Sunday, 30 March 2014


The term 'cyberbullying' has been thrown around the media in a way that almost makes it unnoticeable. We read of paedophilia, porn sites, the effects on children, and this can sometimes make cyberbullying an 'it-could-never-happen-to-me' phenomenon but, the truth is, we are closer than we think. We are putting ourselves out there more and more online. We are exposing more of ourselves on sites like Facebook, on forums and blog sites where we have no idea of the audience, and talking to people we would never have met without the internet. This is incredible, as we can glimpse cultures we wouldn't otherwise have known and meet people from many different areas of the life spectrum. However, we can also see more of the darker side of human nature, and that isn't something that ends up being easy.

The internet is very easy to manipulate. You can create an image of yourself, as the person that you'd like other people to see and, since you aren't in physical contact with these people, they only see the 'good' side of you. We try to teach this to children, to stress that E-safety is of  utmost importance and it is, it's just, we never really got taught about it ourselves. Our children are learning things we never learned and the trouble is, when you do learn them, you learn the hard way.

My experience of the internet as a negative force hit me quite hard. Well, in truth, it hit me very hard and I can't say that I am thrilled with the way I coped with it. I've come out the other side now, I'd like to say, but I still get a jolt here and there when I see people communicating with those people who really, really hurt me. I'm not for a second saying that they shouldn't, I'm just saying that it hurts.

The trouble with being online is that you don't see all sides of the story. When you are receiving messages undermining you and your personality, only you and the senders are seeing those messages. You are trapped, frozen, because the senders are painting you out to be a difficult, unreasonable person and you don't feel as though you have any evidence to the contrary. You don't want to seem like a snitch, or seem like you're whining, or as though you're simply being paranoid, because, in your mind, that's how other people might perceive you. After all, the messages don't necessarily say anything properly insulting, they are more a sly attack on your character and who you are, so you're caught between a rock and a hard place, and you have no idea what is being said to anybody else or who, if anyone, you can trust. You can't tell anyone because, after all, what could you say? These people said that I didn't care about my friends? That I came across as arrogant? Nevermind that conversations such as these may have gone on for hours, or, in a sense, for months. People might laugh. These people were your friends. Isn't it just friendly banter? Aren't you just making a mountain out of a molehill? People might wonder why you are getting upset about something so trivial. I mean, we come across negative opinions every single day, why would this be any different?

What I am saying - or trying to - is that cyberbullying can take place in many forms. We read about it being a certain way but it can present in so many others. No one way is harder than another. No one way should be written off because it is not 'bad enough' or because you don't 'see' it or because you have mutual friends with the people in question. It still feels like sometimes there is a knife in your chest and it is twisting. And, the trouble is, no matter how much you block these people out of your life, they're still going to have mutual friends with them, and it is still going to feel like they're working against you, every single day.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

It’s time to talk.
ime to listen.
'Strike up a conversation.

Turn the kettle on.
Invite someone to have a chat.
Meet everybody with a smile.
Email a friend you’d lost contact with.

Text somebody.
Open your door.

Take some time to learn and think
And remember you are not alone
Let yourself speak, and listen too
Know that someone will always be there for you.
I want you to do something for me. You can close your eyes if you wish, but don't feel pressured to. I want you to think about yourself. I want you to imagine those words in your head. I want you to notice them. Do not fixate on them, just notice them. Think about them. Think about whether they are good or bad. Think about which ones step forward in your mind. Are those words good or bad?

Now I want you to think about those words that you used to negatively describe yourself. Think about when you first started to dislike yourself. How old were you? For me, I was 7 years old, so for the purpose of this exercise, we shall use that age. Tailor the age to the one that is in your head.

Imagine yourself as that seven year old. Imagine that seven year old child sitting across the room from you; on the bed, the sofa, a chair, the floor... wherever feels comfortable. Turn and look at the seven year old child. Now tell the child all those horrible things that you just thought about yourself. Go on, say it. Say it to the child. Tell her/him that they are nasty, evil, useless, pathetic, fat, horrible... Tell this to a child.

Was it hard to tell a seven year old that they were evil? Did it sit right?

I saw this exercise or exchange on My Mad Fat Diary, in Monday (31st March)'s episode. I admit that I might not have written it well, it was aired on a comedy drama and I am not qualified in any way to know what I am talking about but, regardless of all of that, I think that the scene held a powerful message. The little girl or boy inside of you still exists, s/he's still there, and every time that you tell yourself that you are horrible, you are telling the child inside you too.

"Remember that little girl/boy, s/he is counting on you to protect her/him." I think that's true. There is a child within us all and who is going to protect that child if we don't? The child and ourselves, we are one and the same, and, perhaps, we need to start being kind to ourselves as we would a child, who is perfectly innocent and kind and loving. I guess it hit me because I never really thought of it that way and, when you keep this in the forefront of your mind, well, it's hard to be horrible to a child, even if you want to be horrible to yourself.
I decided to wake up my old blogger, though I have deleted the previous posts that I had on this blog because they seem like a life time ago and I am not the same person I was back then. I've always wanted to have a blog and, I suppose, in a way, I have always engaged in blog type activities, be that in the form of my previous blog, or Tumblr, or LiveJournal, or something. I like writing. It's a good way to express yourself in a way that gives you space to breathe and think about what you want to say, rather than tripping up on your words and not managing to form an articulate sentence...

So a bit about myself. I'm Annabelle. I'm 22 (I very nearly said 21 but who's counting... *cough*don't-want-to-get-old*cough*). I am in second year, studying a BSc Psychology at university. I like tea, my cats, dancing, my friends and the sunshine. When I can, I draw and write. Maybe my blog will be a space for that, I don't know?

I think that's all for now, since I don't want to bore you, so get back to your cup of tea and/or Saturday night television and relax a little :).