A Bully Story

AbullyStory

Bullying has impacted my life and the lives of my family members and so I am very intolerant of it. As I was going through some writing prompts, I saw one that asked writers to write about an experience with bullying. So here goes:

When I was in high school, I saw students showing livestock at the fair and knew I wanted to be a part of that. So first chance I got, I enrolled in the Agriculture program at my school and was soon a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). I raised a lamb and two pigs at the Kern County Fair and was involved in some contests.

The bullying incident occurred while I was on the Cotton Judging team. I had befriended a girl, we’ll call her Lilly. She was a freshman and was new to the FFA, but she was a godsend to our cotton judging team. Our agriculture teacher saw potential in her. She did really well during practices, made stellar reasons for her arguments, and was a joy to hang out with. I remember she always wore her long, dirty blonde hair styled in an edgy, rocker do. Her thick eyeliner and low socioeconomic status made her an easy target for the rich preppy girls on our team.

I was also from a low-income family and found it easy to relate to her. Most of our team was composed of rich girls who had nice houses and less than a care in the world. So I guess there was bound to be some bullying taking place.

One morning we were all crowded in our agriculture classroom getting ready to head out to another city for a contest later that day. FFA members have a certain uniform that they wear. For girls it was a black skirt, pantyhose, a white collared shirt, an FFA tie thing, and an FFA jacket. There might have been other parts of the uniform, but I can’t remember right now. What I do remember is that on this particular day, Lilly had forgotten her tie. She hadn’t realized she had forgotten it until we were already at the site of the competition.

She was understandably nervous about informing our Ag teacher, because he had specifically asked if everyone had their uniform ready before we left the school grounds. We had all replied in the affirmative. Lilly didn’t want to disappoint him. She came to me with tears in her eyes and explained the situation.

I had a lot of faith in the resourcefulness and kindness of our Ag teacher, and so I told him. He shocked me, by replying with very stern remarks and an angry, red-faced expression. I don’t know if he was stressed that day or what, but Lilly did not take it well.

Keep in mind that the entire morning, the preppy girls on our team had been poking fun at Lilly, and so Lilly was not in the best state for dealing with an angry teacher. I told Lilly it would be ok and that we could share ties if at all possible.

Now anyone who has ever participated in FFA contests knows that before the contest begins, the girl’s bathroom is always full of teen girls checking themselves in the mirror, ensuring that every part of their outfit and hairstyle is in its proper place. This day was no different. As my friend, Ivy, and I ventured into the bathroom, we saw a very upsetting sight.

The preppy girls were bunched in front of a bathroom stall. I could hear their words spilling out like venom and knew immediately who was hiding in the stall. Poor Lilly was upset and crying over her tie and our teammates’ harsh words. Ivy and I immediately set to action and got those little brats away from the stall. It took a while to reassure Lilly that those girls didn’t matter and to get her focus back on the contest.

Karma got them though. If I remember correctly (and I do), Lilly walked away with an award that day, while those rich girls just watched.

The thing is that the bullying didn’t stop there. A few weeks later we had another contest to attend. This time, one of the rich girl’s parents was going to be driving our van to the contest. You can imagine how that went.

It was early in the morning and we were all supposed to meet in the school parking lot. My friend Ivy & I were running late. Our teacher always said that if we were ever late, that the driver was to leave anyways, even if some of the team members were left behind. So that’s what I expected to happen. Instead, Rich Mama waited for us. As soon as Ivy and I got to the school van we were greeted by a very unhappy Rich Mama and her daughter.

Rich Mama scolded Ivy and I for being late while her daughter was in the van making fun of Lilly. This was way too much for my teenage mind to handle. I told Rich mama that she could have left like the teacher had told her to, and it was her decision to wait for us and make the rest of the team late. I also told her that it wasn’t like her daughter was winning any prizes anyways and that Ivy and I had been winning prizes (This was true as Ivy and I had been winning ribbons at other contests prior to this encounter). Rich mama looked upset, but we all loaded up into the van and set out for the contest.

Of course, I was scolded the next day at school by my Ag teacher. He said that I was lacking humility by talking to Rich Mama like that. I told him my side of the story, but it didn’t matter.

Sometimes it never does I guess. After all, Rich mama was part of the Alumni Association for our school’s FFA chapter and she contributed money to the chapter. Why tell her anything and risk losing sponsorship? I guess money clouds many people’s minds, no matter how well-intentioned.

I walked away that day angry for what was happening to Lilly and why the adults wouldn’t do anything to stop it. I was also angry at how Rich Mama felt she could treat my friends and I. Why does money separate people? Who made a rule that people from different socioeconomic classes couldn’t get along?

By the time I graduated high school, Lilly was doing much better. Of course she didn’t hang out with those preppy girls, but she had found her own niche and was prospering there. I don’t know what happened to her after high school. Maybe I’ll try and get in touch. Food for thought.

Til next time,

Paige

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Walking Around Town

Winter has come and I hate it!! Bakersfield is really cold right now. My body doesn’t like the cold and so I have grown to despise winter. It’s not too bad yet, there isn’t even frost on the grass, but the cold is tough on my joints, especially my knees.  I made a trip to Walmart yesterday and got a pair of bright purple sweat pants and a bright blue sweatshirt (that were on sale -yay!)

Although my family wasn’t fond of my color scheme, I love the pretty bright colors and I ALWAYS mismatch (like, seriously, especially my socks). Who would have thought that a simple change of attire would change my outlook on winter? These are so warm and cozy, they make me want to curl up on my bed and drink hot cocoa all day!

Anyways, I was going through my photos and happened upon some pics of when Charlie and I went for a walk over some train tracks in October. This was a pretty gloomy day and it drizzled a bit, but it wasn’t cold yet.

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Charlie took to the stairs like a pro!
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Gloomy sky over Bakersfield

Paiges Book Club: Book Review #5

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Book: Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice

Author: Adam Benforado

1. What made me want to read this book?

As I was walking through the Beale Memorial Library in Bakersfield, glancing at the New Nonfiction section, I stopped short when I saw the title word Unfair on the cover of this book. I have always contemplated whether or not the world is a fair place, and if you have ever debated with me on the living room couch, you know that I have always had trouble accepting the fact that sometimes unfair things happen to good people. So it seemed fitting that I would see a book so appropriately titled at the library. After I read the title and the book cover, I happily placed this book on the ever growing pile that was already in my arms. I walked out of the library with 7 books in hand, this one being at the top of my must-read list.

2. Which passages were the most interesting, disturbing, humorous, or sad?

Every chapter, actually, every page of this book was interesting. Many pages were disturbing, as Benforado described criminal cases that were either shocking in terms of the crime committed, or shocking in the way the case was handled. This is definitely a must-read for anyone interested in the criminal justice field, as this book enlightens readers on the often unfortunate outcomes of the American justice system. Honestly, I believe that every American should read this book because, the truth is, any one of us can be falsely accused of a crime, or be called on to serve as a juror. This book has shocked me into the reality of the present day justice system and has not only pointed out the flaws, but also potential solutions.

3. What has this book taught me? Has it broadened my perspective on the world or some part of my life?

I have learned to be careful in life, to be sure of what words to choose before speaking, and to always advocate for progress and improvement in all fields. For example, the author of Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice, sheds light on the flaws of human kind in dealing with crimes. This is not the first book I have read about the criminal justice field or policing, but it is the first that I have read that contains such a great amount of evidence showing the flaws of our justice system. I always thought that in this modern day, the criminal justice system had fixed some of its major problems, such as police coercion. Reading this book has taught me that many issues still exist and are prevalent today.

4. Has this book changed my opinion about anything or anyone?

This book has changed my opinion about the American legal system. It has also shown me that humans are very flawed and biased, and it is difficult to be objective in our dealings. Benforado brought up the fact that any human, whether he or she be a juror, police officer, an eyewitness, or a judge, has deep rooted biases that are nearly impossible to put to the side when making important decisions about other people’s lives.

5. What is the writing style like? Engaging, boring, easy to understand?

This author writes in a very direct, to the point fashion. Although much of the book was easy to understand, there were a few words that I had to look up to ensure I had the proper understanding. This book was very engaging and eye-opening and I hope many more people read it!

As always feel free to join me in reading and discussing each book!

Have you read this book and want to share? Feel free to post in the comments section below!

Happy reading!

-Paige

Rough Seas Ahead

Longtime

So yesterday I logged onto Paige’s Posts Facebook page and was greeted by a message saying it’s been 31 days since my last post. Geez-I can’t believe it’s been that long! I miss blogging and sharing stories about life, however uneventful it may be.

Truthfully, I haven’t posted anything recently because I haven’t been doing much. As you all know, I moved back to Bakersfield earlier this year and am still trying to discover who I am and where I see myself in the future. It’s a hard thing to decide-at least for me.

I’ve been actively, desperately, job searching since I moved to Bakersfield and have not had much luck. Struggling to remain positive is exhausting, but at least now I get to see my family and I’ll be able to see them for the holidays this year. (I didn’t return home for the holidays while I was away at Davis the last two years). On top of this, I’ve been getting those stress-inducing emails about my student loan repayment dates. They are closing in on me and I’m anticipating a rough next year.

To compound this situation, I’ve been struggling with the concept of happiness. This is a big issue for me. I mean, one of the reasons I interview college students is to see where happiness fits into the equation of life. Is it worth pursuing an education in order to follow one’s dreams and be happier? If so, then why do most people not do this? Is there such a thing as happy living?

I see on Facebook and other social media people posting how much they hate their jobs. I ask myself, well, why do people work at jobs that they hate? Are these people then filled with regret, because they didn’t follow their heart? I know how it feels to have a job that is less then desirable. I’ve had my share of past job experiences, but now that I’m older and I hear all these people saying to live happily and follow one’s passions and dreams-I just don’t understand. How is one supposed to live happily and follow one’s passions and dreams without breaking the bank?

I read books about people who had to sacrifice their family for their careers, and so even after attaining their financial freedom, they are left with a hole. It’s just scary to me.

I want to be a veterinarian, I want to serve those less fortunate then myself, but I know it’s going to take a while to reach that goal. Along the way, people try to test my determination, they continually question my ability and desire to become a veterinarian. “Do you really think your dreams are going to come true?” “You aren’t still trying to be a vet are you?”.

It makes me wonder, when do I throw in the towel? I mean, I have this amazing and often overwhelming desire to help people and animals. I sign up for these volunteer clinics and I always walk away with a new perspective and determination. Then I see all the people around me, many who have given up on their dreams. They wake up each morning, go to work and say “I wish I had done this…” or “I hate my job, I wish I would have pursued (name of dream career)”.

I guess this is just the other side of the coin, the less happy side. I’m sure I’ll get through this rough patch. I don’t know about my future, all I can do is keep trying and adapting to changes as they come.

What I know for sure is that I want to keep blogging. That can be constant. More posts to come.

-Paige