Friday, September 08, 2017

Burn The Bully


I recently read an article in Vanity Fair about the differences between Millenials and Generation X, wherein it was stated that Gen-Xers were the last to have the old-time childhood, where “you were assigned a bully along with a homeroom teacher.”  A quaint sentiment, though I rather think this kind of bully has become outdated and gone the way of the VHS.  Bullies come in all shapes and sizes but the bully’s main credo is to torment and terrorize the different. 

A bully is defined in the dictionary as an “aggressive person.”  But what about the passive-aggressive bully?  The family member, co-worker or friend who masquerades as the one on your side, but undercuts and mocks you when you are just spreading your wings.  You might not even be around to see or hear their vitriol directed at you, but you know it’s there, just as you know you’re coming down with a cold or there’s a towel mildewing in the washer. 

There’s the proactive bully who talks over you in a meeting and there’s the cowardly bully “friend” who stops talking to you when things are going well in your life.  Either way the effect is the same: It is meant to control and punish.  Someone who is seen as doing their own thing will be pounced on. Making positive changes in your life?  This will be frowned on by those who don’t wish for your happiness.  This will be mocked and pounced on by your bully.  Sometimes recognizing and weeding out the bullies in your life can take years.

Perhaps the bully was bullied themselves and, rather than seek to resolve those issues within themselves, turn to shaming or intimidating others.  Perhaps they have unresolved creative longings they are too afraid to express, and so turn to bringing down those who do.  Perhaps they are just an asshole.  Either way, it is not for us to try to get inside the bully’s head.  That would take energy away from our creative exploits and our life journey.  The bully has his own path to walk.

For the writer, all this oppressive jerking around, whether it’s outright harassment or quietly manipulative, can have disastrous effects.  The writer MUST protect herself and her fellow artists from being pulled into the bully’s mind-f*ck.  And for this we have a ceremony this year at the Central Coast Writer’s Conference:  BURN THE BULLY.  Free to the public.  Inspired by conference presenter Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why.  You don’t have to attend the conference to attend this healing event (though I highly recommend you do).

Come on down and burn your personal bully, and get back to kicking ass.