Tag Archives: bullies

The Teri Tome–My 2020 Hits and Misses

I can’t believe my blog, The Teri Tome, is five years old already. Wow, those years flew by way too fast.

Sitting here writing this blog post, I’m trying to remember back to 2015, and sadly, nothing earth-shattering is coming to mind.

Maybe it’s because my memory is shot, or maybe it’s because, in 2020, life interrupted my recollection of anything pre-covid.

And okay, maybe I sound like Trump when I say:

Corona, corona, corona. Corona, corona, corona. I’m so sick of corona.

Stick me in the arm with the vaccine already!

I’m sure you would all agree that 2020 was a lot to deal with. Okay, it was a dystopic sh**storm. And I’m happy to say buh-bye to all 366 days of it. (2020 was a leap year, remember?)

But, to be fair, it hasn’t been all bad. Forty-three long weeks in quarantine has taught me a lot about myself and my definition of essential.

In the early months of 2020, I considered it my lost year.

Until I realized that 2020 was the year I found myself. I’m a changed and hopefully better person than when I naively rang in 2020.

I’ve questioned the fundamentals of “normal,” and going back to my pre-covid life as my pre-covid self isn’t an option.

Just to be clear, I haven’t locked myself down for the past ten months because I’m afraid corona’s gonna get me.

My reason for living like a hermit all these months is simple. Without my family and close friends, I have no reason to venture out.

Let me break down my pre-Covid routine for you:

My standing nail salon appointment: I’ve perfected my mani-pedi skills, and my nails have never been healthier.

My monthly haircut and color: I’ve become adept at trimming my hair, and I’m okay with going grey.

Grocery shopping: I always despised shopping for groceries, so having them delivered works for me.

Clothes and shoe shopping: 2020 was the year I wore schlumpf clothes 24/7. Schlumpf is a thing. Look it up in the Urban Dictionary.

Going out to restaurants: Sitting outside in the brutal heat or the freezing cold is not my idea of fine dining. If I can’t go to Peter Lugar’s in style, I’ll wait until I can.

The last time I filled my car with gas was early February 2020, and March 7 was the last time I left my house. (Except for my flu shot and three doctor visits.)

March quickly morphed into July, then September, followed by non-Thanksgiving, non-Chanukah, non-Christmas, and non-New Year’s Eve.

And please don’t judge me, but during my endless months in quarantine, I found solace in all things 1:12 scale. Okay, I’m more like obsessed.

There were too many 2020 days when I wanted to miniature myself small enough to move into my newly renovated dollhouse.

When my head wasn’t stuck in a dollhouse, I baked some killer bread, grew potted veggies and herbs on my patio, spic-and-spanned my house, socially distanced in my frosty garage, and created some awesomely impressive meals.

And my fingers to elbows have never been cleaner! I’ve been singing the ABCs and Happy Birthday in my inside voice at least fifty times per day.

In 2020 I binged on mindless reality shows I would never have otherwise wasted my time on. Awful shows like 90-Day Fiancé (so creepy) and Married at First Sight (so desperate).

2020 was also the year I could barely string together a sentence because I developed a severe case of writer’s block!

And whenever I wrote, it was forced and mostly dark, which is why I’m only going to bore you with my Top Five blog posts instead of my Top Ten.

And okay, I’ll throw in the worst blog post of 2020 as well as the best of all time (2015-2020).

I do owe you full disclosure: Of my 32 total posts in 2020, I wrote seven of them eons ago—pulled from a novel titled My Stolen Diaries that I’ve been writing since 1992.

And weirdly enough, when I calculated the traffic numbers for my Top Five blog posts, four of them were from that ancient rough draft novel.

It turns out my Top Five posts are less of a post-mortem on what Teri was writing in 2020 and more about what Teri was writing in the 90s.

The Teri Tome generated over 300,000 page views in 2020, a whopping 47% increase from 2019, so I’m pleased.

I’ll start with the worst blog post of 2020:

#1 WORST IN 2020 

I Tried to Save a Cat’s Life Yesterday: I was sorry to see that this blog post was a loser. I still haven’t gotten over that poor pregnant cat. And I’m not sure that anything can be done about it, but we have way too many feral cats in my North Woodmere, New York neighborhood.      

And now for my Top Five 2020 posts:

#1 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Two: To Know Yourself Is to Know Your Family : I was dumbfounded to see that a chapter from my rough draft novel was numero uno. It took me a while to figure out a format for excerpting from my decades-old unfinished book. When I finally settled on calling it a Novelog (novel-in-a-blog), I put up a Disclaimer and six chapters. I was reasonably sure they would all bomb. The thousands of hits that this 28-year-old Chapter Two garnered made my heart happy.

#2 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Four: The Yellow Kitchen Table: Wow, so this was also a thrill for me! Another chapter of my dusty old novel? To be honest,  I almost didn’t post this chapter for reasons I won’t disclose. But I have no regrets.

#3 HIT IN 2020

2020 Cedarhurst Sidewalk Sale: I Was Fired for Seeking the Truth: Getting fired from my job as Executive Director of the Cedarhurst Business Improvement District for refusing to put people’s lives at risk during a pandemic was devastating. But I’m glad my post reached thousands of visitors, and I hope it continues to attract tons of traffic. I miss my job, but I don’t miss the Village of Cedarhurst’s political posturing, the lies, the misinformation, or the bullying. And I’m still weighing whether or not to sue the Deputy Mayor of Cedarhurst for defamation.

#4 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Five: My First Diary: The first thing I thought when I added up the numbers and saw that the #4 spot was yet another chapter of my book—was that maybe, just maybe, my languishing novel has legs!

#5 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Six: Tit: Another chapter of my book! And BTW, Tit is the nickname for a bully character in my novel. And the thousands of people this chapter reached gave me new resolve to pull out that book and take a fresh look at it.

#1 HIT OF ALL TERI TOME TIME (2015-2020)

Bullies Are Cowards and Why I Refuse To Turn the Other Cheek: I have a lot to say about this one. Year after year, this post, written in 2015, continues to outperform all the others, and to date, has garnered almost 550,000 page views. And year after year, I’m thankful for the blog traffic, but the fact that “bullies” is my number one keyword says volumes about our world’s character. And as history has shown us, there are way too many psychopathic bullies out there. And from my personal experience, someone with a psychopathic personality disorder will almost always display some sort of mental illness and or narcissistic derangement. As far as I’m concerned, all three conditions are little more than a convenient label for crackpots and social deviants who over-estimate and exaggerate their abilities, status, intelligence, and looks.

In reviewing my 2020 hits and misses, as well as my top post of all Teri Tome time, I’m excited about highlighting more chapters of my novel on my blog.

And 2021 might even be the year I finish it!

I want to wish my loyal readers a Happy New Year. I hope that 2021 brings you wellness and equality, plus all the hopes and dreams you thought would happen in 2020.

And I can’t wait to see what 2021 holds for the new and improved Teri.

Stay tuned!

Why Bullies Trigger Me

I am continually asking myself:

Why do I allow bullies to trigger me?

Long ago, I should have learned that bullies have no power over me. And most importantly, that bullies have no power at all.

But trigger me, they do.

I was bullied for way too many of my younger years.

Bullied because I didn’t have a father.

Bullied because my mother was a child.

Bullied because I came from a broken home.

Bullied because my mother was excommunicated.

Bullied because my grandmother was excommunicated.

Bullied because I wore boy’s shoes.

Bullied because I was too tall, too skinny, awkward, scrawny, and homely.

Bullied because there was nothing special about me.

There I said it. So what?

There are millions of bullied kids out there with far worse problems.

And okay; so what if I wore boy’s shoes?

I had big feet.

And anyway, that was what was left in a bag on our Huron Street doorstep fresh from Goodwill.

Be thankful, was what my grandmother said.

So yeah, when I’m bullied, I lash out.

And I often go from zero to 100—just like that.

I have no tolerance for bully behavior.

And between us? I often feel regret for my aggressive response.

But then, I don’t.

I feel vindicated.

I feel like I’m making up for all those years that I was torturously bullied.

I decided a long time ago that I could be the heroine in my story.

Sometimes the story works out, and sometimes it doesn’t.

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Six: Tit

[Catch up on earlier Chapters: Disclaimer, Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five]

Chapter Six

TIT

It was August 1960, and I was getting ready for first grade.

I was excited but also nervous. Mem was even more nervous than me because I was going to be walking to school by myself. The walk wasn’t a long one, but I still had to do it alone.

Both Mem and Mom worked a 7 am-3 pm shift, and because we didn’t have a car, they both had to take early buses in the morning. And Mere Germaine was living too far away to help out, so I was on my own.

Mom said that moving Mere Germaine back in with us so she could help out was yet another reason why we had to get out of our White Street apartment.

After church, for three Sundays straight, Mem walked with me to the school, warning me about cars, strangers, and stray dogs.

The walk was pretty straightforward. From White Street, we made a right at the corner, then walked up a long hill, and then made another right, and then down a steep hill, where the school was at the bottom, and across the street on the left.

On day one, Mem packed me a paper bag with a jelly sandwich, and a chocolate doughnut from the batch she had made fresh the day before.  She wrote “RR” for right, right, on my right hand in pen so I wouldn’t get lost.

My walk was uneventful until I started down the second hill. There was a group of girls slightly ahead of me. The biggest one turned around and yelled: “Whatchu lookin at?”

I looked behind me to see who she was speaking to, but there wasn’t anyone else there but me. When I turned back around, she was in my face. “I aksed chu a question.”

I looked down at my lunch bag, too afraid to answer. “Watchu got in the bag?” She grabbed my lunch and ran off to catch up with her friends.

Later that day in the playground, I was hungry and didn’t feel much like playing. Plus, every time I looked over at the mean girl, she gave me the finger. When I asked some of the other kids who she was, one girl told me that her name was Tit.

“Who would name a kid, Tit?” I asked, and the girl told me that her real name was Barbara Titone, and she was a bully to everyone, even her friends.

Oh, she was a bully, all right. And husky. And since she was in the third grade, she towered over scrawny me.

After school, I ran all the way home, terrified that Tit was going to come after me.  And those hills were a killer.

When I got to the apartment, it was empty. Mem and Mom’s shifts were over at 3 pm, but it took time for Mem to get back by bus. And Mom had a second job as a dance instructor for a local Arthur Murray Dance Studio, so it was me myself and I, until at least 5 pm.

Between being afraid of the refrigerator, the scary hallway, the shoebox cabinet, and the vermin, I sat at the table in the kitchen until Mem got home, even though I had to pee. Since the only way to get to the bathroom was via the hallway, there was no chance I was doing that, so the only choice I had was to hold it in.

I didn’t mention anything to Mem about Tit, but the next morning I told her I had a stomach ache and didn’t want to go to school. Mem told me she wasn’t having any of my nonsense and to pack up.

For the next few weeks, Tit made my life miserable. Back then, I didn’t know what a butch was, but if ever there was a butch, Tit was it.

And her name might make you laugh, but there was nothing funny about being taunted day in and day out.

In the morning, she would torture me and take my lunch, and in the afternoon, she would just torture me.

One day on my way to school, Tit was particularly aggressive and shoved me so hard that when I fell, I hit my head on the pavement and wet myself.

As I sat in a puddle of urine, Tit laughed with her friends, singing ♪ Tony needs a diaper, Tony needs a diaper ♪

I didn’t want to say anything to my teacher about what happened, so I had to stay wet until my clothes air-dried. Tit told everyone at school I pissed myself, and I was humiliated. Plus, my clothes dried all smelly and crusty, and the back of my head was throbbing. That’s when I started to fantasize about how I was going to get back at Tit.

Even though I knew it was hopeless, I needed to take some kind of action because running away from Tit every day was both mentally and physically killing me.

The next day, on what I knew was going to be yet another torturous walk to school, I was feeling brave.

That was until I caught sight of Tit. And like a coward, and before Tit could even grab it, I handed her my lunch. So much for bravery.

But when Tit turned her back to me and began singing, ♪ Tony needs a diaper; Tony needs a diaper ♪, an uncontrollable storm of fury invaded my body.

I let out a guttural sound, and in a fit of rage, I pounced on Tit from behind.  Tit fell on her knees, and when she rolled over, writhing in pain, I jumped on her stomach and straddled her. Then I punched Tit hard in the face, once with my right fist and then with my left. Tit was holding her hands up to her face and crying. I yanked her hands away and slapped her in the face a couple of times while repeatedly calling her shitty titty.

Then I grabbed my lunch bag, winked at Tit, gave her friends an evil grin, and asked if anybody else wanted what Tit got. While they all looked down at the sidewalk, I roughly elbowed my way through the girls and strutted the rest of the way to school.

We both got called into the Principal’s office, and when nobody but Tit was looking, I imitated one of those nasty rats from our shoebox, and put my two hands up like claws and gave her a creepy bucktooth face. And from what I could tell, Tit was scared titless.

When Mem came to get me at school, she wanted an explanation for why I beat up “Barbara.” I told her all about the Tit taunts, and how I was going to shove her tits down her titty mouth. My dirty words mortified Mem, so we stopped at the church on the way home, where she ordered me to recite the Lord’s Prayer five times. I knew Mem was more worried than mad, though, because she didn’t threaten to wash my mouth out with soap.

That night Mem and Mom spoke together in French to figure out what the hell they were going to do. I knew they used the swear word because Mem said in French, “enfer.”

Mem told Mom she was horrified at my violent actions and words. And Mom told Mem she was worried I was going to take after my father’s side of the family, and that was yet another reason why we had to get Mere Germaine back.

That night, as I laid in Mem’s bed, I wasn’t obsessing about the rats or the mice or the cockroaches. I was happily and busily conjuring up all sorts of ideas for how I was going to torture Tit.

STAY TUNED FOR CHAPTER SEVEN: A NEW SCHOOL WITH A SIDE OF BAPTISM

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Five: My First Diary

[Catch up on earlier Chapters: Disclaimer, Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four]

Chapter Five

MY FIRST DIARY

3/4/60

My seventh birthday had finally arrived. Mem and Mom went back and forth as to whether we should have a party or not. I didn’t have many friends, so it would be mostly family, which seemed weird to me since I didn’t have many of those either. But in the end, they decided that a small party was better than no party at all.

On the day of, while I was blowing up the balloons, Mom was whispering to Mem in French about how unhappy she was that Mick’s two sisters were coming.

I didn’t know I had two aunts, and I was curious although I was hoping that they wouldn’t come to the party with guns.

“I want them all out of her life,” Mom told Mem.  “It’s not that easy,” Mem responded. “With Mere Germaine living rent-free from Samir right now.” Mom reminded Mem that Mere Germaine didn’t want any of them in my life either. Rats and all, Mere Germaine wanted to come back and live with us. I wanted her to live with us too.

I was worried about Mere Germaine being around that side of my so-called family. And I had to agree with Mom that it might be best if they were all out of our lives.

The first and last time I saw my father, Mick was with that woman, and if I never saw either one of them again, that was fine with me. Nobody offered for me to see him again anyway.

I never told Mem and Mom about the cow’s head in Samir’s refrigerator, because I knew if I did, Mom would never let me go back to visit.

Who opens a refrigerator expecting to find a cow’s head? For a long time after that, I added refrigerators to the already long list of things that terrified me.

And if I kept the cow’s head a secret from Mem and Mom, you know I never told them about Uncle Luke and the bloody yellow kitchen table.

Anyway, when my Aunt Mona showed up for the party, Mem and Mom pretended to be happy about it.

And then my Aunt Sara showed up—with who else, but Uncle Luke! My eyes were rounder than saucers, but Luke never let on that we had ever met, and neither did I.

Every time I took a glance at Uncle Luke, he was also looking back at me. At some point during the party, he came over to me and told me that when I was first born, he used to babysit for me and that he used to walk me to nursery school. He asked if I remembered him at all, and I shook my head no.

The only thing I remembered about him was his bloody face and swollen winking eye.

I don’t recall any of the other presents I got that year except for the pink diary from Aunt Mona.

The inscription read:

Dear Tony, Happy Birthday.  I have always loved you. Aunt Mona

While I was reading what she wrote, she was smiling at me and patting me ever so gently on my head.

And I was thinking; you’re such a liar. If you loved me so much, you would never allow me to live like this.

CLICK HERE FOR CHAPTER SIX: TIT

Bullies Are Cowards and Why I Refuse To Turn the Other Cheek

I have been working on this bully post for a few days now, and maybe the “bully tome” has gotten the better of me—because lately everything I watch on television, read in The New York Times, or witness while I’m out and about, comes back to a bully or a bully tactic.

Watching the knockout round of The Voice the other night, I found it hard to comprehend that Team Levine’s church singer Deanna Johnson was bullied in school. The Maroon 5 frontman, Adam Levine has been tirelessly working with this shy 18-year old beauty, who has been crippled with stage fright and low self-esteem for years — the devastating result of bullying.

Take a look at Deanna Johnson’s incredible Voice performance from this past Tuesday.

It is believed that bullying is aggressive behavior that occurs between school-aged children until they eventually grow up and out of their vicious behavior.

But bullying goes well beyond adolescence—it’s a rampant problem that extends to all walks of life.

Because many schoolyard bullies, who are long past their school days, never grow up and out and morph into adult bullies.

And adults can be some of the worst aggressors, who use their cowardly and downright manipulative bullying tactics day in and day out.

According to Vital Smarts, a corporate training company, 96% of people have experienced bullying at the office. And 79% of bullying involves emotional attacks, such as biting sarcasm or spreading malicious gossip.

Bullying is so commonplace, and so destructive, that it may possibly be the single most important social issue of today.

I’m not a big fan of the “ignore it” school of thought. I think ignoring bullies gives them way too much power and reinforces a sense of powerlessness in the target.

If someone is belittling, humiliating, or insulting me in a work setting, in my “friend” zone, at the Motor Vehicle department, when trying to make a doctor’s appointment, etc., etc., etc., I deal with the situation head-on.

Bullying cuts deep, but I try to remind myself that whether in a school lunchroom, the nursing home, or anywhere in between, the bully is the one with the problem.

And I let them know it.

The message I verbally convey to a bully is: Don’t mess with me, because I am not going to accept or ignore your bad behavior. While I try not to escalate a situation, more times than not, when I have responded to a bully by calmly but assertively explaining that I won’t tolerate their uncalled for cruelty, it doesn’t go well. But that doesn’t stop me from putting them in their place. (Note: I never put the police in their place. Just saying.)

I have to admit that on occasion a bully will arouse intense feelings of displeasure in me. And even though I know that fighting back gives the bully exactly what he/she wants, which is to get to me—I simply can’t turn the other cheek.

These miscreants feed on the putting of other people down because it masks their own inferior and insecure feelings about themselves. It’s only by making others feel less than whole, that they can raise their own self-esteem.

And as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I discovered that reacting to a workplace bully only further encourages and worsens their unwanted behavior towards me.

And I have made some nasty bully enemies, with the distinct possibility that they will escalate their campaigns of hatred and intimidation against me and will up the ante when it comes time to serve out a cold dish of revenge.

But I don’t care. I refuse to be subservient.  I can take it.  Bring it on, you cowards.

I am so tired and fed up by bullies thinking they can say and do anything they want, with no repercussions at all. And I have learned from years of being bullied, that their snarky, cutting comments, insulting innuendos and malicious rumors won’t stop until you make them stop.

I have a recurring shut-down-the bully scenario that I play over and over in my head: I contact a lawyer to write to the bully, with a threat of legal action, pointing out that he or she is subject to the laws of slander, libel, and defamation of character. I take down the bully and I win!

And if you ever witness someone being bullied, speak up and say something. Most people don’t want to get involved and want to stay out of the fray. But please consider the consequences of not getting involved and allowing a bully to keep on trucking. You are unintentionally sending a message to them that their abhorrent behavior is acceptable.

How many times have I heard from witnesses to bullying, as well as friends, business colleagues and family members that know the bully personally, who say “yeah, so and so is a real jerk.” But there is nothing they will do about it (and later, when you ask for their support, they deny having agreed with you at all).

Here is my shortlist of bully categories in no particular order of offense, although I find children who bully other children to be the worst bully offense of them all. Please feel free to comment on other categories.

Children Who Bully

Airline/Flight Attendant Bully

Airline Passenger Bully

Business Colleague Bully

Boss Bully

Ex-Spouse Bully

Medical Receptionist Bully

Motor Vehicle Worker Bully

Nursing Home Bully

Cyber Bully

Family Member Bully

PTA Bully

Restaurant Customer Bully

Government Worker Bully

Anti-Abortion Bully

The Christian Conservative Bully

Sorority and Fraternity Bully

Police Bully

The Sports Fan Bully

 The Axis of Evil Bully

 Racist Bully

 The Wanna Be in Organized Crime Bully

 The Rich and Famous Bully