Blog Bullies of the MidLife Playground

When I was a little girl, I felt as though everyone loved me. I never questioned it. 

I didn’t have a ‘word’ for what I felt at the time, but now I remember feeling very open, and confident, and happy to be surrounded by all of the people that interacted with me in a wonderful way. The word is LOVE.

My grandfather was largely responsible for this- his adoration was epic.

I was his first grandchild, the child of his only child, my father.

From what I experienced as the years went by, he and my father didn’t get along very well. I don’t really have any earth shattering revelations about this- they just disappointed each other. 

I was sad for my grandfather, seeing how he would bristle when my father came into a room and the way my father would dismiss him. (*Note: I was never sad for my own father. I figured, even then, he deserved it. Interesting.)

I wanted Grandpa to feel the way I did- happy all the time, covered with love.

My first memory was waking in my crib and wanting my mother.

My second memory was bouncing in the arms of my Grandpa, both of us laughing.

And so it went. For many years.

HappyHappyHappy.

LoveLoveLove.

Then, I entered fifth grade and met the ‘Mean Girls’.

There was one in particular. I’ll call her Sue. She was a mind-blow.

I had never observed such calculated willful nasty.

She, somehow (and I still can’t make sense of it) had such power over the other seemingly nice kind pleasant girls, that she could control the playground. On more then one occasion, I was without anyone to play with- on her orders.

head shakingshakingshaking

Whatever.

Time went by and I found my niche in art and choir and cheerleading (that’s right- I was a cheerleader), and as Boys became more important, I developed the boobs that she could not. 

And so, I got my revenge, through evolution, and she was left in the dust. 

But she wasn’t the last, oh no.

In High School, there was this covert initiation, that bordered on a pathology that shall remain nameless (sociopathic).

An Upper Class girl would choose an incoming freshman to make life a living hell for.

My short straw was picked by a real slice of heaven I’ll call Laurie. 

She proceeded to push me, try to cut my hair, bump my lunch off of the cafeteria tray, physically prevent me from getting to class on time, trip me going down stairs, start rumors, etc, etc.

This all ended when I, 1) decided to remember my Grandfather’s love, and 2) went looking for her, found her in an empty hallway, grabbed her arms, twisted them to her back, and with my right knee pushed her fat ass into an empty locker, slammed it shut, and locked it. 

When questioned about this later, I feigned innocence, and found a quick reprieve from our Vice Principal, who I’ll call Mr. Richmond (because that’s his name) with whom I had forged an excellent grandfatherly relationship with. 

blinkblinkblink

She never bothered me again. 

Sadly, this bullshit started to trickle down into the Middle School and my sister found herself the victim of a bully. 

She cried at night. 

NoNoNo…..NoNoNoooooo

I hatched a little plan that included my best male friend, who I’ll call Reggie, whereby he and I would leave our High School campus a little early, on his Hog, and pay a visit to my sister’s Middle School playground at dismissal. 

He was to wear his Leathers. I was was to wear a smile.

Let’s just say Reggie had a ‘talk’ with the aforementioned bully.

I remember hearing him say, “If I have to come back again, our talk will be longer.”

Case closed.

So I find it very disappointing that I have, yet again, found a kind of metaphorical bullying, among blogging groups. 

Here’s how it usually plays out: An Online presence is trying to grow their following. They…

‘Reach-out’ and ask for submissions.  

You submit. 

Your piece is accepted, and published.

They ask again.

Again- accepted and published.

This seems like a marriage made in a kind of Heaven only a writer could imagine- but it’s not.

Heaven.

It’s more like the ‘Mean Girls’ are still controlling the playground, and we’re letting them.

I’m talking Compensation, Ladies- either in the form of money or credit. 

We are, instead, convinced (by them) that the possibility of additional readers is compensation enough.

In the meantime, the Online presence is raking in paid endorsements, paid speaking engagements, interviews, and any other form of ‘raking’ they can finagle. 

And we are letting them.

I know that writers want to be read. 

I know that writing have never, historically, been a high paying field.

I know that we all wanna ‘feel the love’, but our voices, and experiences, and wisdom, and craft, have a VALUE over and above the breadcrumbs that are scattered about to our poor little anti-confrontational demure peace loving Spanx clad bodies.

And ya know what really pisses me off?

The bread that those crumbs are being gathered from is more and more being baked, and distributed, by other women. 

Could it be that this is just another form of playground bullying?

That using someone for your own advantage is still wrong? 

I hope so.

As one of thousands of middle-aged women who are trying to find, yet again, another voice, to reinvent themselves, after raising the kids, and getting the meals on the table, and working at a job that didn’t fulfill their little girl dreams, because they grew-up in the loving arms of an adoring Grandfather, and have been too scared to shove anyone in a locker…

I will give free lessons.

My name is Cheryl

PINIMAGE
Telling him a secret…
“I think I’m going to grow up and not take any shit from anyone.
Okay?”

PINIMAGE
Learning how to be confident
in the lap of my Champion.

PINIMAGE
I have decided to wash the car and paint the house.
He decided to assist me, instead of telling me NO.
Later that day, we bought and traded stocks, and I got a driver’s license.

PINIMAGE
Even at Grown-up dinner parties
I was at the head of the table- with him.












  • Bryan Jones - A really interesting post. It left me with a few thoughts to take away:
    1. Bullying, harassment and exploitation can take many forms;
    2. Girls can be extraordinarily mean with each other (I’ve seen many examples in relation to my daughter, who is now 19);
    3. You’re an excellent writer;
    4. I must remember to never mess with you – you clearly can handle yourself!

    A really interesting read.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - I believe you’ve hit on a few of the pertinent ‘take-aways’. There are others, and I hope this post begins a more truthful conversation among some of my brethren. Bryan, you are one of my favorite readers. I always learn something from your comments. Thank you for participating.ReplyCancel

  • Travels with Tam - Hmmm. I’m pondering.
    ReplyCancel

  • geekbabe - I think it is our job to look out for our own interests, physically, emotionally, fiscally. Only you can decide if accepting a writing gig will be beneficial to your bottom line in enough ways to make doing the work worthwhile. If you’ve published with the site in question before did you receive a significant boost in readership? If you did then perhaps a second post might be worthwhile, if you didn’t then a simple “thank you for asking but I can’t fit this into my editorial calendar” will suffice. The idea that business women are supposed to share the wealth in ways that business men do not or risk being called “bullies” seems unfair imho.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - I totally agree that ‘business’ women SHOULD operate using the same business model as anyone else. What I’m speaking to here is the disingenuous nature of using ‘we support you’ as a ploy to gather uncompensated material. I appreciate your comment as it hopefully has allowed me to clarify my direction in this post. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Teri - Awesome And I Totally Agree……..!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie DeYoung - I love that you don’t take shit from anyone. I’m just now getting to the place where I’m tired of being taken advantage of – no more free work from me, internet! Or at least, mostly… πŸ˜‰ReplyCancel

  • Doreen McGettigan - Hmmm I am pondering as well. I find it hard to say no sometimes to providing free content but one of my goals for 2014 is to write full time so it is time to be compensated.
    As far as bullying, I’ve only come across ones in my writing world.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - There is all kinds of advantage-taking institutions and people in the world. As women continue to become a true force to be reckoned with, and are recognized, in very important ways in American society, we must be cognizant that unethical behavior is not just male-centric.
      One a lighter note: All the best, and wishing you tremendous success with your goals! Thank you for stopping by Doreen.ReplyCancel

  • The Shitastrophy - Well, I am a contributor to two sites that do not pay and one site that does. And I am ok with that. The one site is new, run by one of my favorite ladies, and gives me an outlet for my political/news addiction (LeftyPop). The other is WTFlicka. I chose to o WTF bc it had a larger reach and I wanted to dip my foot in that pool of readers. Not sure it will be a longterm affair. I also get paid in Google currency, which in SEO world is like gold. So I guess I am saying – sometimes the payment is not in cash but it is still important. Does that make sense?

    I also know damn well to keep you in my rolodex – the locker just solidifies that.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - All excellent online publishers, and yes, sometimes the payment isn’t in cash, but no matter the compensation, it should be followed through with integrity. Your’e in my ‘speed dail’, as well. πŸ˜‰ReplyCancel

  • House Crazy Sarah - How touching Cheryl – I never had a grandparent like that. Then again, I was never a confident loved little girl πŸ™ So your grampa was a god-send!
    I say fuck the bullies and do your thing. When bloggers become all big and corporatized like that and won’t adequately compensate you for your work – they are just greedy assholes.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com - Interesting read. Your blog title caught my eye and drew me in but I’m not sure I agree that what you are calling bullying. I’ve been a writer and a published author for a long time now and I’ve been paid and I’ve been not paid many times over. While receiving income from you work can sometimes be a necessary requirement, the joy and freedom to write my blog without concern of compensation is one of the great joys I experience in my life. Ultimately I think it all depends on what your intentions are about whether you see exposure of your work as a benefit–or if you see it as being taken advantage of. But I think at our age, we really do have a choice. And if it’s a choice…I don’t consider that to be bullying.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - There are many women attempting to reinvent themselves that are just getting used to being ‘powerful’ in all if it’s forms. Many of these women, even though they may have choices in front of them, are not used to saying ‘No’, or do not have the experience to be able to recognize it when they are being taken advantage of. Those of us that do, I feel, have an obligation to advocate for them. I appreciate your chiming in here. Your comments are always so welcome. Thanks KathyReplyCancel

  • Beverly Diehl - Whether it’s sex, your lunch money, or writing articles for free, women should always feel free to say NO. With a smile, or just closing that bitch in the locker and slamming it shut.ReplyCancel

  • Donna - I loved this!! I think I actually heard the Braveheart music playing in the background! Thank you…remember it is a commandment to be courageous…just sayingReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - So funny! (and a little scary?). HA! I like the Commandments- excellent rules to live by. Hey- you just gave me an idea for a post! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time out of your day to leave a comment. I truly appreciate it Donna.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - Very interesting points! I have written for sites for free in order to grow my readership but have refused for sites that say that they, unfortunately, cannot publish a link to my blog (WTH?!!). I’m pretty content with my readership and I don’t think I would ever write for free (as in not get compensated in one form or the other!)ReplyCancel

  • Sonya Mann - Interesting. I think the compensation-for-content thing is really important, but it does vary from situation to situation. I can envision scenarios where it would be worth it to me to write a free guest post, and other scenarios where I would be insulted by the request.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - I totally agree. But I’m not just talking money. I’m saying there are other ways to compensate and they are not being followed- thru on. Nice to see a new commentator. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.ReplyCancel

    • Sonya Mann - Oh, okay. I misunderstood slightly. With that clarification, I totally agree with you!ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - You write a post. You hope you’re clear. Usually there is something that you could have explained better. Oh- the life of a writer. Thanks Sonya for giving me the opportunity to clarify.ReplyCancel

  • Terrye Toombs - That is one of the very reasons I got so disgusted with blogging. It was making writing no longer an enjoyable experience.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Terrye!!!! So happy to see you! It certainly can make it unenjoyable- not the writing (for me) but the way I have seen some women discarded- or not asked to participate because of a point-of-view that is in actuality NOT aligned with an online magazine that touts ‘all are welcome’. What have you been up too girlfriend?ReplyCancel

  • enchantedseashells - I agree with everything you say and admire your honesty and courage.ReplyCancel

  • bookworm - I haven’t tried (yet) to write content for other sites. But I know a blogger/children’s book author who has told me time and again that people seem to expect her and fellow creatives to “work for free”. As for the bullying, someone I used to work with has a daughter;one of her daughter’s friends committed suicide at the age of 12 due to bullying. I have tweeted your blog post. I enjoyed it more than any of your other posts that I’ve read.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Oh, my goodness Dear Bookworm. Of all the comments that I have receive, thus far, yours speaks to me. Bullies come in all shapes and forms, and have all sorts of foundation garments. Will it never end?ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - It was my youngest brother that was bullied at our one room country schoolhouse. I learned judo and wrestling (from my father’s books) and beat the, uh, whey out of them. As for blogging, I do it, but not like some of the writers. I don’t have time and as you said, it doesn’t pay.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Mari- what I enjoy about you the most- is that you write about a time of life that is so dear- and so far off (though not in calendar years). The time when seemingly ‘little’ things mattered-when just a warm bed and food, fought off the land, was a reason to celebrate. Your memories are a celebration for me. Of course you don’t have the time. You know what’s important.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Coleman - It’s about time someone had the courage to say the emperor was naked! I find myself retreating because if that…thinking or feeling it’s personal. Glad to hear I’m not alone in those thoughts. Great post!ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Barbara you are not alone, unheard. So many need an advocate, to be better appreciated. We need to support each other like we are kin. It had better start at personal. That is what I expect from the ‘better sex’. No matter that we are but on of two choices.ReplyCancel

  • Heather Lian - I’m just starting out, so no one is interested in asking me to write for them yet, but I think that for everything there is a season. I see how writing for free could have it’s advantages, but I also see just how easy it would be for some to be taken advantage of. Luckily, I share your ‘take no shit’ attitude, so I’m not easily bullied – in life or the blogosphere. Empowering post!ReplyCancel

  • CARDENAS NAIDA - My name is Mr Cardenas,my wife was having affair with a senior secretary in her office. I love this woman so much that i would not want to share her with any body. i told her to retire from the job and i would take care of all her needs but she would take it because she is been embraced by everybody in her office, this normally leads to quarrel every-time. i tried all i can to please her and she will promise to be good , some days later she will turn back to her normal way.
    i was nearly loosing out, i could not focus in my job, my whole life was full of sorrow and i was thinking i should kill the other man my self and put an end to all this until i saw a testimony from a blog on how DR EDIONWE could cast a love spell to bring lovers back no matter what is behind the disappointment. so i decided to write him via email. edionwesolutiontemple@yahoo.com and now all my wishes are exactly as i wanted. She told me everything that has happened secretly in the past and i forgave her as DR EDIONWE instructed me to and she loves me and care for me as i ever wanted. i know there are many spells that do not work but i want to assure all you out there no matter what you have been trough to have faith and believe that this is the final solution to your problem.
    Even if my job is taking most of my time, the little free time i have , i will share the good news to everyone in the world because i know that with love brings happiness and hope for a long life.ReplyCancel

  • A Pleasant House - you lost me at, ” …but she has been embraced by everybody in her office…” She must be very tired.ReplyCancel

  • pia - Love love love this post.
    I would add–deciding what constitutes a great post and how it should be formatted. Because sometimes I do write for fun–it’s my passion and I’ve always been told I’m good and had a blogging audience almost from the first day.
    But I feel “bullied” by “what makes a great post” and maybe I’m slow but don’t understand why story telling in its pure form isn’t considered good form anymoreReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - I forgot that one. It’s all the SEO and KEYWORD and embedded CODE that drives so much these days. It’s actually hard to find a pure ‘story’ these days. I appreciate you bringing this up. Thanks Pia.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Everyone should have at least one person who loves them this much.
    will comment back – http://www.oldfashionmom.comReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - I can’t think of any way to respond cleverly, to such a succinct and beautiful comment, so I’ll just say, “Yes”.ReplyCancel

  • Angel The Alien - Your grandfather sounds awesome! I don’t have any experience with the thing you are talking about with posting on other sites, because I haven’t posted on any other sites. But I definitely have experience being bullied as a kid, and I believe it still happens in multiple forms as adults!ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Yes it does. And for those that have a hard time being able to smell a skunk, or for those to whom saying ‘No’ is difficult, I feel some of us should stand up for them.
      Thanks for stopping by Angel.ReplyCancel

  • William Kendall - Wonderful post, Cheryl.

    We all have a point with some people, where enough’s enough.

    I do some free content for a website, but it’s not really a drain of time at all.ReplyCancel

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