were given butter knives to take the staples out, we weren’t talking but she decided I have pissed her off and tried to stab me with it. No major harm was done, but I learnt butter knives hurt. Later that year at our after school center she decided she didn’t want to help clean up the mess she had help create and hit me over the head with a folding metal chair. I don’t remember the next few moments but I do remember the throbbing pain and bump that was left from that incident.

2) Verbal Bullying:
– eg. Name-calling, mocking, insults, slurs, threatening, humiliating, sexual harassment, telling them to “kill themself” etc.
– Anything said to make another person uncomfortable. Or anything said with the intent (or possibility of) to hurt, humiliate, or shame another.

All through out elementary school I was made fun of, one common thing we all go through is making fun of our names with rhymes or mispronouncing them to make them sound funny or teasing. That happened a lot. I was a heavier kid and that never ceased to be one of the many things I was teased about. Whether it was to call me thunder, tell me that I’d break something if I put my weight on it, told I wouldn’t fit places, or questioned if I was capable of doing something due to my weight.  Along with Smith, who I talked about in my other blog who bullied me through high school, was pretty nifty with his large vocabulary of insults.. please note the sarcasm.

3) Electronic bullying (or Cyberbullying)
– eg. threaten, harass, embarrass, socially exclude, or damage reputation/friendships with the use of texting, email, the dirty, Facebook, etc.
– Using electronics and any social platform, whether it be to blast something around to multiple people, or a private message to another or about another, to hurt another person.

I was seventeen and I had dated this guy for awhile, after we broke up he started seeing this other woman, lets call her Leila. Now maybe a month or two into their relationship I started getting these Facebook messages from his new girlfriend without even having any contact with them. Originally they were nothing special the ‘so your his ex’ type of stuff, however they soon progressed into much worse without me even replying or opening the chat. Leila then started calling me some pretty nasty things and using a lot of profanity. Okay so she has a stick up her bottom, I could handle that I thought. I hadn’t thought much of it until she started threatening me, and sending me photos she took of places I frequented such as my house and my school. Now that freaked me out, then out of the blue one day she texted me, after probably getting my number out of my exes phone, trying to blackmail me. At this point I was pretty sketched out, what was this woman’s end game and how much longer do I have to deal with her for was one of the things constantly running through my mind. Skip forward a month or two after this all started and we run into each other, Leila starts yelling at me and ye get into a huge argument.  Luckily for me everything was resolved that night and we realized someone was trying to pin us on each other for their own personal entertainment.

There you have it, the three most recognized forms of bullying, at least from what I have seen.

Don’t forget to hit like and/or drop a comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say on the topic, did I miss something? Is there another form of bullying you think is more prevalent? Or is there a form of bullying you think is always overlooked?

Stay Proud. Stay Loud. Stay Strong Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Marie Talks: The use of Gay or Lesbian as an insult

It’s been approximately five years since I have been in public school. I don’t know how much things have changed over the years, however using ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ as an insult is still very much present (at least in the cyber world) I have noticed. This idea that being told you are doing something that labels you as ‘gay’ and it being used to hurt you is ten steps backward from everything society has been working towards for years.  When I was going to school I had this bully, lets call him Smith, and he would try to do or say anything that would get under my skin. One of Smith’s ‘go-to insults’ was calling me a lesbian. I didn’t understand why he thought this would hurt me, as I didn’t see what was wrong about a female liking another female. Plus, I am bisexual, I do like women and I am not ashamed of liking women. However I saw the hurt in some of my friends eyes when he would make the same comment about them.

Eventually I asked one of my friends, lets call her Beth, why being called a lesbian bothered her, and her answer made me understand why this term could hurt someone. See when someone called me a lesbian it didn’t phase me because it was true, I like women. Albeit not just women, I liked men too which made me bisexual, it didn’t have the same impact on me as it could on a straight female. Beth explained to me that the term lesbian hurt her because she felt that the term implied she was unattractive to male’s, something she’s struggled with feeling like for years. That it meant she was a person only another female could love. Being called a lesbian to her also implied that she was not feminine, and that she should be ashamed of these things.

Using the word lesbian as a way to offend a female can hurt, just like how using the term gay can hurt a male. It’s too easy to label a man as gay if he has a more feminine side, he’s a bit ‘off’ in your eyes, he’s ‘weak’, or he’s easily putt off/scared. What people seem to not care about is when using the term it doesn’t just affect the person you’re calling it, it affects the people around you too. Im not saying any form of bullying is alright but why cant you say what you mean instead of morphing a word to mean everything that is an insult, when the word does not mean any of that.

Now one thing I have always been against is anything that makes another person feel unworthy or inadequate. Whether it is to make them feel unworthy of love, attention, or the credit they are due. Or making a person feel like they don’t try hard enough, are not ‘normal’ or something is wrong with them. Which is exactly what using LGBT terms as insults does to a person, both someone whose being targeted with these labels and someone who identifies with the them, which is not cool at all.

Every time a person uses the word gay or lesbian as an insult you are telling another human that what they are is wrong, bad and something to be ashamed of. You’re promoting someone to hide who they are and to hide their feelings towards another human. You are making people feel unsafe, helping contributing to their fears and insecurities. You are not only hurting the person you are calling gay/lesbian but also a whole community of people who identify with the term.

Now not only are gay/lesbian an insult when used in an demeaning manner but so are all the other slang or identifiers. This includes words like butch, queer, and fag etc. We need to put an end to using terms to describe who you love as a way to demean and belittle others. We need to put an end to looking down on the LGBTQ2IA community and embrace them. We need to end bullying in any capacity. We need to embrace people for their differences and love (and support) each other. We need to help others feel accepted and learn to love themselves.

Gay is not an insult. We need to work together to put an end to this out dated point of view.

To finish this off I’ll add my final thought:

If being called Straight isn’t an insult, why is Gay or Lesbian? They’re all terms to describe what gender the person has romantic feelings towards. Feelings that are natural and we don’t have much control over.

Stay Loud, Stay Proud Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Ivybelle on Bullying

“Things will get easier, people’s minds will change, and you should be alive to see It.”
-Ellen DeGeneres

“You’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re stupid. Your mom doesn’t love you. Who would like you? You’re fat and ugly! You’re worthless. Nobody will care if you die.”
Those are a few of what I was told ever since I was a kid.

I remember being in first grade and a classmate (a boy) didn’t like me very much. I never knew why but he always picked on me. I remember one day trying to look at a book that I wasn’t supposed to touch and he punched me in the chest. I also remember crying in pain and the teacher not doing much about it but he kept yelling at me. Most of the class didn’t like me to be honest. I only had 1 friend in my class but most of the girls would steal my things and the boys were always making fun of what I was eating and throwing my things. They would throw my backpack, my notebooks, my jacket, etc. At some point my backpack fell apart. When I was young, I was very shy and reserved so I didn’t really communicate with people. ASL was my first language then English and French but because my mom is deaf, she couldn’t help me pronounce words properly. For the longest time people used to make fun of me because of my accent and not knowing the difference between some words; e.g. “Fork” and “Fort”.

When I was in grade 4 I was the new girl. I moved from Ontario to Quebec at this point and I didn’t know anyone. I was the girl with the deaf mom again and I was the one who didn’t wear clothing with brands. I remember one guy and his best friend were the school meanies. They bullied a lot of people at school and ¾ of the students were scared of them. One day I played basketball and the ball ended up rolling beside him and I tried to get the ball but he kept kicking it away. I got annoyed and told him to stop it but he got pissed off and started pushing me and at some point I fell to the ground. Him and his friends started laughing at me. He called me every name in the book. “ Ugly, fat, dumb, stupid, trash, loser” among other things that is not PG rated.

I stayed at that school for 3 years. I kept telling my mom that I was getting bullied and she would tell me to tell the teachers, but they never really did anything. I was scared of going to that school. When I was 10 years old a few girls and I were talking (I thought we were friends), they were telling me how my friends are pretending to be my friends- that they told them. I argued with them for a good 30 minutes about how they are lying but I was still really hurt and I felt really alone. That’s when one of the girls said that if I was to die no one would care. I told her that she was lying but she was so convincing. After arguing for a while, she started a petition called “Who wants Ivybelle to kill herself?” Every time someone wanted me dead she would add a mark on the sheet. She came back with 4 sheets filled. I told the girl that I would commit suicide and wont show up the next morning. The next morning I didn’t show up and my mom didn’t know. However, The teacher caught her and she got in trouble. She talked to her dad and she was grounded.

In high school I bullied too. From being thrown basketballs at, to turning people against me, to telling classes my deepest secrets, to getting abused, etc. The first 4 years were hard. I didn’t fit in anywhere, I was depressed, my mom moved to BC and I stayed behind. I was sexually abused, being bullied and I was struggling in school. I started self-harming, drinking and smoking. I was being discriminated by my dad for being hearing and not deaf and on top of that he and my half-sister were bullying me. The bullying didn’t really stop until I moved to BC and went to a good high school where there was no tolerance for bullying.

Bullying is really hard to go through and see someone go through. Over the years it seems to be getting worse every year. It’s gotten so bad that 12-year-old kids are turning to serious physical abuse and even murder. When I hear/see things like that on the news, my heart breaks and I worry so much about what the future holds. Some of these situations happen at school and some out of school.. If you know anyone that is getting bullied here are some steps to help.
10 Steps to Stop and Prevent Bullying:
Credit: http://www.nea.org/home/51629.htm
Whether you are a parent, an educator, or a concerned friend of the family, there are ten steps you can take to stop and prevent bullying:
1. Pay attention. There are many warning signs that may point to a bullying problem, such as unexplained injuries, lost or destroyed personal items, changes in eating habits, and avoidance of school or other social situations. However, every student may not exhibit warning signs, or may go to great lengths to hide it. This is where paying attention is most valuable. Engage students on a
daily basis and ask open-ended questions that encourage conversation.

2. Don’t ignore it. Never assume that a situation is harmless teasing. Different students have different levels of coping; what may be considered teasing to one may be humiliating and devastating to another. Whenever a student feels threatened in any way, take it seriously, and assure the student that you are there for them and will help.

3. When you see something — do something. Intervene as soon as you even think there may be a problem between students. Don’t brush it off, as “kids are just being kids They’ll get over it.” Some never do, and it affects them for a lifetime. All questionable behaviour should be addressed immediately to keep a situation from escalating. Summon other adults if you deem the situation may get out of hand. Be sure to always refer to your school’s anti-bullying policy.

4. Remain calm. When you intervene, refuse to argue with either student. Model the respectful behaviour you expect from the students. First make sure everyone is safe and that no one needs immediate medical attention. Reassure the students involved, as well as the bystanders. Explain to them what needs to happen next — bystanders go on to their expected destination while the students involved should be taken separately to a safe place.

5. Deal with students individually. Don’t attempt to sort out the facts while everyone is present, don’t allow the students involved to talk with one another, and don’t ask bystanders to tell what they saw in front of others. Instead, talk with the individuals involved — including bystanders — on a one-on-one basis. This way, everyone will be able to tell their side of the story without worrying about what others may think or say.

6. Don’t make the students involved apologize and/or shake hands on the spot. Label the behaviour as bullying. Explain that you take this type of behaviour very seriously and that you plan to get to the bottom of it before you determine what should be done next and any resulting consequences based on your school’s anti-bullying policy. This empowers the bullied child — and the bystanders — to feel that someone will finally listen to their concerns and be fair about outcomes.

7. Hold bystanders accountable. Bystanders provide bullies an audience, and often actually encourage bullying. Explain that this type of behaviour is wrong, will not be tolerated, and that they also have a right and a responsibility to stop bullying. Identify yourself as a caring adult that they can always approach if they are being bullied and/or see or suspect bullying.

8. Listen and don’t pre-judge. It is very possible that the person you suspect to be the bully may actually be a bullied student retaliating or a “bully’s” cry for help. It may also be the result of an undiagnosed medical, emotional or psychological issue. Rather than make any assumptions, listen to each child with an open mind.

9. Get appropriate professional help. Be careful not to give any advice beyond your level of expertise. Rather than make any assumptions, if you deem there are any underlying and/or unsolved issues, refer the student to a nurse, counsellor, school psychologist, social worker, or other appropriate professional.

10. Become trained to handle bullying situations. If you work with students in any capacity, it is important to learn the proper ways to address bullying. Visit http://www.nea.org/bullyfree for information and resources. You can also take the pledge to stop bullying, as well as learn how to create a Bully Free program in your school and/or community.

If you are a victim of bullying, please talk to someone. I know it might be scary right now, but please hold on and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not your fault.

Stay Strong. Stay Beautiful. Stay You.
Keep Fighting.
-Ivybelle-Xx

Howie Defranco on Bullying

Hey blog readers, it’s Howie Defranco and today the topic is Bullying: the story of an underdog. Ok I’m the type of guy that should’ve been bullied in high school, the complete stereotype, I was nerdy, chunky, weird, awkward, a momma’ boy, I didn’t drink or smoke, was basically a goody two shoes and always had my homework done. That was high school though in elementary school, there was this kid, for references sake let’s call him Biff, now Biff was a rider guy but he usually left me alone until one day he started calling me names. How I was in grade 5 so it was a big deal to me, you know I’d never had a bully before or anything so I went crying home to my mom and told her about him. She said I needed to stand up for myself.
Which I took to heart and came to school the next day, it was a bit before school and he came up and called me I think fatboy? I was 10 it’s hard to remember which name it was, but I flipped him off (first time I flipped anyone off) and walked away. He walked up behind me and punched me in the back of the head, so I turned around and started fighting him and I’m a pacifist but for the right reasons I’ll take a stand. So he’s kinda swiping at my head and I’m in close fighting like something from dragon ball cause that’s what I’ve seen fighting wise. Three of my classmates came and pulled me off, and I went straight to my teacher told him everything that happened. To which Biff and I were sent to the office and I was called the bully by the principal, to which both my teacher and mother said no he was standing up for himself.
That story makes me smile because I took a stand and said no more sand I’d like to think that’s why I wasn’t bullied after that. I’m not trying to encourage violence here but if your being bullied it’s like I said in my child abuse blog try to take a stand, try and if you can’t then get someone who can, that you trust to help you. For bullying is not right, even if your bullying someone because they bullied you, it’s diminishing someone else’s value. Who knows to that bully could become a friend, Biff and I did through high school, not close now but we respected each other.

Madison: Stereotypes of Youth Homelessness

There are sadly lots of stereotypes around youth homelessness. So fist like always I’ll give you the definition of homelessness from dictionary.com.
Homelessness: “persons who lack permanent housing.”
Stereotypes/Myths
All homeless youth are heavy drug users;

As a youth worker I work with a lot of homeless youth. I say about 80% of the youth I’ve encountered haven’t even touched any drugs or smoke weed in their spare time. A lot of the youth I’ve worked with are really good kids just in a bad situation. Just like the homeless adult not all of them are on drugs.

There can’t be a homeless crisis because I don’t see that many youth living on the streets or in parks;

​That’s because not many youth do, they either try for a shelter, a friend’s house or somewhere isolated and can’t be found. It’s safer for them that way. Because some youth are only 14 when they go to the streets it’s not safe for them to be out in the open sleeping, they would be an open target that way. Also just because you can’t see a crisis happening around you doesn’t mean it’s not going on. There is a lot more homeless then we think out there and not enough resources to help.

MOST ARE RUNAWAYS;

​Very few of the homeless youth population are runaways otherwise a missing person report would be filled and the youth would be brought home. Most youth are either custody of the ministry or have been kicked out of their homes. Most runaways only stay out for a couple of days and then return home 2-5 days later and never really become homeless. Because there is still a home for them to go back to, which sadly some youth don’t have and find safety in a shelter or with a friend.

Homeless youth are scruffy, smelly, criminals who couldn’t care less about their communities;

​Most youth who are homeless aren’t, most still attend school and some even have part time jobs to help pay for their necessities. But yes some youth who can’t find shelter will tend to be a bit scruffy or smelly. But just like other youth they still do care about there hygiene, because hey who wants to go up to their friends smelling like a pig. Most youth will respect the community as long as the community stops putting negative stigmas on the youth. As a youth myself I’d walk into a store and I’d have the cashier either tell me to leave and to come back with an adult or follow me around the store until I left. I myself worked 6 days a week I had the money to buy what I wanted but because I was a youth I was automatically a thief and could not be trusted. I remember once when I was 13 my mom asked me to pick up the groceries while she went across the street to get gas. The cashier made me empty my purse and pockets before she would ring in anything, I was shocked, my mom gave me a $100 for 4 things if I wanted something I would of just bought it, the bill only came to $35. Let’s just say my dad started screaming when he found out and they tried to tell him it was protocol.

I hope you guys liked my blog. Leave a comment down below if you have any questions or comments. I love hearing from you guys.

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
-By Audrey Hepburn

-Madison Taylor

Madison Take on Learning Disability

This week during the learning disability, I wanted to talk about Dyslexia. Dyslexia is a learning disability that is really misunderstood. It’s also something that myself and my family struggle with? So like always I’ll start off with a definition I got off of Dictionary.com.

Dyslexia: Any of various reading disorders associated with impairment of the ability to interpret spatial relationship or integrate auditory and visual.

People with Dyslexia don’t always just struggle with reading. We also struggle with writing, spelling, math and many more that I’ll list later on in the Blog. I constantly have to check my writing over because I know how to spell most words now that I’m older but it doesn’t always come out on paper the right way. Numbers have to be the hardest for me because I would always draw them backwards so now that I have reversed that I can’t tell if there backwards or forward. It took a while for people to figure out what was wrong, and why I struggled so much as school. Most people don’t know is that Dyslexia doesn’t show up when taking a learning disability test, because it’s not that we don’t know the information it’s that are brain process things differently. For example I have weird tricks to remember my mathematics. I’ll try and make a video of the cool tricks I’ve learned and attach it to the Blog another week. The biggest issue with Dyslexia is that the warning signs for it can be so similar to other learning disability and mental health concerns that it’s typically over looked.

I wanted to write down a few of the most common warning signs for dyslexia

Pre-school/ Kindergarten

  • Has trouble recognizing the letters of the alphabet
  • Struggles to pronounce words correctly, such as saying “mawn lower” instead of “lawn mower”
  • Has difficulty learning new words
  • Has a smaller vocabulary than other kids the same age
  • Has trouble learning to count or say the days of the week and other common word sequences

Grade school/ Middle School.

  • Struggles with reading and spelling
  • Confuses the order of letters, such as writing “left” instead of “felt”
  • Has trouble remembering facts and numbers
  • Has trouble learning new skills and relies heavily on memorization
  • Gets tripped up by word problems in math
  • Has a tough time sounding out unfamiliar words
  • Has trouble following a sequence of directions

High School

  • Struggles with reading out loud
  • Doesn’t read at the expected grade level
  • Has trouble understanding jokes or idioms
  • Has difficulty organizing and managing time
  • Struggles to summarize a story
  • Has difficulty learning a foreign language

Here are a few more general warning signs that are not linked with age.

  • Labelled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, “not trying hard enough,” or “behavior problem.”
  • Complains of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading.
  • Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem.
  • Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right, over/under.

Every one struggles with Dyslexia in their own way. Not something that you can outgrow but it’s something you can understand and work around. I struggled my whole child not understanding anything, I couldn’t figure out why people kept telling me I wasn’t trying hard enough when I was giving it my all. It wasn’t until grade 5 till I was Diagnosed and started understanding that I could learn I just had to focus on what my strengths were and use those. I learn allot through picture, I can remember stranding and mathematics through images in my head. It’s like flipping through a photo album and remembering everything you’ve done. That’s kind of similar to the way I think except I can’t always understand what I’m remembering or even chose what I want to remember.

A few sites that I suggest checking out I’ll link them to the Blog. It’s where I got the info above, they have great information on them, take a read if your infested on learning more :).

Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! By Audrey Hepburn

-Madison Taylor ❤

Howie’s take on Learning Disabilities

Hey blog readers, it’s me Howie Defranco and today we will be discussing learning disabilities.  Learning disabilities are a wide variety of possible disorders, and symptoms, that are caused by a few different things.  Of course learning disorders do not especially in this day and age stop people from being successful but are an obstacle to overcome, and adapt to.  As if learning wasn’t hard enough already, am I right but it does not make a person any less intelligent than the next.  Anyways that’s fairly nice way of putting it so let’s move on.

There are a few different things that identify if your child could be born with or develop a learning disability.  Oddly enough and I quote “experts don’t always know the reason for learning disabilities”, but they tend to run in the family so if you have one your kid might, their children might and so on.  Some do think though that the reason they develop is that the brain is processing information differently, which makes a lot of sense considering a few of the disorders like dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia.  It can also be caused by any injury or illness the mother may have while with child, or drug and alcohol abuse they partake in.  Finally by the way the child is raised any head injury, exposure to toxins, malnutrition, or child abuse can also bring about learning disabilities.
The biggest signs when your young that your developing one, is mostly how fast your learning and developing.  If you have trouble learning things like the alphabet or numbers or days of the week are signs.  If you said your first words later than expected, read slowly, have trouble in school without clear reasons.  Those are all signs you could be developing or have a learning disability already.
Common Types of Learning Disabilities:
Dyslexia; difficulty with reading
Dyscalculia; difficulty with mathematics
Dysgraphia; difficulty with writing
Dyspraxia: difficulty with fine motor skills
Dysphasia/aphasia; difficulty with language
Auditory processing disorder; difficulty hearing differences in sound
Visual processing disorder; difficulty interpreting visual information
In schools there is a lot more support for kids with learning disabilities then there was 30, 20, even 10 years ago.  In my school I remember kids that had disorders like add and autism that make learning more difficult had kind of a personal teacher assisting them in our classes.  Which was is good as it worked in both occupational and educational ways.  Occupational therapy is for those that have something like dysgraphia or dyspraxia as it’s more to do with hands on problems.  While educational is more personalized around the disability the person has.
Works Cited
“Learning Disabilities and Disorders.” : Types of Learning Disorders and Their Signs. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.
“Learning Disabilities-Topic Overview.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

Madison Opinion on School Issues.

When it comes to school issue I think everyone has an opinion on something they want to change in the school system. I believe school need different programs for kids struggling with their school work, more programs for teen parents and the different support system they have for low income families. Those are my main concerned when it come to school systems, because those are the ones that really hit home for me.

When it comes to programs for kids who are struggling with school work especially in elementary in elementary school, because that is a really big one for me. I had a lot of trouble with school from grade 2 – grade 5 and a majority of my teachers didn’t understand what was wrong or what to do with me, because normal classes were too hard for me and no matter how hard I tried I was still doing something wrong. The best solution they thought would work was to put me into esl classes which did help but English is my only language so it ended up being too easy for me and I wasn’t learning anything, so I got place back into the normal classes again. I got picked on not just by student but also by my teachers too, I had been told so many times that I was just not trying hard enough, and you get told that enough times I ended up just giving up because I didn’t know what to do anymore. It wasn’t until grade 5 till my teacher realized that there were more struggling, so she made her own cralicume for us to work on. It was the same basic thing as the rest of the class just phrased a bit simpler, but it was easier but still challenging enough to have us a chance to learn what we were doing. After that experience is when I started gaining some self confidence in myself because she showed me that I was able to actually learn things is just processed it differently. I am more or a visual and hands on learner, so she taught me different way to succeed with my learning style. So if I could change anything I would want more of a middle grand for the ones like me who are struggling.

For everyone who doesn’t know I was a teen parent, I had just entered grade 12 when I found out. I was lucky enough since I wasn’t giving birth till closer to the end of the year so that how I got a spot in a school who offered a program for teen parents with a daycare on campus, but if I hadn’t then there was a 1 ½ year waiting list and I probably wouldn’t of been able to finished high school and wouldn’t be where I am today. To me I’m really thankful for how things worked out but how about the ones who didn’t make it in. I want more schools to help the mothers and fathers complete schools so they can better there future. I know some people will say that if more support goes up we be encouraging teen to get pregnant. But how about those people who are waiting the 1 ½ to get into those schools. And those are the people I want to help and want to give support to help and not have them wait such a long time before finishing their education.

Now when it comes to supporting for low incomes families. I am happy with what they have I just wish that they were just more well know such as if you are really struggling afford school also in different neighborhood that will help as much as you can. Or at Christmas time there are Christmas hampers that will help with presents and sometimes Christmas dinners. Like I wish these things were more well know or even more avalible to people who want I need the help. Yes, I understand the need for keeping things more quiet so some people don’t take advantage of it, but that also keeping it from the ones who actually need it.

I know some people will disagree and some will agree, if so write a comment down below I would love to here your opinion, also if you have any questions I’d love to answer them. I am really open or if you want us to talk about any other topics let us know.

-Madison Taylor

Education For Educators On Mental Health -Marie Olsson

“Kids are falling through the cracks and nobody notices it. That to me is what’s wrong with the school system.” – Melinda Gates

The educational system is rich in topics for us to learn: English, math, science, etc.; however it is lacking in the education on learning disorders and mental health for the school staff.  School can be difficult for youth as it is, which can be heightened further with undiagnosed issues or educators not understanding how they affect a student’s learning process. I believe if educators had a higher level of training in understanding how learning disabilities and (at least the most) common mental health diagnoses affect how one learns and/or focuses, along with how to spot them it could make learning easier for the youth that are struggling.

When I was in school I was going to see a therapist and I had fairly regular appointments, which unfortunately meant I had to leave early from class those days to make the appointment. The teacher I had that block was very understanding on the matter; however my vice principal was not as lenient. My vice principal one day pulled me into her office wanting to know where I went when I had to leave early, to which I responded honestly telling her I went to see a therapist and where my appointments were. From there she went on to demand to know who they were with and wanting to speak to them.  When I told her that she had no need to know that information, she threatened me with expulsion. For  her to talk with my therapist I would have to first give my therapist permission to talk with her, which I was not comfortable with. My vice principal pulled up the page of therapists who worked at the facility I was going to and was trying to figure out which one I was seeing, she went as far as to try and contact all of them, I felt like all my rights were taken from me at that moment. My parents were dragged into this mess that was created and it went from ugly to worse.

At the time I had not been officially diagnosed with anything specific besides ADHD, we were still working on diagnosing what we now know is bipolar type II but at the time had just labeled as depression. This is information I was not very willing to share with many people, nor was it of anyone else’s concern at the time, as it was not impacting my learning besides having to leave early from class. However it got me thinking that if that is how my vice principal handled my situation how would they handle another student struggling with a mental disorder. My vice principal’s blatant disrespect for the confidentiality between a therapist and client concerned me; how would they handle a similar or worse situation with another student.  Their careless, insensitive, and under educated approach to the matter could cause a lot of unneeded stress and damage to someone’s mental state.

When it comes to one’s mental health and how others actions affect the person dealing with a mental disorder it can feel like you’re running through a mine field if you are not fully aware of what repercussions your actions can bring.  Which is why I think the educators should be well educated on not only mental health but also the legal boundaries surrounding mental health. Whether or not a student wants to share that they are struggling with their mental health, the people we put in charge of their education should be fully aware of what boundaries (legal or personal) they cannot cross and fully equipped to help their student’s excel even if they are struggling with their mental health.

No one should be alone when they need someone there the most.  Sometimes having a teacher put the effort in making sure you have the tools you need to succeed makes the difference between graduating or not.

Stay Strong. Stay Brave. Keep Fighting Lovies,

Marie Olsson xx

Brian’s School Issues

School issues are becoming a big deal now a days, since there are a lot of struggles youth face from depression, to classes, and the struggle to fit into a group of new friends just to name a few things in general we all or some of us face. I’m here to tell you that it is normal to go through it. Growing up it was hard for me to fit in and make friends and be part of a ‘group’, I’ve been the type of person being alone all the time and didn’t talk to anyone at all. Everyone didn’t want to talk to me because I was the short kid with glasses and picked on because I didn’t do what everyone else was doing; I was like the goody two shoes that was made fun of. It wasn’t till I started to put myself out there and talk to people that I started to fit in; but even then I still struggled with that because I just couldn’t find the confidence to start a conversation. For a while I just stayed to myself and listened to my music everyday and I had a routine I do everyday while at school. It wasn’t until grade 10 that I started to have friends again; but I met the wrong crowd though, I thought it would be so cool to hang out with older people that smoke and skips school. I was labelled as the kid who hung out with smokers and skips but you know that was a choice I made it was my choice to hang out with those people because we all had similar views and interests and most of us went through the same life growing up.

 If you’re reading this I just want you to know that just because you smoke or skip school you’re not a bad person.  Don’t let anyone stop you from fitting into a group if you feel like you can connect to certain people even though they smoke and skip then to be honest that’s ok because it is your choice. We have all made and make bad choices in life, but don’t put yourself down just because you’re a smoker or you skip school with friend. People shouldn’t judge you for that everyone has their own crowd or group such as the drama class, dance class, the athletes, to the music class, the math class, the science class, ect… we all have different personalities and have our own views on people but if you think you are any of those groups you can fit in anywhere and don’t let anyone bring you down for that.

 I know it’s tough to find out who you are and to find which group you can fit into; but realize you can fit into anywhere and be part of a group by being yourself. You shouldn’t change so you can be liked and fit in because that’s not you if you have to act a different way. You can’t be someone you’re not just to fit into a crowd, be yourself and don’t let anyone bring you down. Stand up for yourself, you can fit in, be positive, and try to meet new people even. I think when you be yourself you can fit into any group or crowd, like yes it’s tough and hard to go up to someone you don’t even know because you don’t know who they are or what their intentions are but even a simple hi goes a long way or vice versa. I used to be shy but when I broke my shell and approached certain people it came naturally to me. Now a days I love talking to someone new and making new friends; because listening to someone new and hearing their life story it helps you to realize a lot of yourself.

– Brian O’Connor