Tag Archives: bully

#SelfLoveSelfie – 30 Days

This is an emergency.

For too many days in a row I have woken up with mean stories repeating in my head.  You know what I mean.  The stories accuse me of not being who I want to be or maybe just saying something stupid the night before.  They convince me that others don’t love me as much as I love them; they make me wonder if I will ever allow myself to be truly happy even though I work my ass off at it, all day, every day.  I work and I strive and I achieve and I dream and I give and I give and I give…

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Then I wake up feeling depleted and like nothing will ever be enough.

Selfies suck.

I am not one of those girls who made the “duck face” on myspace and thought she looked cute.  You won’t find me taking pictures of myself in the bathroom of a club, angled 45 degrees to the side with my hand on one hip.  I have almost no pictures of me as a teenager because I wouldn’t let my parents take them and I destroyed so many that were taken over the years. I am told I have a nice smile but when I turn the camera on now I see how my face crinkles up or the way my teeth seem too big or the fact that my mouth goes crooked… So I make the “Mel Face” (an Elvis sneer, really), call it a #selfie and post it to Instagram.  Really.  Why bother.

When you see me post a picture of myself that is actually nice or calm, where I’m not laughing my ass off or sneering or cropping it so only my eyeball appears, I am practicing.  I am looking at myself, holding my own gaze and waiting.  I wait for the mean stories to unfold.  The criticism and the fear pass through me in a matter of seconds or minutes but it can feel like an eternity.  I walk around the house waiting for the light to hit me the right way.  I smile, it seems forced.  I wait.  I smile a little less, a little more.  I wait.  I laugh.  I think “This is effing ridiculous.”

At some point I see my eyes relax.  My face softens.  I recognize a truth within myself.  I see my spirit start to emerge from behind the cold armor of fear and pain.  I see my heart in my eyes.  And then I take the picture.

I usually don’t post them.  But for 30 days I will.  Mainly because, like so many of us, I struggle with the idea of being seen exactly as I am.

I learned the art of self-love selfies (and self-care in general) from my brilliant friend and coach Hannah Marcotti.  She is always running outstanding online programs and live events.  I know I mention her just about every time I blog.  If you know her you know why.
http://www.hannahmarcotti.com

If you would like to join me, I am on Instagram and Twitter as @melmulligan
I will be using the hashtag #selfloveselfie

Melissa Mulligan is the owner and head of Artist Development at MMVS: Melissa Mulligan Vocal Studio in Connecticut, New York, California and online.  Her studio offers private voice, songwriting, piano, guitar and music lessons, group lessons, workshops and online programs.  For more information visit http://www.mymmvs.com or email mymmvs@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to tip my hat to my brilliant friends (and coaches) Hannah and Mara, who believe we need self-care Emergency Kits for days, weeks, and lunar cycles like this.

 

 

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Bullied, Bright and Brilliant

No one ever hit me so I didn’t call it bullying when I became a class scumbag.  My friends broke up with me, one per day, until there was none left; until the rest of our grade shunned me with stinging insults; until even the nice boys were barking at me in the hallways.  Every day I wondered why.  I cried tears of frustration because I did not understand.  It was impossible to think there was no reason for the onslaught of taunts, the ignoring, the vile comments, the nickname It (as in Ewww, let’s all move our desks so we don’t have to sit next to ‘It’).  Surely there was something I did, something I said, something about my face or my figure that led my classmates to despise me so deeply.

Now, not a week goes by without hearing that one of you, my beautiful, talented, bright and brilliant singers, is going through something similar.  You want to be home schooled or change schools or simply disappear into words, music, movies, anything at all.   Still, you keep singing.  You are so much stronger than I was at your age.

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Now, my friend, we are in this together.  And we deserve answers.  So let’s do this.

The act of bullying is about the bully, not the bullied.  There is nothing inherent within any one of us that deserves such treatment.  Our character is defined by how we behave, not how we are treated.  And our worth?  Our worthiness of love is a birth right that need not be earned and can not be beaten out of us.  And it is certainly not diminished by some kid with a big mouth.

Being bullied gives us the potential to change the world for the better.  We will not disappear.  We have seen that our light shines against all odds.  Our purpose is to be bright and brilliant, even in the darkness of night.

We are the peace makers.  The caretakers.  We may become coaches, musicians, scientists, counselors, writers, doctors, nurses, teachers, trainers, designers. Leaders. Creators.  We are the artists whose work inspires dream chasing and freedom.  We are idea people with high ideals.  We understand bullies and how deeply they fear us. We know ourselves and the power we hold to inspire others.

The best way to combat someone else’s cruelty is to be a caring and open person instead of closed and afraid.  Where love and hope reside, fear has no home.  So we shall keep filling our hearts with love for ourselves, our closest companions, secret hiding places and favorite songs.  Our words of hope are stronger than theirs of ignorance (and usually have more syllables).

Thank you, my friend, for showing up in this world with kindness, dignity, respect, and love.
Thank you for being a bright light of hope in the night sky.   Thank you for staying strong enough to sing.

We are in this together.