::GUEST BLOGGER:: Triumph Over Definition.

Note from Raylynn: I am very pleased to turn the blog over to my quirky and delightful sister, Lena, for a guest post of great proportions.  This isn't her first time on the blog and I highly recommend you check out her other post too by going HERE.  Lena is a soon-to-be senior in college in Montana and is our family's resident writer, artist, Doctor Who fan and fan girl extraordinaire.  I hope you enjoy her post as much as I do!  Be sure to check out our GIVEAWAY at the end of her blog post.  

Hello again, R’s lovelies! After making my debut on “Let it Be & Celebrate” I just couldn’t pass up a chance to make an encore appearance. It’s absolutely fantastic to be here with you all once again. Alright. now that we’ve gotten the sentimentalities out of the way, I’m just gonna go for it.
A couple years ago, I was exposed, for the first time, to a delightful young British singer named Ronan Parke. He competed on “Britain’s Got Talent” and has been developing a name for himself ever since. The centerpiece of my musings today is his song, “Defined” (I won’t feel bad if you decide to take a quick break to look it up. In fact, I hope you WILL HERE. The music video will provide an excellent visual backdrop for my thoughts). It speaks out against being labeled/stereotyped by others and feeling inferior because of it. In other words, bullying. Yep. I said it—the big, bad, B-word.
I’ve always been a passionate advocate for anti-bullying. I’ve had my fair share of it. Fortunately, it didn’t get the better of me and I continue to live my life trying to pretend it never happened. But it did. I don’t remember everything that was said/done to me, but my subconscious still does. It’s not something that can be turned off like a light switch; there’s more to it than that.
The mind of the bullied is in a near constant state of paranoia regarding their self-esteem, self-worth, and overall social acceptance. Symptoms include social awkwardness, low self-esteem, and having the need for strong, meaningful relationships. Below you will find not a textbook explanation of these symptoms, but explanations from the point of view of a survivor—from my point of view. I hope you find yourselves better educated on this life-changing epidemic infecting our society.
Symptom #1: social awkwardness. A survivor will oftentimes be afraid of social settings. They have trouble leading out in friendships and general conversations with others due to fear of saying the “wrong thing” and being rejected. Going to social events alone can be paralyzing for this very reason. Keeping to themselves is typical. However, when they find themselves in comfortable social situations, they are capable of being the life of the party.
Symptom #2: low self-esteem. A survivor is constantly questioning themselves. If they were bullied because of their physical appearance, on what part of themselves will they be particular harsh about? Anyone? Anyone? Yes, you in the back row? Very good—you are correct: their physical appearance (not exactly rocket science, is it?). Finding themselves attractive can be difficult because they were forced to believe that they are not. When such a concept is so heavily emphasized, the mind perceives it as a fact, not an opinion. Thanks to having this mindset, survivors tend to appreciate compliments even more so than what can be considered “normal.” Being assured of their beauty and worth (physically and mentally) is vital to their self-esteem. On the other side of the scale, having low self-esteem leads to the development of shoddy sarcasm filters. They may occasionally have trouble discerning the difference between sarcasm and sincerity. That being said, sarcastic remarks aimed directly at a survivor can be hurtful because they cannot tell if the one producing the remark is being serious or is “just kidding.”
Survivors find it difficult to take constructive criticism. They know that it is necessary for personal growth and know how to respond to it. However, they have to carefully monitor themselves to ensure that they don’t take it too personally, otherwise they may go into an emotional tailspin.

Symptom #3: the need for strong, meaningful relationships. More than anything, a survivor needs good relationships. They don’t need very many, but the ones they do have mean more to them than the other party/parties may ever understand. When they form strong relationships, they are willing to do anything in their power to maintain them and have no shame in being doting and affectionate. They have a constant hunger to feel wanted. Personalized attention is also extremely important. They hate being a numbered face in the crowd. They need to feel cared about.
As you can see, bullying has a lifelong effect. It triggers the same area of the brain that retains subconscious memories of a traumatic experience. Bullying IS a traumatic experience—an ongoing one. Why does it happen?? So many people (of all ages) struggle with being a victim of this heartless act of cruelty. I think a main reason this occurs can be attributed to a fear of the different. If it’s not “normal,” it’s not “acceptable.” Victims are therefore categorized and stereotyped. Bullies themselves may also have their own issues to work through, which can cause aggressive behavior. Cause-wise, the road runs both ways. It’s tragic.
So what can you do (hypothetically)? Tread softly and be kind to everyone. Be mindful. Be considerate. Have compassion. I can’t and won’t be defined. I live my own life. I’m free to be nothing but me. Yeah, I’m free to be ME.
The moral of the story: BE NICE to people.  Our differences make us unique and oh so fabulous.  Just. Be. YOU.  
Please take the time to enter our giveaway from the lovely Suzi, owner and creator of Just Be Purses in Hyrum, Utah.  An awesome, unique, one-of-a-kind clutch, with a secret surprise gift card inside, is up for grabs this week. Be sure to check out the Just Be Purses Facebook page HERE and go see them in person at Logan's SummerFest on June 18-20.  It is their only show this summer so be sure to visit!  Thank you for your continued support of our cause; I love your work & message.  
Until next time, my lovelies!
-R (and L, too)

Follow me on Facebook HEREInstagram and Twitter (@beyoudesignut).

 Cure Child Anxiety


  1. Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks, sis! Glad you enjoyed it. Lena did an awesome job.

  2. Powerful words Lena, it would be a better world if everyone would just be kind and thoughtful of others.

    1. Thank you, Mamma B! We are glad you liked it. xo

  3. Great insights! I'm proud of each of my girls, all three of whom are represented in one way or another on this post.

  4. This is beautiful, Lena. You are very insightful and articulate. Yes, you were bullied, as was I. Being bullied leaves its residual scars. I have this quote from Ecclesiasticus 28:17-18, of the Apocrypha, on the wall in my office:
    "The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh: but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones. Many have fallen by the edge of the sword: but not so many as have fallen by the tongue."

    When I was about 16 or 17 (43-ish years ago), I was a passive witness, thus giving tacit approval, to a harsh incident of bullying by a friend of another young man our age. Even after all these years, I still feel deep regret for not having had the courage to stop that bullying. On the other side of the coin, however, there was a young man who was bullied but I was always nice to him. Later he was my dad's home teaching companion. The young man frequently told my dad how much he appreciated my acceptance of and kind treatment toward him.