Bullies Beware: The New F-Word is FRIEND

Bullies Beware. You're gonna have to go through us.

Bullies Beware. You’re gonna have to go through us.

So you may remember me posting about the phenomenal anti-bullying campaign my Sugar Bean and I were asked to be part of a few months ago. If not, you can see that here. At the time, the campaign hadn’t officially launched….


FRIEND MOVEMENT is in full swing and people are talking about it, which is EXACTLY what we want to happen. Open DIALOGUE leads to ACTION, which leads to CHANGE. A few initial reactions to the campaign questioned the use of the familiar hand gesture–the extension of the middle finger, or ‘flipping the bird’–remarking that it’s too edgy and in your face. Let’s be honest though….this is NOTHING compared to what our youth and adults alike are subjected to on a daily basis. We aren’t flipping someone off, we are flipping off and saying “F-YOU” to the issue of BULLYING which is a problem…

In our faces…

In the media…

In some of our homes…


As the mother of a teen who was the victim of bullying from the time she entered Kindergarten and continuing until we finally had to change schools to escape it, I am tired of it. She came home sobbing everyday, and that was heart wrenching. To know my baby was being mistreated by mean girls who felt the need to pick on her because she was younger and smaller than they was horrific. And I was powerless. I spoke to her teacher, then the principal, then the superintendent. As a parent, I did everything thing I could to be an advocate for my child. But I couldn’t go to school WITH HER, so she was left to stand up for herself. Which is precisely what FRIEND MOVEMENT is all about. The aim is to empower those being bullied to start an inner dialogue, in the face of their aggressors, enabling them to say:

“It’s not okay for you treat me this way.

I accept me for who I am, and you must do the same.

So back off.” 

I’m sick to death of hearing about teenager after teenager committing suicide as the result of something that HAS TO END. Period. There is no room for error, or deliberation with respect to this matter. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, cultures, genders, etc….and my daughter and I are PROUD TO STAND AGAINST THEM in support of a campaign laden with celebrities who have also been victims of bullying themselves. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

And I urge you to go one step further. JOIN FRIEND MOVEMENT. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SHARE!! Help spread the word, and make it go viral. Make a tax-deductible donation to the Indigogo.com fundraising effort if you can, and aid in the mission to take the movement on the road visiting 40 cities across the country, with the goal of shooting 10,000 photos in 90 days.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes the entire world to protect one. We belong to each other, folks. Are you willing to take a stand, and get your boots dirty to raise awareness, and help?

I know I am.

A day in the life.



The Beans went back to school yesterday, but school day mornings around here have become quite the dramatic production. Emphasis on DRAMA.  First of all, Sugar Bean, is 13. I could stop right there, without any explanation at all and 99.9% of you would still know what I mean. However, I’ll elaborate. Because that’s one of the things I do best, besides over-sharing and rooting for my Crimson Tide.

With her, there is none of the usual teenager-not-wanting-to-get-out-of-bed riggamaroll, or the “MOM…NOTHING FITS ME!! WHY CAN’T I GET NEW CLOTHES? FUCK!!” (If you haven’t seen it, there is a great example of this in Judd Apatow’s new film THIS IS 40. A must-see if you have kids, especially teens). Life up in here would be grand if it were just that simple. But oh no…I get the emotional stuff almost every morning, and the kid hasn’t even started her period yet! The golden moments of  “I hate cheerleading, and don’t like going to the away games (there is one today). It will take me forever to do my homework afterwards, and there is no adult supervision once we return to school (yes, a teenager complained about this)” and “My entire 7th grade year is being ruined, because I’m miserable cheering and you won’t let me quit. Other girls are quitting. You don’t care about my happiness.”  And during these rants, I have to resist the urge to say “Because I will be 41 tomorrow and know infinitely more than you, so shut the eff up”, remain calm and… parent. Before 8am. Before I’ve had caffeine. Or changed my clothes, brushed my teeth, and peed! Just about the only thing this follows is….The Man’s departure for work.

Now, I should mention that I was a cheerleader myself, both in junior high and high school, but had no part in Sugar Bean’s decision to try out. In fact, it was a shock to me that she wanted to. So, she can’t hang this one on me for forcing her into an activity she desired no part in. Nope, not my fault. I will, however, take full responsibility for refusing to allow her to quit. It’s one of those points of parenting where The Man and I absolutely agree, because we made a mistake early on and learned from it. Yes, that really happens. Anyway, there is a rule in our household now: If you start an activity  as part of a team, you fulfill your commitment, as part of the team. Unless unforeseen circumstances like this prohibit you from doing so. 

In other words, we are not raising quitters.

So I try to explain this to her, and convince her it WILL get better. I declare that cheering for basketball is more fun than soccer, and CFE’s because the games are more exciting to watch and the crowds tend to be larger and more enthusiastic. I also point out that we live in a small, close-knit community (yes, those exist in LA), and if she quits the squad, it may hurt her chances of being chosen for, or allowed to participate in future team activities next year or in high school, because she will have the reputation of being a quitter, and therefore, be viewed as unreliable. In an attempt to validate some of her feelings, I even agree with her about a few of her grievances, which I know to be true, and offer to come to the game today and speak to the cheer coaches in an effort to gain insight into why she is so miserable doing something she wanted to do! I try to relate what she is feeling to my own experiences as a cheerleader. Big mistake…HUGE. She sulks and says, “It was different then.Plus, if you are there, I will mess up. There’s too much pressure.”  But I am steadfast in my decision, and she concludes her rant (keep in mind it’s been going on relentlessly for almost an hour now) as she exits the car saying “I don’t care about school or the year anymore. It doesn’t matter.” Talk about making me feel like shit for parenting, and causing worry about all sorts of things that could result from my refusal to allow her to quit cheering. So I have decided to go to the game. To observe. I won’t approach the coaches, or draw attention to her misery in any way. But I need some answers!

Now, compared to Sugar Bean’s morning tirades, Butter Bean and Sweet Pea’s antics in the mornings before school appear like the actions of angels. But, they still turn the task of getting them ready for their day into complete havoc . At the ripe age of 8, Butter Bean hates to get out of bed. But when she does finally spring forth, there isn’t much I have to help her with beyond fashioning her hair into a ponytail. Extremely independent, that one. Definitely a chip off my block. She is somewhat of a tomboy, so she doesn’t give much thought to what she wears, and settles on jeans and a cute tee with a hoodie most days. Easy, right? WRONG. Her main purpose in the mornings is to antagonize her baby sister, Sweet Pea, who takes sensitivity to a new level, much to the delight of Butter Bean. That child cries from the moment she gets out of bed, and continues for at least 20 minutes. It’s almost impossible to get her dressed, as she is a mini-fashionista and very concerned about how she looks. If she’s picked an outfit that doesn’t fit the weather outside, and I gently point that out, the waterworks start. She takes it personally, and considers my concern for her being cold an insult on her fashion sense. After several minutes of hemming and hawing, we can usually agree on something….as long as it involves wearing tights. And a dress, a skirt, or a tutu. In general, Sweet Pea hates pants, unless they are brightly colored or embellished jeans. Or in rare cases, cargo style. Once dressed, the tears stop long enough for her to make the trek from her bedroom to the bathroom, where I must brush the tangles out of her hair while she screams like a banshee and declares that she knows I’m hurting her on purpose! All the while, Butter Bean is standing in the doorway, backpack loaded onto her shoulders, breakfast of choice in hand….with a devious smirk on her face…watching. You can imagine what goes down when Sweet Pea catches Butter Bean observing. “Mama, she’s looking at me with an ugly face, and it’s making me sad!” Cue more tears. Where is Sugar Bean, you ask? Halfway out the door, sighing loudly, and proclaiming that if we don’t leave right that second, we are going to be late.

Which we never are, of course.

These are my days. One bleeding into another, when school is in session, with only slight deviations from this to the next. Today’s hiccup was that, before crawling into bed last night, I took the time to sit down and write in a card for The Man. I wrote some words of encouragement for the day, along with loving phrases, sealed it in an envelope and carefully propped it in the pocket of his gym bag, where he would be sure to find it. Just because. I know i enjoy ‘little things’, and unexpected gestures, so I thought he might as well. He  startled me awake by asking where his coat was, and then barked at me because I was disoriented and couldn’t answer him. It was, after all, 5 am, and I had only been asleep for 3 hours. So what? I’m a night owl. The nap was decent. The waking, was not. Much to my amazement, there was no mention of the card, and he hurried out the door without even saying goodbye or I love you. I thought to myself, he was obviously in a hurry, and it fell out of his bag. He hasn’t read it. Yes! That’s it.

Then I found the card, ripped from the envelope, lying on the dining room table, just above my heart which fell to the floor beneath.

So that was my morning. How was yours?

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